It’s been 12 years since Brighton last hosted a motor show. In June, the new Brighton & Hove Motor Show takes over the Amex Stadium for a weekend. Event Director Bud Johnston explains why the city needs a big motor show.
Why do you think we need a motor show?
There is definitely an appetite for an event. In my day job at Rivervale, we turn up at events as exhibitors and do a lot of promotions but in general they’re not tailored to our needs. We have been looking for an event that works for us, but they just aren’t there. The closest event is the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but that is more geared up for the manufacturers. So we started discussions about doing a big local motor event.
Brighton used to have a motor show. What happened?
The last time it was held was about 12 years ago. People have fond memories of the Brighton Motor Show at the marina, but back then its was a flat, open-plan space. After the marina was developed it was no longer an option. It went to the racecourse, which just isn’t the right venue for a motor show, unfortunately.
Now we have the AMEX stadium, which is the premier venue in the South East. They’re equipped for the kind of footfall traffic that we hope to see there and they have won awards for their events side.
Are you surprised that there hasn’t been a motor show in 12 years?
It does seem strange, and the general response when we approached dealers, was “Why has no-one done this before?” It made us feel quite proud, that we’ve had the initiative to take it on. We’ve had a really good level of engagement from dealerships because there is no general motor event where they can turn up, have an exhibitor plot and feel that it is their event. All the local dealerships are behind it and they’re really involved in it. The plan is to be an annual event, where they can then show everybody locally what’s going on with their dealerships and what’s going on in the motor industry. It has also brought everyone together which is a great thing.
What can you expect to see and do at a motor show?
We’re aiming to put on an event with many different types of experiences to engage the visitors. We have divided the site into zones. These include a family zone with a bouncy castle and kids’ activities, a motorcycle zone and a classic motor zone. We will have a big classic car auction which is always good fun. We’ve got a leasing zone, a car care zone, an innovation zone, a go-carting zone and a motorsports zone
We also have a test drive zone, which is our USP, because there are very few motor events where you get the opportunity to test drive a vehicle.
We are using both the internal and external concourse, so there will still be loads going on if the weather is bad. So far we have BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Tesla, Mini, VW, Smart, Citreon, Kia and Hyundai involved. We will also have some great vehicles in the motorsport zone.
We asked all the manufacturers to tell their audience that they’ll be here, so BMW and Audi have been promoting the show to their database. It is only just into January and we already have 4,000 people registered for the event. We’d like to see 10,000 there over the weekend.
The Brighton & Hove Motor Show takes place at The Amex Stadium on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June. Register now for free tickets at www.brightonandhovemotorshow.com