SIR, – Having just attended the Royal Highland Agricultural Show, I was deeply unimpressed and miserably let down but the whole event and feel the need to air my views as I am pretty sure I am not alone with some of my opinions.

I hold an RHASS life membership and have been attending for approximately 45 years and this is the first time I have had to pre-book day/days I wished to attend. I was under the impression that one of the benefits of being a member enabled me to decide if and when I attended during the event without worrying about notifying the RHASS.

As a farmer, I am sure there are many others like myself that are dictated to by stock/farm related issues that happen last minute and weather particularly at this time of year, ie organising silage etc, which is outwith my control.

I do realise that on the FAQ on the RHASS website it states that you can book all four days and then e-mail them to cancel the days that cannot be attended to allow them to release further tickets for the public, but in practicality, this is not really feasible.

As a member, up until this year, I had priority parking. It may not seem like much, but members seem to have lost this part of their package without anything else being offered in its place. Another benefit of membership gone!

I am starting to question why have a membership at all!

Also, to have ticket purchases 100% online and no sales at the door seems to be unfair and could isolate people that are unable to use/or access a computer potentially reducing numbers further going forward. Without computer access, there may be vital information regarding the show missed.

I was always under the impression that RHASS was predominately to promote agriculture and educate as well as relevant businesses being able to showcase their products within an area that would encourage like-minded people to visit. I was shocked to then discover that a music concert was being held on the same weekend as the show.

There are 51 other weekends that this could have taken place.

Again, within the FAQ, RHASS have stated this was to 'enhance the experience' and that this will be some people on their 'summer holidays' and will give these people an 'into the night' experience.

What about the people that have been going on holiday to the show for years without this experience and loved their time there and now have very loud music concerts going on next to them – do they not matter? To say that the RHASS don’t expect much noise bleed is quite ridiculous, of course there will be 'noise bleed'. It is being held in a glorified tent, not a soundproof booth!

This would also raise a question regarding the animals that are being housed within the show for the duration. I appreciate that within the FAQ, RHASS mentioned that the stage will face away from livestock and directional PA systems will be pushing sound into the crowd within the ‘Big Top’, but I am doubtful that this would be enough for livestock not to hear the din of a music concert. Hope they had their ear defenders with them!

Whist I was at the show with my partner, we quite early on in the day discovered that the toilets were below standard. I appreciate that there are a lot of people using these facilities throughout the day, but to have no toilet paper and no soap in today’s climate is pretty poor.

If the show takes such careful consideration in Covid-19 restrictions with regards to the amount of people entering the event, why would they not do the same for one of places that Covid is known for having a field day, ie toilets with no soap! As my partner said, after paying for her ticket, is it too much to ask for the bare essentials within a toilet?

I also found that the price for car parking was quite excessive. I feel it is unreasonable to request payment of £15 per day/£25 for four days to park on a cut silage field with no security. The shuttle service seems to have also disappeared, but perhaps I just missed where was located.

As this was the first year back since 2019 and also the 200th show, surely it should have come back with a bang but, unfortunately, I didn’t feel there was any of the usual buzz and atmosphere.

We were there on the Friday, which was apparently sold out but it certainly did not feel that way. It's all starting to feel like the Royal Show and we know how that went!

Let’s hope RHASS listen to the constructive criticism from members, exhibitors and businesses involved and make some changes for the better to improve it going forward. We can only hope it is not already too late as it would be a shame to see the Royal Highland Show disappear.

Robert C Baxter, Gibblaston Farm, Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire.

Read more: Handicraft and stick significantly well down – RHS risks heading same route as Royal Show