Generations of drillers have grown up attending the South Atlantic Jubilee. That decades-long run had a blip in 2020. Like most in-person events, organizers canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Well, with the pandemic appearing to wane and event restrictions lifted, the Jubilee returns this year ready to make up for that lost time.
Organizers say they’re eager and ready for the event to return.
“This is a place where you can go look at rigs — and they sell rigs on the show floor,” explains Kim Barclay, the event’s executive director. “You can look at equipment. You can look at bits. You can touch them. You can feel them. You can see all the water filtration systems. You can actually put your hands on it and realize if this is a good product or service for you or not. You can ask questions. So the hands-on element here cannot be replaced. It just can’t.”
We had Barclay on our Drilling In-Site video and podcast series to discuss bringing the family-style event back to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, July 30-Aug. 2. This is an edited summary of our talk. Click here to see the full video, or here to listen to the podcast.
Q. We’re pretty sure our audience is familiar with the JUBILEE, but give us the quick elevator pitch for folks that don’t. What is JUBILEE and why should I go?
A. The Jubilee started officially in 1954 and was actually in Carolina, Beach, North Carolina. It eventually moved to Myrtle Beach, where we know and love it today. It is definitely a different type of show. It’s second only in size to the National Ground Water show and we’re always on the East Coast in Myrtle Beach. … It’s very similar in some ways to NGWA’s show, but extremely different in the fact that it’s family oriented. We have family activities. We have a family picnic. We now have a petting zoo. There’s a Kids Zone and all the exhibitors and the attendees know that this is a family event. … That’s the biggest difference. People come and make it a family vacation and they come to the trade show and do the professional development amongst that. It’s a vast array of activities.
Q. Now, for the first time in decades, there wasn’t a South Atlantic JUBILEE in 2020. Obviously, Covid-19 put a damper on all kinds of in-person events like yours. As the event returns, can attendees expect to see any differences?
A. As of right now — and, as we all know, things can change on a turn of a dime — but, as of today, there are no official mandates or restrictions in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. With that said, the exhibit hall, the show floor, is spaced out more than normal to make people feel a little bit more comfortable and confident that they’re not all bunched together. There’s more room in that aspect. The exhibitors will be, you know, adhering to whatever that they feel comfortable with — some of them will probably have plexiglass or something. What we anticipate, barring anything horrific happening, is that masks will be optional, up to the individual there. There will be, of course, hand sanitizer stations and so forth. That’s really all we anticipate. We’re still having the picnic and the petting zoo. We’ll be outside [for the zoo] this year due to the fact that that is a place where everybody congregates, but I don’t think those are terribly major things or obstacles. I think it will be totally fine, and we’re excited to have everybody back.
Q. Tell us about professional development this year.
A. What we have is a vast array of professional development and, for those who don’t know, several years ago we implemented a track three. In years past, it had only been two tracks and all contractor-type, license-type courses. We developed a more business track three. It has everything from family succession … how to hire good employees and in the 21st century, and just numerous things like that. Of course there’s the normal demo outside, well maintenance, how to deal with your electrical. … I don’t have all these courses memorized, of course, but there’s a lot.
We will have the NGWA McEllhiney Lecture. Kevin McGinnis with Cotey Chemical will be doing that on Saturday and then to round everything out on Sunday, it will actually be Brock. He is going to do our well driller game show. So that is a fun and entertaining and very educational course. It is approved so, although it’s in a game show format, it is a course, and so Brock will be facilitating. That is the last course on Sunday, before we open the show.
Q. And you do licensing exams for a couple of states on-site, don’t you?
A. Only North Carolina at this time and that will be on Friday. However, we are beta testing some things. We’re going to be doing a “how to study” course. Basically, we don’t have a formal study course. And that’ll be on Friday. It’s free. It’ll be in the afternoon. No cost. It will be facilitated by Drew Morgan with the North Carolina contractors. So, again, that’s a beta test. We’ll see how it goes. We encourage anyone that is trying to obtain their license in any state, because it’s going to be very generic, to attend. Again, it’s free.
We’ll have more information on specific times and room number and things of that nature, because we’re getting all that settled right now. We’ll make sure to get that out.
Q. JUBILEE has made a name for itself as a family event. In fact, many drillers make it their family vacation, taking in some golf and maybe the beach while in town. Seeing kids at a trade show definitely sets JUBILEE apart. Why is the family aspect important?
A. Well, it’s always been that way. They did try in past years, prior to my involvement with Jubilee, to implement some other things, where there were times where there weren’t kids on the trade show floor — that it was all business for like the first day or something, and that may have worked a little bit back then. But these children need to be exposed to the industry. These are multi-generational businesses were talking about, so the more that they’re exposed, the more interest, hopefully, they will have. At least that they can take something away from it, you know. So many people have said … “I’ve been to the Jubilee since I was knee-high to a mushroom.” So those memories, those great experiences, all of that is very important and critical to the industry, and frankly, to the survival of the Jubilee.
Q. Let’s talk exhibitors. Can the exhibitors expect any changes this year?
A. Not a huge amount of changes. They’re very aware of the show floor layout and more spacing. I will say that some of our past exhibitors that have normally gotten what we call island pods — you know, they’ve had a huge presence on the show floor — have opted not to go that route this year. They’re trying to keep things more minimal, and understandably so as we gear and ramp back up — kind of see how things go and so forth. So, there are not a lot of huge changes.
In their kits, they have the option to purchase a clear vinyl drape, if you will, to separate themselves from the booth next to them. There’s lots of options, if they choose to do that, just to make everybody feel comfortable and confident in their safety and well-being. There are so many companies that have different protocols within their own company that they have to take to the trade show. We just want to make sure that we can accommodate everybody, that everybody feels confident and [yet] still has a wonderful show, interacts with folks and just has as much normalcy as possible.
The Full Interview
We interviewed Kim Barclay for episode 30 of our Drilling In-Site series. In addition to these questions, our talk covered what exhibitors can expect this year, how event organizers define success and other topics. See the full conversation at www.thedriller.com/insite, or listen to the podcast version at www.thedriller.com/insite-podcast. Episodes also in Apple’s Podcast store. Search Drilling In-Site and tap Subscribe.
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