The ‘show’ must go on

Cornel Clecs, by Angharad Evans, Welsh Editor of Y Tir

For many of you, like us, the summer of 2020 is a lot different than usual – much quieter. We would have exhibited the sheep in at least three local shows by now, with the calendar full of other shows spread right across the summer. But this is not the case this year, as we all face a new 'normal' without some of the most significant events in the Welsh agricultural calendar.

But the agricultural industry has proved itself as adaptive as ever. It would be easy just to say “OK, we’ll be back next year”, but instead, many events have chosen not to fully surrender to Covid-19, and have looked for other ways to function, by going digital. But whilst this is ground breaking, and does lighten the mood of the current unprecedented situation, is this the future of our shows?

Although technology is developing rapidly, and almost anything is possible, I personally do not think that any technology can completely replace the traditional show, and certainly not the social element that is essential and key to the success of any show, small and local, or a large national show.

Standing in show fields, weekend after weekend, sometimes twice a week over the past few years, the significance of the small local shows and the way they fit into the framework of agriculture as a whole is obvious. This is farming and the agricultural society at its best.

Instinctively and naturally, people take an interest in other people, not to be nosey, but to share a burden, ideas, put the world to rights and share a joke. That's where agricultural shows provide a platform for everyone to get together to socialise, especially the first of the season, quite often the first day out for many after a long busy period of lambing. Whole families get together to prepare and compete and communities from many areas come together.

Despite everyone's disappointment that there will be no shows this year, everyone everywhere support the decision of voluntary committees, of all shows across Wales, the vast majority having to make one of the most difficult decisions to cancel these events, which are so vital to our local industry, culture and economy. Everyone appreciates that there is no alternative and recognises the seriousness of this virus that is currently prevalent worldwide.

But, although the situation seems very uncertain at the moment, I'm sure of one thing, there will be an opportunity again to compete, support, socialise and enjoy shows and all other agricultural events. The shows have been through a lot, world wars and animal diseases, but they have survived to their current success.

So, even though we are ‘apart’ at the moment, there will be another opportunity for us all to be together, back at the shows and enjoying everything that contributes so much to their success. But in the meantime, best wishes for a different type of ‘show’ – the show must go on.