Plenty of people have put on an event. But few have had to lobby for a change in the council’s licensing policy to be able to get their event off the ground.
But that’s exactly what Gary Watts, the organiser of Swindon’s first-ever tattoo show, had to do.
The Great Western Tattoo Show will be held over two days, July 29 and 30, at Steam Museum, and will showcase some of the best tattooists from around the UK.
It required a change in licensing policy from Swindon Borough Council, to allow an artist licensed elsewhere to be able to practice in Swindon for the weekend, without having to pay the full £218 fee for the licence, but instead buy a £26 five-day licence.
And it has paid off – so many tattoo artists from across the country have signed up to come and show their works and skills at the weekend, it has had to expand to more rooms in Steam.
Mr Watts said: “We’ve got about 80 tattoo artists from all over the country coming and they’re all renowned artists in their own area.
“We were going just to be in the main hall, but we’ve had to go into the smaller Holdsworth Hall and into the outdoor space as well.
“I was a bit nervous about using Steam for the first show – there aren’t a huge number of other suitable venues in Swindon, so I’m relieved so many artists and other traders want to come along.”
As well as artists, the show will feature sponsors such as Old Eltons clothing, which makes tattoo-imagery themed apparel, and Black Tears Rum as well as Chupacabra, a taxidermy businesses.
Mr Watts said: “It’s literally taxidermy of animals. There are traders who appeal to the sort of audience a tattoo show will get and they travel to a lot of them.”
The tattooist and owner of Black Heart Ink in Bridge Street in the town centre reckons the show being Swindon’s first is part of the draw to so many tattoo artists: “There have been some shows well established for more than 20 years, but there have been more and more as tattoos have become more popular.
“This is the first ever in Swindon, and we’ve called it The Great Western Tattoo Show, steam rains are part of our branding, and it’s at Steam so it’s all fitting together well.
“We’ve worked hard on getting the artists, now I want the people of Swindon to know about it and save the date. They can come and be tattooed, or just watch, or just look at the art.”
See www.gwts.co.uk or www.steam-museum.org.uk/event/the-great-western-tattoo-show for more details.