Wow, just wow, I sit here two days after the Vaper Expo UK – The Big Weekend and I am reflecting on what has been three epic days. I am extremely tired after all the walking and talking I have done this weekend and to some extent still trying to take in everything that happened over the weekend.
With this blog I am going to lay it out slightly differently to how I usually write my visits to events, the main reason being that with the amount of stuff that went on it has all melded into one huge entrety. I’m going to split it down and tell you about the different parts of the event, please let me know what you think.
I went to both Vaper Expo’s last year and you can read about my visit to Vaper Expo UK – The Return by clicking here.
Leading up to and getting ready for Expo
For me there is always a rising excitement as an event gets closer, the week leading up to Expo I had a kind of feeling of butterflies in my stomach. To add to the excitement I was contacting by the guys at Decadent Vapours and asked if I would join them at the Vapouround awards that were being held on the Friday evening following the B2B. I was a little taken back by the invite, this fine and reputable company asking little old me to go with them to the awards, I felt deeply honoured. I have done a blog post about that, so if you would like to check that out, click here.
The other rather exciting thing prior to the event was through the mail I received an invite to go and see Vape Dinner Lady at their stand during the weekend. By the looks of the invite it looked like something new was coming from Vape Dinner Lady and I was to find out I was correct.
It was a great honour that I was given a press pass for the event and so for the first time I was able to attend all three days, I have always been intrigued to see what happens on B2B and I was about to find out.
Going to other events I have found that I have just taken far too much gear and juice that I just didn’t end up using. So this time I was going light, I took only one MOD, my Sigelei KAOS Spectrum (read my review by clicking here), two RDAs, plenty of batteries and enough juice just to last the day (not six different flavours which is what I have done before). I have found at events that I don’t actually vape a great deal on my own device, purely because I find myself constantly trying all the different juices on show. Apart from the usual wallet and relevant paperwork that was it. I was ready, let the weekend begin.
Vaper Expo UK – The Big Weekend was held at the NEC in Birmingham and was laid out in over 22,000 square metres with over 260 vendors exhibiting over 450 brands. I believe that there were just under 20,000 visitors over the three days.
As you can see from the image above it was in a large rectangular space which was free flowing with large aisles that could accommodate a good amount of people and there were no bottlenecks. Great access and space for those with mobility scooters, wheelchairs and those walking with sticks.
The addition of fun fair rides pretty much in the middle of the site was a lovely fun extra for event goes. It wasn’t something that appealed to me but thought that it brought some great fun for those who enjoy the likes of the Dodgems, the Waltzers and the Extreme (a twirly up and down ride). It certainly brought a smile to my face.
What I thought was perfect was that they had located the mainstage right at the back of the venue. This time there were hosts – Ashley from Strawberry Queen and Johnnie from BHVape store in Bournemouth and JuiceEFruit E-Liquids. This was a very welcome addition to the event and they were both excellent hosts, a match made in heaven (a very amusing heaven). They also hosted the Vapouround Awards on the Friday evening.
This was a whole new experience for me and though there were also VIP ticket holders attending on the Friday it was mainly businesses attending. The first thing I noticed that was different was that it was a lot quieter in the sense that there were less people, but not by much. Also that stands were free to able to have chats as they weren’t all on the sell, sell, sell.
I did notice that there were a few stands were still setting up, but all were ready within an hour of the event opening up.
For me, as a reviewer the day was about seeing the companies that I had done reviews for and then maybe making some new acquaintances. I went wanting to have the time to have a chat with vendors without the vendor feeling that they needed to move on to the next person. The day did indeed fulfill that and much more.
By halfway through the day I hadn’t even got round half the site and I started to realise that I now know so many people now who attend/showcase these events. Prior to the event I kept a close eye on the list of attendees, but on arriving at the event it was really cool to find out that others who weren’t on the list were there.
One of which was Slush – Draco Vapors which I met back last August at Cloud Sessions 4 in Birmingham (you can read about my visit by clicking here). They were showcasing the Slush range (you can read my review by clicking here) and they also had a new range Citricity which I will be reviewing soon.
