It was just a 10-minute walk to get to Olympia from where I was staying. Such relaxed easy access makes Olympia feel like a friendly local venue It was only my second visit to the London Vet Show. My first, last year, felt overwhelming and exhausting. This time I was ready for it, and armed with a detailed schedule of meetings and interviews for the podcasts we were going to make for the show's organisers and for Veterinary Prescriber.
People go to back to the LVS year after year. They go to keep their knowledge up to date through the lectures and exhibitions, to get involved in discussions about controversial issues (such as the human-animal bond, climate change, welfare issues), to promote their work or products, and not least, to meet new people and old friends. Someone said it's where you get science, art and business under one roof.
There is a real fondness for Olympia as a venue. The beautiful architecture gives it a lightness and airiness, it's easy to get to, there are plenty of hotels nearby, and a train that takes you to the door. So there was a lot of talk about the show moving to Excel next year. Many wondered why. But most seemed well aware of the limitations of Olympia as a venue for the show, now in its 7th year and grown to include over 400 exhibitors, more than 200 lectures, conferences and workshops, and over 5,000 delegates. It's the largest two-day event in the UK. The show is a victim of its own success and has outgrown the venue. The floor is no longer able to accommodate all the stands comfortably and those placed on the balcony felt out on a limb; the spread of the show over two halls and two floors can make it difficult to get around; some of the peripheral lecture theatres remained undiscovered by an audience and the buzzing energy in the hall, which gives the show a great atmosphere, seeps noisily into the lecture rooms.
The advantages of moving to Excel are obvious: it's big enough to accommodate the grown shown, and it has sound-proofed lecture theatres. But people are concerned about accessibility and feel sad to be leaving an old familiar friend. Nevertheless there is confidence in the organisers who, some remembered, have previously made radical changes with great success.
I had a great time at the LVS. It is an intense experience and if there is one criticism that emerged from the delegates, it was that 2 days is not enough! We have two podcasts in the making: one for the LVS organisers and another on the theme of independence and the challenges facing veterinary professionals when it comes to use of medicines. So look out for those. And do join the mailing list for the Independent Veterinary Medicines Bulletin (via the following form) if you haven't already done so. Finally, have a look at our LVS picture gallery below.