Notching up record delegate and exhibitor numbers for 2019, this year’s VET Festival, received an overwhelmingly positive response from delegates for the calibre of speakers and entertainment. The event took place at Loseley Park, Guildford on 7-8 June.
With wellness a strong focus for VET Festival, the Wellness lecture tent was packed for Lara Heimann, an American who has achieved global recognition for her unique vinyasa yoga style and regularly leads international retreats and workshops. Many delegates took their wellness into their own hands by visiting the Wellness Hub for a massage and yoga session while the Family Hub was busy throughout the two days.
Continuing the wellness theme but also embracing eco concerns, event sponsor MWI Animal Health offered delegates the opportunity to use their own energy by cycling on an exercise bike to create a fruit smoothie. On the Friday night, delegates, many in 80s costumes, partied into the night with live music from MadHen.
Clinical speakers received with particular enthusiasm included Dr Ronaldo da Costa, Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Ohio State University, USA, and Laurie Edge Hughes, a veterinary physiotherapist from Canada.
Professor Noel Fitzpatrick said: “It is a real joy to see the VET Festival growing and growing, not just in physical size, but from the immense goodwill that radiates from it. The weather didn’t get in the way of the wellness and there was nothing rainy about the atmosphere at VET Festival – in fact I think that the rain brought us closer together.
“I set out to build a community of compassion for our profession and I genuinely felt that there was a tangible sense of togetherness. There were loads of great conversations with each other and with the exhibitors. The educational content really was world class and the tents were packed. I hoped that VET Festival would be a breath of fresh air, where having an education event outdoors – combined with a focus on wellness of body and mind for all of us – could help vet professionals to be the very best that they could be – and so serve our patients better.
“Everyone there was part of something innovative and refreshing I felt – the delegates, the exhibitors, the team who have worked year-round to create the event, and the fantastic speakers. I’m very grateful to all of them and I sincerely hope that this feeling remains strong for each and every one all year round. The resonant theme this year was ‘kindness’ – to ourselves, to each other, to the families of animals and the animals we are lucky enough to take care of. Nobody is a nobody at VET Festival, and never will be. In that field, we’re all equal, no matter what we do in the vet profession – we all matter – we all want the same thing, which is wellness for each other and the animals we serve – and importantly, we’re all in it together for the greater good, rain or shine.”
Nicole Cooper, Managing Director, Events Division, Fitz All Media, said: “We are all delighted by the support of the industry and welcomed over 1,900 delegates, a 12% increase and 60 exhibitors – a 28% increase on 2018. VET Festival continues to grow because its unique format, half top-flight congress, half festival, offers a laid back and fun environment in which delegates can learn, catch up with friends and have fun. We’re delighted with the response to this year’s event and are already planning to make next year’s event even better.”