On the people I knew who were going to be there and it was fantastic to put faces to messages were the guys at JAC Vapour who have recently re-branded and looks very smart. I did a review for them at the beginning of the year (you can check out that by clicking here) but I am very excited that I will have the Series-B DNA 75W MOD coming up for review and the S22-Tank also, so please keep an eye for them.
I also met many new people and I am going to mention Scott of Voopoo Tech a lovely guy and we had a great chat for some time. I was honoured as I was about to leave that Scott asked me if I would do a review of the Voopoo DRAG and so this review will be coming soon – keep an eye for that too, it’s a beautiful looking device and at the moment it is performing impressively well.
There were so many vendors that I can’t mention them all or this blog is just going to get very long. This section was just to give an insight to B2B and a day that I enjoyed immensely.
Companies have become more and more inventive in the way they present their stands and this Expo was no exception. The fantastic ideas and creativity was outstanding and though Riot Squad came away with the award for best stand there are were a lot that could have quite easily taken the title.
The following three stands were the ones that stood out for me, purely on creativity and design.
Frontline E-Liquids brought this great stand that doubled up as a kind of theme park ride (a walkabout ride). Where you went into an initial room and watched a video followed by a corridor walk that went back and forth. Things jumped out at you, when I went through it was quite funny as I had a couple in front of me who took the brunt of the scare moments and seeing them jump was, well, funny to say the least. A very clever stand.
Here are a selection of photos of the other stands.
There were many others, these photos have given you an idea.
The people I met
The first person I have to mention is Jay one of the organisers of Vaper Expo UK who kindly took a moment out of his day to have a brief chat with me about the event. We also had another moment to grab a photo with Lee the other organiser.
Johnnie of BHVape in Bournemouth, I have known Johnnie (also known for JuiceEFruit) for about a year now. A top bloke and is always a pleasure to chat with. He can be quite funny too. Along with Ashley he hosted the mainstage and the Vapouround Awards in great style and finesse. If you are in the Bournemouth area then you should make a trip down to his shop, I assure you it will be most entertaining.
I have to give a shoutout to Matt the ‘merchandise man‘, it’s not his actual title, I gave him that. Matt is one of the Vaper Expo UK crew who are always there and willing to help. I first met Matt at the Vaper Expo UK – The Return and at both events he was doing his stint on the merchandise stand, that is how I gave him the name. I forgot to give Matt a shoutout in my last blog (sorry). A great pleasure to speak to and a belated Happy Anniversary to Matt and his wife.
It was great to bump into Steve from Steve Vape Reviews again and it was most awesome to find out that Steve and his partner were expecting a baby. Fantastic news and wish them all the best and a safe arrival. Steve is also donning an excellent beard, top stuff.
It was fantastic to meet Richard and his son prior to entry into the event on the Sunday, we had the time to have a good chat. I know Richard through Twitter and it was great to meet the person behind the tweets.
I met another member of the Twitter Family, Chris, we had missed each other on the Saturday, but as the day drew to a close we bumped into each other and had time to grab a quick photo.
Finally Stephen and Kat who with Smog MODs for the event, a couple from my hometown which I connected with at a local vape meet. These guys have worked tirelessly to organise vape meets for our local vape community which has hit upon a snag as we don’t have a venue at present, something they are working on. They provide a level of support to the local vape community and I only wish I could support them a little more myself. Thank you Stephen and Kat for what you do.
I have known and speak with several members of the VUKN crew through social media for well over a year now and though I don’t do anything for the channel apart from my support, I have been welcomed in as a good friend of the family. It was great to see that the majority of them were in attendance at the Expo. One of my highlights of the event was spending some time with these guys.
I have been invited on several occasions to join the channel, but I feel I’m not ready to take that step, though it would be difficult to so even if I wanted to, as I work evenings and have a young family. But I must say thank you for the invite, I am honoured.
