10 questions for Royal Norfolk Show director Julian Taylor

Director Julian Taylor preparing for this year's Royal Norfolk Show. Photo: Bill Smith for EDP Norfo

Director Julian Taylor preparing for this year's Royal Norfolk Show. Photo: Bill Smith for EDP Norfolk - Credit: Archant

He may be happier behind the scenes, but as the Royal Norfolk Show celebrates its diamond anniversary on the showground site, we put show director and farmer Julian Taylor in the hot seat to ask what the show means to him.

How long have you been involved with the show?

We started showing our Holstein cattle well back in the 1990s. I was asked to be a volunteer assistant steward in 1986, when the Queen visited. I was expecting to be helping to move barriers to keep the crowds back as she went around the show, but the crowds were so polite and moved naturally so I wasn't really needed. In 1987, I moved to steward in the countryside arena under head steward Ben Stimpson, and then Henry Cator.

I took on head steward round about 2000. When I was involved in the arenas I didn't get to see our cattle compete, but it was great experience for the children showing the calves.


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What does a show director do?

Do they choose or reject potential acts, Simon Cowell-style?

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No! The great thing about the Royal Norfolk show is that the head stewards are involved in the show committee and all of you, and the staff, sit down three

times a year to discuss the direction in which the show is going. Then it's up to the Trustees to agree a budget. We choose together.

There is a lot more to the show too, the marquee contracts, roads and car parks, catering and so on that has to be decided.

As a farmer, what do you enjoy most about the show?

I love the cattle because that's what I have been involved with all my life. And going to the agricultural machinery stands to see not only the huge machines that are there but to quiz farmers as to why they are interested in particular machines.

As show director, what do you enjoy most about the show?

Ensuring that, having got to the show, we haven't left anything floating. I always worry – what have I forgotten?!

If you were visiting the show for the first time, where would you start?

Let's say I'm a teenager, as they are the hardest to sell the show to. If they haven't been previously on a school visit, which should have opened up various thought processes – as Jake Humphrey said, the Royal Norfolk Show had never left him as it made such an impression when he was taken as a child by the school – I would suggest the apprenticeship trail. We have various firms that are waiting to meet youngsters who want to go into agriculture. It's not so much tractor drivers, but the huge service industry that's such a part of agriculture.

What is your main role on show day?

I have to oversee the smooth running. I listen with an earpiece to everything that's going on.

If there is a problem, I put the right amount of qualified people in the right place to deal with it.

What can't you wait to see?

This year I am really looking forward to seeing the flower

show and all the gardening. It has been steadily improving over the last three or four years. I am certain the display is going to be superb.

How do you juggle farming with your role as show director?

I have a wife, a son and daughter in law who are very much involved as well!

Do you suffer post-RNS blues when it's tidy-up time?

As a farmer I go straight into harvest. I think that we don't have the post-show blues because we are straight into debrief meetings and preparing for next year.

Describe RNS 2014 in three words.

Exhilarating.

Best-value.

Thought-provoking.

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