South Wales Decorating Show Review

I paid a visit to the South Wales Decorating Show for the first time in March 2024. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest. Rabart used to attend the National Painting and Decorating Show in Coventry, but as most of the people who attend that show are out of Rabart’s catchment area, they decided to take matters into their own hands and start their own.

The Rabart South Wales Decorating Show is now an annual event, but according to the local Decorators I spoke to, this year’s show was about twice the size of last year’s.

It was a huge success too. Tickets to the event were free, but the show organisers limited it to 1,000 guests. You had to register online if you wanted to attend, and all the tickets had gone a few days before the date of the show. This meant that some Decorators missed out.

Not that it was just Decorators who went. The South Wales Decorating Show was open to anyone. A lot of tradesmen I saw there were with their families. It was nice to be honest; it just added to the friendly atmosphere of the place.


My Experience at the South Wales Decorating Show


I rocked up at midday, which is when the show was due to start. It took maybe 10 minutes of queuing and getting through the admission process before I could go into the Decorating Show.


I was given beer tokens to use at the bar and offered a free goodie bag (which I turned down). I was then greeted by a couple of the Directors of Rabart Decorating Merchants, who seemed to be welcoming every single guest personally, which I thought was a nice touch. I think they genuinely appreciated the effort made by each of their guests for attending. It made us feel welcome and it set the tone for the rest of the show.

There were 24 exhibitors at the show, so it’s nowhere near as big as the national show at Coventry, but still loads going on. Freebies were being offered around all over the place, and I often spotted attendees taking loads back to their cars and then coming back in for more.

Crown Trade Paint were showcasing products like Fastflow and Sadolin and had a hoopla-style game which proved quite popular. Dulux Trade were showing how to choose colours using their unique colour picking tool. Farrow and Ball were showcasing their Dead Flat. Fiddies showed off their Full Stop and HD Oil. Honestly, there was so much going on; way too much to mention everything.

You could spend two or three hours doing a lap of the show and talking to everyone you wanted to, but this show felt a lot more like a social event than the other decorating shows I have attended previously. There was quite a large bar area and plenty of free food. I think most of the attendees were spending a bit of time looking at products, but then sitting down in groups and having a couple of pints, before having another mooch. This was great for me because a lot of people who were there are also on one of our Facebook groups, so I got to meet a lot of the Decorators I talk to online anyway.

Everyone was relaxed and enjoying themselves, which made people want to hang around. It was busy from the moment the event started until the end. It was great.

Crowd of people at the South Walse Decorating Show

The other thing to note was the amount of offers available on the day. They ran a “Bonanza” to mark Rabart’s 40th anniversary, which saw hundreds of items heavily discounted. Not just big things like sprayers and sanders, but things like Masq Painters’ Tape, dust sheets, Toupret Fillers, and all that other good stuff that we use every day.


Final Thoughts


The South Wales Decorating Show is different to any other show I’ve been to, and I’ve attended them all! The free food and drink for every guest must have cost them a fortune. But then, I suppose Rabart Decorating Merchants have an advantage over the other shows, in that it isn’t about making money. They don’t need to make a profit on the show, because that isn’t what the day is about.

I think they’re happy if they can raise their own profile a little bit (which they’ve certainly done), encourage a few more Decorators to open an account at their local Rabart branch, and meet the Decorators who already use their stores. Moreover, I think they genuinely want to give something back to their customers. So, they can afford to let people eat and drink their fill.

Apparently Rabart host another show in Plymouth, which might be a little bit too far for me, but I think it would be well worth attending if it was a bit closer. I’m also looking forward to the South Wales Decorating Show 2025. I’d like to see it grow again to be honest. It would be great to see it twice the size of this year’s, which is probably achievable based on the success this time around.

toupret showcasing their filler range at the South Walse Decorating Show
Zinsser Stand at a decorating show
Ciret at the South Walse Decorating Show
Fiddes Showcasing their woodcare products
Graham and Brown stand at the South Wales Decorating Show
Polyvine showcasing their products
Crown showcasing their products at the South Wales Decorating Show
Benjamin Moore stand

South Wales Decorating Show Review – by Mike Cupit

Posted Mar 10, 2024 | 1 comment

1 Comment

  1. Andrew John Bush

    Thank you for this review of The South Wales Decorating Show. I am one of the Directors that was standing on the door welcoming people in and we are so pleased you picked up the friendly family vibe, because that’s pretty much who we are. Being a proud Welsh Family business, we really want to offer contractors, decorators and DIY’ers in the South Wales and surrounding areas the chance to interact with our suppliers and find out about new products and developments in the world of decorating. The day was an amazing success and that is thanks to our amazing suppliers and our even more amazing customers (and potential future customers). We don’t run this event to make money (and you’re right- the bar bill was a bit eye watering :)) – and we are so pleased that everyone seemed to enjoy it and felt it was worthwhile. Similarly, the event we have started in Plymouth will go ahead this year, so please keep an eye for further details.

    To anyone who is interested in attending any future events- just to say that everyone is welcome and we look forward to seeing everyone and anyone with an interest in decorating.


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