Sunday, 5 February 2012

IMATS London 2012 - The Good, The Bad and the Snow

Most of the 'Good' will actually come in the following posts -I have 270 pics to go through - but for this post, suffice to say that the move to the Great Hall made a huge difference to how the show felt. Even at peak times yesterday it didn't have the daunting feel of previous years.

Today sadly for me has been a whole other story. This morning I decided to take the plunge and drive in snow for the first time. I would say that driving to Alexandra Palace is probably the easier option for anybody living in the northern half of Greater London. No traipsing in to the centre and then out again. Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy using public transport and would have been this morning. But at the last moment having monitored the tube and roads and twitter I decided to be brave and go the shortest route.

My moment of triumph when I arrived however was to be short lived as I was directed from one carpark to the next. The first attendant turned me away with a cheery exhibitors only, the second said try down the hill. In between of course it dawned on me just how rammed the park of  'The Peoples Palace' was. Everyone had turned out not for IMATS, but to slide down that awesome hill.  Briefly I thought how the kids would have enjoyed it, then I reached the lower car park and that was shut too.

Not wanting to leave the park on the side that I came out of and then got lost 2 years ago I managed to manoeuvre a turn in the snowy packed parking area at the bottom of Alexandra Palace Way. Back tracking through the park I stopped yet again to ask a group of attendants one of whom turned out to be a policeman. I couldn't quite believe that all the parking was full and no according to him the car parks had actually been shut for safety reasons. They'd been taken by surprise by just how much snow had been dumped down over night and there was more on the way - not according to any weather forecasters I'm aware of then - so I'd have to find my way to a car park some place in Wood Green and then walk back.

If you've ever driven or got lost in London you'll know there aren't actually very many places to stop and check a map or even programme a Sat Nav for that matter. Too many double yellows and restricted areas, never mind about today's snow mounds to get stuck in. But actually, after another double pass through the park....on the off chance of a space on the side of the road becoming available, I found my way into the centre of Wood Green fairly easily. I had to park, if only because I was desperate for the loo by now.

Finding my way out again I wasn't so sure about and looking at the map a trek of a couple of miles beckoned, but not without a visit to a ladies, some food and a hot drink.

Emotion has finally given way to anger, that a £40 a day event can be hosted at a place that can't even keep it's car parks open. Hasn't the snow of the last few years taught them anything about what can happen overnight. We knew this snow was coming all day yesterday at least, weather watchers like my husband will tell you that the met office issued a warning as early as Thursday. Perhaps there was more than expected, but a conference venue that can accommodate 10,400 people should have been prepared. If the roads into the venue are passable then so should the car parks be. There were no warnings from them on twitter or on their website not to travel there by car. In fact the only mention I now see is on the IMATS website which helpfully reminds people that the tickets were non refundable.

Strong Sunday Turnout Despite Snow

posted Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012

Saturday night the Alexandra Palace area was hit with several inches of snow, which hampered transportation efforts to get up the hill. Despite this, many excited attendees managed to make their way to Palm Court to check in. As a reminder, tickets are non-refundable, even for difficulties caused by snow.  

I bought my ticket for yesterday before I realised I might be eligible for a press pass, today I hoped to check out a few more talks, and chat to a few more brands - My chat with Sleek Makeup a hugely popular post from last years IMATS happened on the generally more relaxed Sunday. I love IMATS. meeting and chatting to new brands taking pics - which is pretty much all I did for the first hour yesterday - knowing I had today for more meeting and chatting and buying.....or so I thought. So today didn't cost me, except in petrol and parking but this post is on behalf of anyone else in my position who did pay and got turned away.

I took a huge emotional leap by driving to get to IMATS today only to end up paying to park in a shopping centre car park. To add insult to injury I went into Costa for a sandwich and hot chocolate, but there was nowhere to sit. I've never seen a coffee shop that looked more reminiscent of an old fashioned Sunday lunch time pub. More than 90% full of men - not a place an already stressed female wants to join someone's table. The mall had nowhere to sit either so I wandered out into the street only for snow melt to drop off the roof into my chocolate. Welcome to Wood Green! And then some youths thought it amusing to pelt me with some snowballs whilst I ate my sandwich as I wandered towards the bus stop. No Oyster card with me of course to keep the travel at a reasonable price because I came by car. Did I want to return to this place in a few hours time with ice setting in, I pondered whilst sitting at the bus stop, or get the hell out to my warm home. I chose the latter, couldn't even face a bit of retail therapy in Boots......

A wander round IMATS London 2012 - Part1 - Part 2

Alexandra Palace is a great resource held in trust for the free use of the people and should stay that way. 
A bit of meteorological understanding might help though if you're going to hold major events at a time of year susceptible to frozen precipitation in the form of a six-sided ice crystals.

Actually I did come home with some Fairy washing up liquid and some wrapping foil for sandwiches....not exactly comfort shopping!


  1. How unbelievably craptacular. I am sat here feeling cross on your behalf. Nothing annoys me more than poor organisation, part of my job involves me working at large agricultural shows and when the organisation involved in traffic management and parking doesn't work it causes untold chaos and its just not acceptable to come up with excuses - if you thought no one was going to turn up why are you holding the event in the first bloody place? You knew it would be busy but yet decided to overlook traffic management - you deserve to be derided publicly for your complete incompetence. Ahem, and breathe! And as for the reminder as quoted that tickets are non-refundable, could that have been any more "so tough sh*t"? That said am looking forward to the "good" that you did enjoy! xx

    1. Sorry I didn't reply to you before Debbie, I was so gutted and didn't want to get myself any more cross. Seriously appreciated your comment though. x


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