Social media saves the day

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The South East Bus Festival had to be cancelled at short notice. SOUTH EAST BUS FESTIVAL

Modern technology came to the rescue when a major heritage event had to be cancelled, reports Nick Larkin

The power of social media saved major problems after one of the country’s biggest bus events had to be cancelled at short notice. The South East Bus Festival was axed due to the site, Kent Showground, becoming waterlogged. More than 150 vehicles had been booked in for the show on Saturday 1 April.

The previous Wednesday afternoon, site owners Kent Agricultural Society carried out an inspection and it was decided that the area where the buses would normally be displayed was unusable. “We had hoped that the event could still go ahead in a different form but the amount of rainwater on the site, and with further rain expected, cancellation was the only option,” said organisers’ spokesman Richard Lewis. “We put out a message on Facebook, which lots of people shared, and sent out a press release. We also managed to contact all the vehicle owners and stallholders by email and phone. As a result only 25 people turned up on the Saturday expecting to find the show.”


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He added “A lot of work had been put into this event after considerable hours of organising it. The programmes were printed and we were very disappointed the show couldn’t take place. Obviously safety has to come first.

‘This would have been our twelfth event we’ve organised. We haven’t taken too much of a financial hit as the bus event runs as part the Kent Agricultural Society’s Heritage Transport show, so we’ll be back next year.”

Stall holders and ticket purchasers will be refunded.

Fifty years of operator Metrobus was due to be celebrated at the festival. “We’ll have a Metrobus 51 instead,” Richard added. Ironically a threatened rail strike, which led to a network of feeder buses being organised for the event, was cancelled. Said Richard: “We would like to thank everyone who shared the news of the cancellation. It shows the power of social media.”