I would like to say a special thank you to the following for all the support that you have given to me over the last year or so.
Here are a few photos of VUKN family and me.
One the great things was that I finally spent more than ten minutes with Steve of Steve Vape Reviews and it was also great to meet Tony of Vivd Vapes. We grabbed some lunch and there was opportunity to see all the shiny things that Steve had bought, haha. Didn’t get chance for a photo, but certainly a highlight of the weekend for me
It was also fantastic to meet Simon, Tony and Richard who I had an opportunity to have a chat with.
VUKN crew you do a great job, keep it up. The links above are to their Twitter accounts, go check them out, they are some of the best reviewers in the country.
NNA – New Nicotine Alliance
I cannot finish up without mentioning Dave Dorn and the NNA team. Dave and the NNA team work very hard to make sure that we still are able to vape. I have been to see Dave speak at events and what was encouraging to see was the amount of people going and listening to Dave has grown in number.
It was great to meet Dave again and to have the opportunity to speak with Jessica (one of the NNA team) and we are organising a guest blog from the NNA, so please look out for that.
If nothing else, please go, sign up and show your support for the NNA you can do that by clicking one of the links below.
The Vaper Expo Awards
- Nasty Juice – Slow Blow
- Dr fog – M series – Alpha. 20
- VEM Distribution – Bubbles Spt Ice Lemonade
- Zap Juice – Melonade
- Momo – Soda Lish
- Decoded – Verified Bloop
- Element – 555
- Hollywood Vape Labs – Shakedown
- Element – Blackcurrant Tobacco
- Ace of Vapes – New Just Jam
- Avid Liquid Life – Avid Shakes
- Glas – Pound Cake
- Premium Labs – Dr Fog – Supernova
- Hollywood Vape Labs – Orange Cream
- Premium Labs – Currency Rupee
Best Stand of the Show
- Riot Squad
My final thoughts
I have to say that this has been by far the best event I have ever been to. I believe that this is for several reasons. I have to start with the lay out, amazing, well done guys, it was spacious and well thought out. The aisles were a great size meaning there was great access for all, whether walking, in a wheelchair or scooter there was plenty of space for all. I don’t know whether it was intentional but people seem to be drawn into the right side of the main aisle go up and then return down the left side. The main aisle was clear and you could just see the mainstage in the distance at the end. Talking of the main stage, I thought its positioning was perfect and with the welcome addition of the hosts made for a free flowing stage and I believe that the stage got just as much attention as in previous events.
The addition of the fun fair rides in the middle of the venue was ingenious, though they weren’t used a huge amount, they made everyone smile and were certainly a talking point.
There was a wide choice of different vendors which was great to see and it seemed that there was a more even spread of hardware and juice vendors. For me having the third day and I was able to go to B2B made the weekend a little more relaxing(ish).
I do have to mention the security at the event and in the NEC was outstanding, on the way in from the train station I was stopped and had my bag checked four times and there were armed guards and dogs working in the NEC grounds and inside the event. After the horrific events of Manchester this was an excellent step up of security and I would like to thank the members of the NEC and the police for their hard work over the weekend.
My most enjoyable experience of the whole event was meeting and chatting with like minded people whether new or old it was great to meet you, you made it a very special and memorable event for me.
Though I was kind of expecting certain hardware companies not to be selling and were there to showcase and to do business deals. I was really surprised to find that Riot Squad a UK juice company not selling any juice at all, very bizarre. They were there to promote their new juice Iron Bruise.
There is one thing I would change to make the experience better and I actually mentioned it about the last event in October. More booths for ticket entry, there maybe a reason for this, but it would cut down on wait time for those queuing.
Finally, Thank you Jay and Lee you can rest assured that it was a very successful and enjoyable event. How are you going to top that in October guys?
If you’ve never been to an event, then please be assured you will have an excellent time. What’s stopping you? come on, you only live once!
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If you think that there is a juice/vendor out there that you think I should try or you are a company and would like me to do a review, you can contact me via the following:
Have a dapper day cloud chasers!