The Event—Well, the 2023 edition of the annual Greenwich Concours has come and gone. Overall, it was a great show with event owner Hagerty trying something new by having a Concours d’Sport on Saturday and the more traditional Concours d’Elegance on Sunday. As expected, when someone comes in and tinkers with one of the classic car shows, there’s bound to be some push-back. I get it. Change isn’t always accepted well but, from my perspective, I loved it. The cars—mostly 60s, 70s, and 80s “supercars” were awesome—and it brought in a whole different crowd of people than what I usually see. And that’s a good thing because it creates a new audience and, selfishly, it exposes people to my artwork that I might otherwise never reach. On the balance, it works and I hope they keep pushing the envelope on how these events work.
Highlights—My three best moments were, without reservation, finally getting to meet Don Breslauer after a few years of passing each other at various shows we both attend, getting my Group 44 Spitfire print stolen for (drum roll, please) the second time, and having my pal Jerry LaBant from Liverpool Motorworks give me hand with my what may be my final load out at Greenwich. For those of you who have never done one of these events, the last day can be a very long affair with the work often stretching into the evening hours. It was just plain awesome that Jerry stuck around to help me load my ABS travel cases. That’s what pals are for.
The Future of Concours Events—Purely from an exhibitor/vendor point of view, something has to change. Costs keep rising, the attendees, by and large, are the same ones who come every year, and sales (at least in my case) have remained generally flat meaning the net from each event keeps shrinking. That’s simply not a financially sustainable formula. My take on Hagerty getting involved is that it’s been a good thing. They’ve brought a different point of view and are working to expand the audience. All good things. Their show staff are just plain awesome and are there at a moment’s notice if you need help (except for load out) but none of the shows do enough to promote the vendors on the field. We write a check, do the best we can to push people our way, spend months getting ready for three or four days and then hope we make enough money to make it worth our while. Hope, folks, is not a strategy.
Event organizers have a limited ability to lower the hard cost of exhibiting but they could leverage their powerful media presence to give the vendors—who are part of the show—a boost in visibility. They could take a few moments during each event to let people know we’re out there. These aren’t big things but they could make a huge difference in changing the current equation.
Where To Go From Here—The bottom line is…I don’t know. But I know something has to change and unless I can come up with a way to brighten the potential financial outcome, this could very well be my last Greenwich and well may be my last marquee show. A smaller space? Maybe. Better social media management prior to each show? Possibly, although I’m generally out ahead of that pretty well. I don’t have any immediate answers but you can be damn sure I’m going to be thinking hard on whether to continue investing my time in money on a shrinking pie. Stay tuned…