I've had several conversations recently about a certain individual who is putting on model railway exhibitions on his own and essentially running it as a small business. This has generated a fair bit of negative comment from most people I talk to and I really can't see why. I had the same conversation again yesterday.
I've been working under the basic shape entertainment model for donkeys years: the promoter books the venue, then books the band, the artists or what have you. Then puts out advance publicity and ticket prices. The show gets done, promoter pays everybody (hopefully) and takes the balance of the profit. He takes the overall risk - then takes the profit should there be any. Most people would see this as an acceptable structure. Not so the club modeller.
The basic shape of most model railway exhibitions is this: club books venue (usually the same as the previous year) books layouts (expenses to be paid for same). They book enough trade stands to cover the cost hire of the venue, and advertise in the mags with linage or possibly a display ad, plus flyers at previous shows etc. The entry ticket money is the bunce and goes to the club to pay for the club room/ modelling material etc for the year. No one personally profits - or do they?
The main negative response to the top structure is that there is personal profit - 'profiteering' was the phase used yesterday. This misses the point of a) personal financial risk and b) the fact that in the standard club show structure everyone personally profits by default, as if the show cash wasn't there, then they would have to fund clubrooms etc out of their own pockets. No they don't personally gain money, but they are saved from spending it which is the same thing - collective overall risk and collective individual profiteering.
The afore mentioned individual books the venue at his own expense (different every time) books the layouts (expenses to be paid) takes the linage ads, but promotes through local press and social media.
And here's the sucker punch: the resulting audience is mainly young- middle aged parents with under 16s in tow, exactly the demographic that the standard club exhibition structure and the hobby in general says that it is not reaching and can't attract. What he doesn't do is rely on word of mouth from the over -50s modellers.This may be the future and the conservative-thinking clubs are fighting it in every way, possibly toward their own demise. Discuss.