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Royal Melbourne Show looks to attract new generation of showgoers
Mindful of changing entertainment tastes, the 2018 Royal Melbourne Show - which opens today - is looking to attract a new generation of showgoers.
Now in its 162nd year, the Show is the second largest annual ticketed event in Victoria (behind the Australian Open tennis), and remains popular with families.
However, recently appointed Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Chief Executive Paul Guerra admits it needs to be "a bit more contemporary".
Since taking on the role, Guerra has identified two target markets the show had previously failed to attract.
He told the ABC “when I looked at the data that's been collected, the group that we're missing over the past few years has been that 18 to 35-year-olds.
"When I look at what that group wants ... they want entertainment and they want good food."
Capitalising on the MasterChef-led obsession with food (the show is filmed in one of the pavilions at the Melbourne Showgrounds), RASV has created a new area called The Meadow.
Alongside acoustic music and evening DJ sets, there's cut-price tickets for people who only want to visit the show after 5pm - popping in after work or university.
Guerra advised “it's a bit more laid back, a bit more funky.
"What we find is you come here as a kid, mum and dad bring you and you have a great time, then at about 16 it starts becoming a little less cool than it once was.
"Then you come back once you've had kids and try to recreate that experience, so we figure let's give that young adult, that family that doesn't have any kids, an excuse to come to the Royal Melbourne Show and continue that tradition all the way through."
There's also a push to encourage multicultural families to embrace this 162-year-old Victorian tradition.
This year the show has set up a WeChat app targeting Chinese-Australians - before opening and it had already been downloaded 1,000 times.
Guerra added "we've deliberately gone after the new Australians, saying actually, if you want to understand the Victorian way of life, come to the show and have a look.
"They would have no reference back to what the Royal Melbourne Show would be, so we're hoping to help them create that awareness and then come along and experience it, which in time might help them create their own memories and start their own traditions back with their families."
Guerra also advised that the drought had been responsible for a drop in some of the agricultural competitions, especially those for which competitors travelled from southern parts of NSW. However, entries in the art, craft and food categories are up on last year.
Guerra sees that the Show is still relevant to modern Melbourne, concluding “it brings communities together.
"It helps city-based Victorians understand a little bit more about what happens out in the country, and it helps country Victorians understand a little bit about what happens in the city as well.
"We need these events to continue to glue the community together."
23rd November 2017 - Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria rewarded for sustainability
15th October 2016 - 450,000 people visit 2016 Royal Melbourne Show
27th September 2014 - Disney magic draws crowds to Royal Melbourne Show
25th September 2014 - Focus on safety at Royal Melbourne Show
19th March 2014 - VRC unveils plans for new Flemington Club Stand
31st January 2013 - Royal Melbourne Show expands to 12 days
23rd September 2012 - Agriculture remains at the heart of the Royal Melbourne Show
15th August 2012 - Without volunteers agricultural shows ‘will cease to exist’
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