This week it was four years ago since the last(?) Elmia Wood show. A while ago I asked myself if there ever will be another Elmia forestry show. It probably will but for the moment no one knows in what form.
Four years ago – the last waltz with the big ones?
The 2017 edition of Elmia Wood was more or less as normal. “Everyone” was there even though the number of visitors decreased a bit. I was an exhibitor then; we had a great stand, both new and old customers kept us busy all the time through the fair. We couldn´t complain, well apart from the weather, four days of rain. But come on; we are forestry people. The rain made sure the less interested stayed at home which was good.
For reasons mentioned in many other articles, and therefore not here, the 2017 Elmia-show was the one that triggered some of the major forest machine suppliers to start their own fair, the Swedish Forestry Expo. It was planned for this year in the beginning of June, just like the Elmia Wood show. We all know what became of that – now both shows will take place next year – we hope.
As for the battle between Elmia Wood and the Swedish Forestry Expo … we will have to get back to that.
Forest machine history was presented at Elmia
The development of todays’ forest machines for CTL (Cut-To-Length) technology was taking place in Sweden and Finland. Elmia Wood happened to become the place where all the latest technologies were presented for the first time. This made people from all over the World to visit the show which made the show the number 1 show in the World in forestry.
The very first forestry show by Elmia took place in 1967 at the fairgrounds of Jönköping in south Sweden. In 1975, a demo part was organized in the forest south of town. The visitors went from the fairgrounds in town to the forest by shuttle buses. In 1983 (maybe -85?) the whole fair was moved to the forest and have stayed there ever since on different locations close to Jönköping.
As forest was harvested during the fair, new places had to be found every time in the beginning. In 1987 and 1989, Elmia Wood was held at the same place two times in a row for the first time. This was also the time when the major manufacturers started complaining about that the fair took place too often. They requested a four-year interval instead of the two-year one. The discussions between the Swedish Forest Machine Suppliers Association and Elmia ended up in that the show became two shows: Elmia Wood for international forestry, and SkogsElmia (Forest Elmia) for Scandinavian/Nordic forestry. The two shows alternates in four-year interval meaning there is still one show every two years, but with different target groups.
My Elmia Wood history
I was a trainee at Elmia Wood 1997 when I was studying marketing, that´s how I came to know the team. I joined the team full time in February 2000, just as the present fairground in Bratteborg was about to be built for the show in 2001. I stayed at Elmia until 2012.
But before that I had visited every Elmia forestry show since 1979! I really loved the show. When you are working in the forest you are mainly alone. Once every two years I went to Elmia and socialized with old friends. I actually had friends that I never met anywhere else. The fact that the show was just some 50 kilometers away from me made it easy.
When I joined the Elmia team I moved to Jönköping, the town where the company Elmia has its office and trade fair facilities. I still live here, and I enjoy meeting the forestry business people “at my place” every two years. I hope that will continue even if I have to wait one year extra this time.
One should never underestimate the social aspect of a show like the forestry shows. People really want to meet every now and then and will do so also in the future. That´s why I strongly believe that the shows will go on after the pandemic, and most will be as usual again.
Post cards from my Elmia-trip
Here are some photos that I took along the (Elmia-) way (unfortunately I never had time to take photos of the show when I was organizing it. Others did that …):
Photos: Per Jonsson except where otherwise stated.