People, like plants, cannot be ‘made’ to be happy, all you can do is try to create the right conditions. Testament then to the efforts of all involved that this year’s AutoPot Summer Social should unleash such an enormous wellspring of joy. Even by the bliss-gushing standards of our previous events the deluge of jubilation this year was unparalleled. When people get happy they get to business, they reconcile, they get fressssh perspective.
It has always been the avowed mission of the AutoPot Summer Social to gather together the Gods of trade hydroponics and horticulture in order to do relaxed, friendly business. We get them in an idyllic, rural setting with strictly trade-only admittance in order to chat, to exchange ideas, to exhibit, to make breakthrough commercial agreements, to entertain, and to dance beautifully, long into the night. Like a picnic of the deities, the 2019 Social was an outdoor event packed with heavenly bounties beyond compare. Let’s lift the wicker lid, unfold the blanket, take out the cutlery, lay out the exquisite crockery, spread the comestibles and sample once more the sublime flavours of this year’s event.
The body of our spectacular spread was composed of over fifty exhibitors in the Trade Expo. Their efforts were, once again, exceptional in terms of scale and ambition. Stands crackled with excitement and and delight, each and every one stacked with innovative games and giveaways, superbly dressed and replete with stunning products – all of which kept the crowds happy and engaged.
The thought of our crowds panting, hoarse and achey is too much for us to bear. Free universal refreshment is AutoPot Summer Social 1.01. But we couldn’t achieve this lofty goal without the generosity of spirit, organisational nous and absolute charm of Highlight Horticulture and CANNA. Once again they hit hospitality on the volley and drove it home with free cold refreshments all weekend. Plaudits too to the fact they allowed us to enjoy responsibly with a single-use-plastic ban declared.
So it’s all going wonderfully well, terrific repast, “perfick” as David Lynch used to say in The Darling Buds of May. Then Mills rock up with their own explosive hamper of joy and put entertainment paradise on the map. An incredible line up to see full stop, let alone free-of-charge! What @millspaysthebillsuk brought to this year’s Social ticked a host of lifelong must-sees for a great number of those attending and tickled everyone’s fancy for unexpected treats.
“How on earth do you begin to pack a picnic such as the Social in the first place?”, is a question some people really do ask us. Only with the sponsorship and support of our Magnificent Seven. In the case of the Social 2019 those Seven aforementioned were none other than our Platinum Sponsors. Afforded a Tipi apiece for their fealty, our Platinum Sponsors set about the yearly ritual of fiercely, but covertly, planning the rival attractions that always massively enhance our guests’ experiences of the event. Astonishing prizes, offered up in captivating contests drove the crowds absolutely wild.
Gavita / GoldLabel’s Moto-BMX blackjack giveaway had the nerves of contestants in shreds, happy shreds. The haunting plant-tag hide-and-seek giveaway by Biobizz was given still-greater magical potency by a real pixie appearing and vanishing around their Tipi. As usual Dutchpro eschewed reality in favour of its virtual counterpart, making contestants think again about their own mortality, in a nice way.
Dazzling hospitality plus entertainment from the good ship Growers Wholesale ensured their guests were stuck like hydro-industry-titan-loving barnacles to the hull all weekend. Growth Technology combined sophistication with good ol’ fashioned gaming – Pimm’s and nibbles meets arcade and foosball table giveaway, with new lines on show-a-go-go – bingo!
Hand-carved wooden cheeseboards and meat platters crowned with outstanding, authentic, imported Austrian delicacies? This level of culture and sophistication could only be a SANlight production. CAN Filters have licence to filter and they’re not afraid to use it, to these ends they made maximum play in showing the people how to expel, extract and propel using their devices – absolutely hatstand!
Ready to revolutionise your mind and detox your body, Slim’s Place brought a delicious, exciting, change-your-mind feast of vegan options to the show with Rainforest Creations. Explosions of natural flavour were also being set off by fellow Slim’s Place partners JuiceJunkiez. Their wide and wild selection of incomparably fresh juices were served in the beautiful vessels that begat them. The discarded, waste-free fruit shells made one think of a battlefield of fruity love.
Leave it to Maxigrow to keep everyone calibrated to perfection, it’s just what they do guys. In the shape of La Kordun they literally brought a truckload of balance restoring hot barista-crafted bev’s to make everything alright again – all free of charge, whadda gift!
Would it be too much trouble to ask our hosts to devote 525sq m of greenhouses to exemplary exhibition growing with some of the biggest and best nutrients and substrates running in AutoPot? No trouble at all for Plantasia. 2019’s greenhouse displays were truly staggering in terms of originality and execution. Guests were treated to the culmination of a seasons’ work by the team. The greenhouses are a true feast for the eyes, at no other expo can you hope to see plants growing to anything like this standard, or find out just how it was done, it’s worth attending the Social for this alone.
What use all this splendid theatre without an audience to share it with? Well, we wouldn’t go to the trouble without knowing that the creme-de-la-horticulture would turn out and do themselves proud. Trade members from the U.K., Europe and beyond elevated the event with their enthusiasm and rewarded our Exhibitors with their trade acumen. This was nothing less than an awe-inspiring, full-throated roar of support from the lions of the industry.
And so, time to wash and buff up the treasures before putting them away for another year. As the wind and rain begin to rattle and dash, lifting the leaves and dampening spirits, making us contemplate wearing trousers for the first time since April, we hope we’ve given you some warm memories to stow away. Hopefully you’ll recall the 2019 Social as fondly as we do and we fancy you’ll have been inspired to join us again next time. See you soon.