The Suffolk Show: John Taylor, Show Director
Tell us about the history of the event and your role as Show Director…
The first Suffolk Show took place in 1832 in Wickham Market and moved venues each year until finding a permanent home at Trinity Park in 1960. It was established to help improve farming techniques and the standard of living in the countryside.
All these years later, farming, agriculture, trade and community remain at the heart of the event, which is organised by the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA) to showcase all aspects of life in the county.
The Show Director role is voluntary and held for a period of three years. It involves working alongside permanent members of staff at the Suffolk Show office as well as over 300 volunteer stewards. The Suffolk Show Committee comprises senior stewards, who meet bi-monthly and contribute a lot of their time and effort voluntarily to ensure the Show’s success.
What’s your background?
I am a fourth-generation arable farmer from near Woodbridge. My involvement with the Suffolk Show started when I was 18 years old, when I became a steward following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather.
In 1994, I joined the SAA Council, then the Suffolk Show Committee before becoming a senior steward for 12 years. I was heavily involved with the School Farm and Country Fair for many years. Now in my role as Show Director, I have truly come to realise how important the Suffolk Show is to the local economy.
When is the next one, and why should businesses be there?
The 2024 Suffolk Show will take place on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 May. This year’s show was attended by over 90,000 visitors over the two days. I challenge businesses to find another event offering this level of opportunity. With nine in ten visitors spending on average six hours or more at the show, there is plenty of time for you to capture their attention in a social and informal setting.
How can businesses get involved?
You can get involved through sponsorship, becoming a tradestand holder or booking a banner space in one of our 13 display rings. Each opportunity represents a different level of visibility for your business. I know of businesses who opt for all three, but also companies new to the Suffolk Show who like to test the waters by going for one option first. We will devise a package that works for you.
What type of businesses have been involved in the past?
Any business, from small through to medium to large national organisations, will find a place here. If you’re just starting out, or have been in the marketplace for a while, we have a variety of options which we are confident will work for you. We also support and encourage community and charitable organisations to get involved.
How much does it cost?
You can showcase your business from as little as £350 plus VAT.