The Royal Bath & West Show returns from 2-4 June 2022 for a three-day gala of Great British farming, equine competitions and rural crafts – but what’s going on behind the scenes?
Planning starts a year in advance, says deputy head of shows, Jess Chiplen. “It takes many hands to make it the show so many people love, and this year is no exception with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.”
Working from the society offices are the permanent team, steered by a board of trustees and 30 committees which oversee the many sections of the show – as well as an army of volunteers.
Heading up livestock and entries for all sections is senior officer, Sarah Chick. “Each year the individual committees meet to plan their competitions; listening to feedback to develop diverse schedules that showcase the very best competition.”
“The show can expect 3,000 entries in livestock and equine sections alone – plus hundreds of entries for the other sections,” she adds.
Although entries are now online, it takes two or three people three full days to post out the show packs containing tickets, passes, vouchers and maps to the horse entries alone.
Then there is the bank of silverware, rosettes and prize money to be collected, shined and allocated. “But seeing everyone and everything come together and enjoyed on the first day of the show is so worth it,” says Ms Chick.
Overseeing the livestock is chief steward, Maureen Trott, who spent years showing her own pedigree Holstein cattle. “The main ring parade is a highlight that visitors gather to see, it’s a wonderful sight,” she says.
But there is a wealth of work to make that happen. “From right after the show to the next there is constant communication to organise sponsors, schedules, judges, breed societies, vets, biosecurity officers, as well as a mountain of paperwork and contingency planning for the safe gathering of livestock,” she explains.
The show hosts some 4,000 animals so stall plans are drawn-up in advance to ensure a smooth check-in. “Livestock arrive on the Tuesday and Wednesday before the show with stewards and vets on hand to carry out passport checks and animal inspections.”
During the show, the work only increases with co-ordinating exhibitors, classes, competitions, and the general public. “But giving the exhibitors and visitors a really enjoyable show makes it all worthwhile.”
Looking after the showground’s 240 acres is Dan Tully. “We’ve cleared a lot of bracken, bramble and trees felled in the recent storms,” he says. “Producing our own woodchip, we’ve also created a new woodland path for visitors to enjoy.”
And with grass growth romping away, Mr Tully’s team have been busy mowing the main ring and lawns as well as painting and repairing buildings as required.
“In May, we’ll be completing final ground preparation and erecting livestock boarding in our permanent buildings – with third parties erecting the marquees,” he explains.
When it comes to the main event, the entertainment falls to the show’s permanent team to organise. “Guided by visitor and exhibitor feedback, we have been busy booking main show acts, like heart-stopping quad bike stunt displays, as well as family fun features including the popular Lakeside Farm,” says Ms Chiplen.
“And, importantly, the live music that is enjoyed on the main lawn, around the bandstand and well into the evening in the Pilton tent.” Advance ticket sales are up 140% on 2019, says Ms Chiplen. “It’s great to see people eager for the show’s return.
“Our stewards and volunteers are integral to the show’s success – without them it just wouldn’t happen, and we can’t wait to open the gates in June.”
- The Royal Bath & West Show takes place on 2-4 June 2022 at The Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6QN. Competition entries can be made by visiting bathandwest.com/royal-bath-and-west-show/competitions or book tickets at https://www.bathandwest.com/tickets.
The show in numbers:
- 125,000 visitors
- 3 Days
- 8ha of marquees, pavilions and temporary stables
- 1 miles of barriers and ½ mile of temporary fencing
- 1,176 signs erected
- 6 miles of Union Jack Bunting
- 1 x Jubilee Beacon
- 4 x Celebrities
- 14 x Society Awards presented during the Show (Long Service Award, Prince of Wales Award & Environmental Youth Award)
- Over 10 Hours of Music in the Pilton Tent
- Over 400 volunteers
- Almost 500 trade stands
- 96% of waste is used to generate renewable energy
- 9 Trees planted as part of the Queens Green Canopy Initiative
- 6 x Food Court Areas
- 36 mouth-watering Food & Drink Traders in the Food & Drink Marquee
- More than 5 Cheese Stands
- 6 Hours of Cooking in the Great British Kitchen
- 6 x opportunities to taste award winning cider in the Orchards & Cider Marquee
- Over 4,000 animals
- 6 Hours of Show Jumping
- 2 National Shows (Zwartbles National Show, Bleu du Maine National Show & Millennium Bleu National Show)
- 21 HOYS Qualifier Classes
- 5 hours of Falconry Displays in the Woodland & Countryside Ring
Main ring exhibits include:
- Paul Hannam Stunt Show
- Pawsability Canine Display Team
- Show jumping
- Inter-hunt relay
- Hot air balloon ascent
- Heavy Horse Display
- Grand parade of livestock champions, including Platinum Jubilee Awards
- Pony Club Games
- Vintage Tractor Platinum Jubilee Display
Behind the scenes
- Over 250 packed lunches served to stewards and volunteers
- 290 stables hired in for equine exhibits
- 5t of coal for Vintage Vehicles and Shoeing
- 180m3 of soft peeled wood to create a soft surface for cattle to walk on
- 480 picnic tables hired in – enough to seat 2880 people
- 87 Miles travelled by Kaleb Cooper, to get from Diddly Squat Farm to Royal Bath & West Show (further than when he travelled to London)