Astrofest 4/5Feb London

RE: Astrofest 4/5Feb London

Postby physicist » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:23 pm

How did you do?
I didn't spot anyone! ..not sure if I was spotted..got some funny looks though..as per norm!
Fri talks were very good I thought and pitched well. Anyone else think it would be nice to have a 5-10min question session at the end of each talk though?.
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RE: Astrofest 4/5Feb London

Postby pulsar » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:40 am

Unfortunately I could not attend this years Astrofest as I was Tied up quite litterally with a big backlog of WORK. Maybe next year but I hope everyone who did go had a great time.
Second Star To The Right And Straight On Till Morning...
(Captain James T Kirk U.S.S Enterprise...)
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RE: Astrofest 4/5Feb London

Postby dasoc » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:26 am

HI all
please read my Blog on my visit to Astrofest 2011 at [url=http://www.dasoc.org.uk/index.php/blog/148-astro-fest-2011]dasoc blog[/url]
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RE: Astrofest 4/5Feb London

Postby dave.b » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:03 pm

Nice write up!

You wouldn't think there was a recession on judging by the numbers of people attending and one wonders if they should be thinking about a larger venue, or even one out side of London.

PS I breached my wife's imposed £50 pocket money limit too! (Although it cost a lot more to attend with a rail fare and two nights in hotel.)

Dave B.
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RE: Astrofest 4/5Feb London

Postby dasoc » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:36 am

Hi Dave,
Yes you are right, possibly the NEC Birmingham would allow more attendees from the provinces without having to pay London Prices for everything.
£50 spending limits are great
,aren't they? hehehe I found it simply amazing that £250 objects only cost £50 ;)


Geoff
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RE: Astrofest 4/5Feb London

Postby uea74 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:13 pm

Didn't seem to be as packed as a couple of years back and a few less retailers then either of the last 2 years. One retailer had a very small stand compared to previously.

If they move from Kensington to a bigger venue the cost goes up and if there isn't a proportionate increase in the number of people, then it could start losing money and fold. So although a bigger venue would be nice it is a bit of a risk.

The NEC is too expensive and the London population catchment is huge by comparison. Just a lot of people within range of central London,

I had to travel in by train from a reasonable distance out, cost was £23 and the show entrance cost £5. NEC would £25-30 fuel, £8-10 parking and NEC entrance price, last I looked £10-12. So say £45 for the same.

Many people from London would not travel to the NEC simply owing to the cost and I suspect the time involved. So although others would manage to go I suspect that the final numbers would be down. If unprofitable then no show eventually.

Would as many retailers attend? Bet the cost to a retailer to show at the NEC is higher then in Kensington Town Hall.

An additional show maybe but if Astrofest changes too much I suspect that there could easily be no show at all.
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RE: Astrofest 4/5Feb London

Postby dasoc » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:53 am

You Could be right in what you say however alternate years would be good one in london one in NEC
remember its supposed to be a show for astronomers everywhere not just the ones in London Area. Don't get me wrong I would travel anywhere for my Astronomy....others may not be like minded. The reason there are fewer exhibitors is many have gone down the pan and I suspect there are more lookers than buyers or too many with £50.00 wifey spending limits :)

Geoff
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RE: Astrofest 4/5Feb London

Postby uea74 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:00 pm

Geoff, We look upon it as a show, to the people running, organising and to retailers it is a business not a charity, neither are the costs insignificant. A few of the retailers had sites saying they were not taking orders as they were at astrofest, loss of revenue there.

The speakers will want their expenses covered at least. Again not a few pounds for a lunch of coffee and sandwich's, nearer £300-500.

Suppose that in London those costs could actually be lower as they have several close universities to call on. The speaker from Birkbeck will have been less at Kensington then at NEC. Ever thought that for speakers London may be less expensive?

Also bet hotels at the NEC are as costly as London ones. The NEC is not cheap.

I could visit several small cafe's outside of Astrofest, cannot do that at NEC. Coffee in the NEC is plain expensive as is the food in general, the town hall at Ken was not. That is part of the reason I rarely visit the NEC these days. Only the NEC grounds and £50-60 just to get in to anything at the end of the day. I had hoped that the NEC would have a good selection of specialist shows at reasonable cost. They have just priced themselves out of the market in many instances.

A show elsewhere would be good, but it isn't a case of guaranteed success. Could you guarantee a similar number at the same cost elsewhere? If so where? Is Birmingham too close to London? Too far North and several of the London and South retailers may not appear. FLO don't attend astrofest and they are well known and a 4 hour drive away.

I suspect I would not bother if Astrofest moved out of central London to a venue somewhere on the M25. Simply that road is a nightmare and not worth considering. Whats the M6 like round Birmingham these days? Nice clear road or chaos?

Consider BAS, SPA and Greenwich who attended, all London based. They are not making money from attending, their advertising may lead to income but not direct sales. The ones mentioned above will not need to put their people up overnight if at Astrofest. Elsewhere they will, or the volunteers will have to pay themselves.

Astrofest is small. Have you looked at NEAF and see who attends that. William Optics shows off it's full range, Astro-Physics, Explore Scientific, TV, Orion, Celestron, Meade, SW, Burgess, TMB, Vixen, Astro-Tech, Stellarvue and many I cannot recall but have heard of. Bet quite a few of the rising Chinese manufacturers are there. Someone once asked if there are shows here that have reductions as at NEAF - sometimes 40-50% off.

I was considering a WO Meg 72, at the end of the day I can buy it cheaper from someone who was not at the show then from retailers at the show. So little incentive with or without a spending limit to get something there.
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RE: Astrofest 4/5Feb London

Postby dave.b » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:10 pm

Well despite the grumblings from those of us that don't live in the home counties, I suppose that London is probably the best base for such a conference since how else would it be able to attract speakers from around the world. However, whilst the venue is in a good location for outside amenities I personally consider the venue itself to be cramped both for the exhibition space*, the auditorium, and the on site facilities. However, may be the formula works sufficiently well to not make it worth the risk in tampering with it.

* I have been to Astrofest 3 or 4 times now, except for last year, but this was the first year that I noticed a few vendors with multiple pitches and far less in the way of show special prices (i.e. bargains). Which makes me wonder if there was spare exhibition capacity that was filled by the larger vendors or if the larger vendors are able to dominate the others in their command of the exhibition floor. However, I do know that one northen based vendor considers it far too costly to have a stand, and I consider that a shame since us northern punters put ourselves out to attend the show.
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