Launceston and surrounds have been issued a challenge this year: vote with your feet.
The Royal Launceston Show is one of Tasmania’s oldest shows.
First held in 1873, the Launceston Show precedes the Royal Hobart Show by a year.
After 144 years the show is in a peculiar situation. It won’t be able to stay at its current site due to the relocation of the University of Tasmania.
Relocating the show can have its advantages. However, the cost makes it a restraining factor. The move is something the show cannot do.
“Obviously we can’t stay at this site for too much longer … the show society is in a fairly ordinary financial situation, so we’re asking the community to show us whether they want a show or not,” Royal Launceston Show Society president Jock Gibson said.
Therefore the society will need to seek funding from various arms of government for the relocation.
But money will not be given and a business case will not be strong enough if the show is not supported.
The man-hours, paperwork and funds would simply not be justified.
Like many community events, there will be many comments that the show is overpriced or that the entertainment isn’t what they want.
You can’t please everyone. That’s a fact of life.
Shows in trouble is not a new narrative. This is to be expected when referring to cost of living and events that have been operating for more than 140 years.
There will always be ups and downs as demand changes and economic factors come into play.
A poll of readers online (about 300 people at the time of print) indicated that about 49 per cent of people wanted the show to continue and 29 per cent were neutral.
Of those same people polled 62 per cent said they wouldn’t be attending the show, 22 per cent they would and 16 per cent were unsure.
It’s a catch 22 – without patrons the show cannot continue, but the show won’t continue to attract patrons without offering what’s in demand.
The result will be no show, unless we choose to support the event as it is right now. From there, the support will give the show society a chance to work towards a future – adapt to not only survive, but thrive.