Costs of staging events these days are a major concern and the reason London summer fairs Masterpiece and Olympia have been cancelled. But the effects are also being felt at all levels.
While Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Antiques Fairs can look forward again this year to the monthly antiques fairs she runs in Dorking, Surrey, her two-day Little Chelsea Fair at Chelsea Town Hall is now on hold “until better climates”.
She had relaunched the event in March 2020.
“Being in London adds a premium on the cost for the venue and therefore further added charges especially for fairs longer than one day”, Alexander added. “The numbers for Little Chelsea no longer worked for all parties especially the standholders who also had to consider their added costs for travel.”
Closer to home in Dorking she cancelled her popular open air brocantes in the town when “costs including hire charges for gazebos made the event financially unviable for us all”.
However, the good news is that her fair at Dorking Halls on Sunday, February 26, is fully booked including newcomers Mark Gorringe, a second generation antiques dealer whose stock will appeal to Art Deco lovers, and David Meeking, an artist whose Turner-esque landscapes finds ready buyers at the contemporary art fairs he exhibits at in the UK.
The Dorking fairs, now in their 47th year, are “very much treasured by our dealers and visitors”, Alexander said.
Stephanie Castell of Two Cs Antiques Fairs echoed Alexander’s comments about London costs.
She said of the specialist Kensington Glass and Ceramics Fair at Kensington Town Hall, which she and ceramics dealer Ben Cooper took over in 2020: “Kensington became just too expensive and restrictions in London made it impossible.”
But, like Alexander, she is looking on the bright side. Castell also has a full house for her upcoming indoor fair at Ludlow Racecourse on Saturday and Sunday, February 25-26, and is awaiting dates for her fair this year at Burford in the Cotswolds.
Castell added that the Secondhand Warehouse, her antiques centre in Leominster, “has sales that are better than ever in 2022 which seem to be carrying on at the same pace into 2023 – mainly furniture and quality smalls”.