East of England Arena wins EN Award

We were delighted for our client, the East of England Arena and Events Centre on Friday night at the Exhibition News awards when they won Best Venue over 8000sqm.

What was particularly satisfying is that we had persuaded them to take a gamble, an entry out of left field. For some time we have been discussing the odd belief that an exhibition has to take place in an exhibition hall. Obviously, the nation’s large, purpose-built, multi-hall venues are where exhibitions naturally gravitate towards but does that have to be the norm?

The East of England venue has 240 acres of grass as well as 9000sqm of indoor space and it hosts events that maximise both, some of them being exhibitions that need extra height, to accommodate large structures or even dig holes in the ground to demonstrate the exhibits in the show.

So, taking Planworx, the largest construction show in the UK at over 600,000 m2 and the largest exhibition at the venue, gave us our starting point and add Truckfest - the largest consumer truck and heavy haulage show; No-Dig Live - the UK’s only show featuring trenchless technology; Floodex – the UK’s only show dedicated to flood defence; TCS&D – a show specifically for the frozen storage industry; and Landrover Owner International – the UK’s largest outdoor show for Landrover owners, and we had a solid entry forming around the venue actually being 900,000 square metres of exhibition space.

We got to work with the team at the venue to gather info, stats, images, quotes, statements and everything we could think of to build their entry. As always they threw boundless enthusiasm and energy into making sure we had what we thought was a winning entry. But winning means persuading the judges that this square peg really did belong in the square hole that had previously been used to define an exhibition.

On Friday night we found out that they agree with us, and the East of England Arena and Events Centre won the title of the Best Venue over 8000 square metres. Paul was on hand at the awards to watch what happened:

“Looking at the other venues on the shortlist it read like a who’s who of the biggest exhibition venues in the UK - large halls, big capacity but mostly they were focused on indoor exhibitions. It really would be down to whether we had convinced the judges that an exhibition can happen indoors and outdoors. When the winner was announced it took a few seconds to register, then the celebrations started.”

“Best of all was seeing a genuinely great team of people revelling in the recognition that they could hold their own in the company of the largest, well invested, big exhibition venues”

There has been a buzz on WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram and plenty of support from the people of Peterborough on Facebook. Paul also reiterated his lightbulb moment from when we were preparing the entry - “I think we have found the real hybrid exhibition!”

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Click pic to watch the showreel for the Exhibition News Awards 2020

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