I think one of the major factors in this relates to this thread
, and the uphill struggle over the last few years in just trying to sort out a Fly-in down Hinckley, as used to occur reguarly. There are just so few trick flyers in the UK full stop and of those, I guess, only a small percentage want/feel confident/have time to compete nationally. For most, I think, just getting a few hours at a weekend on their local field is a luxury.
From speaking to a few people at Filey about the STACK comp at Souter lighthouse, I got the impression that the 'ballet' aspect freaked them out. They were just used to freestyle flying, as opposed to 'disciplined' flying. Also, a few looked at me with a clueless face when I mentioned it was coming up. They had just presumed that STACK was all about precision, and were not aware that it was looking for trick flyers to join in. One comment, which I do get, was along the lines of 'If I travelled for a few hours I would be a bit cheesed off if I was the only one competing. It would devalue the accolade of doing well in it'. Totally chicken and egg but I see where they were coming from.
We have had similar problems with trying to attract people to Filey, so you are not on your own. We were pleased this year that we had 16 people attend, however only 8 of those were flyers. The rest were family members. But we take pleasure that people feel comfortable enough to bring their families along and take part in the wider fun.
You were asking for a few suggestions so this is my two'penneth worth.
1. Make the events longer. Rather than a 2-day competition attach a day either side of it as general flying days., i.e more of a fly weekend that happens to include STACK. This might
attract a few more people who are reluctant to compete but want to see what it is about. If they don't compete they can still enjoy a kite weekend and who knows, they may realise there is nothing to be scared of.
2. Have more rounds. Forgive me if I am wrong on this, don't understand the format or it has been tried before but I will explain this thinking from my point of view.
Let's say hypothetically there are 2 STACK weekends in the year, one down South, the other up North. Now say I can't make one for reasons such as other commitments/too far to travel, then I would then have less desire to go and attend the other round, purely because I am going to score not as well as those who have attended both rounds. So I don't go.
But what if the rounds were set up to be spread over 5 locations, North, South, East, West, & Central? A flyer could choose their rounds and the best scores would be taken from 2 or 3 of these rounds. (thereby someone who attends all 5 has more opportunity to try to better their previous score, but not discriminate against those who can't attend all 5)...... Now I may choose to not attend the South one due to distance but totally up for a central one. I attend. Now I would be left with North, East, and West. Because I have already attended one I have now invested into it and so would pick 2 from the remainders. Now lets say on one of those rounds the weather is dreadful and I decide at the last minute to not attend., or maybe I do go but mess up terribly. I still have one more opportunity to make another round. If I don't then I would just have to accept that I would be posting scores from 2 rounds.
see that this is not only more organisational and logistical work and could result in smaller numbers at each round location, but overall might increase the total number of participants.
3. Attach the STACK onto existing events, (be they formal festivals, or informal fly-ins) where you know there is already a willing audience. I think most people, if they were there on the day, would go 'Oh sod it, lets have a go then'.
4. Ask for a Sticky at the top of sites/forums etc just constantly reminding people of the dates. They can't say they didn't know about it then.
5. Run a tricks party format rather than try to bring the ballet aspect into the tricking. From the people I spoke to they would find this in more familiar territory.
I, for one, will be competing next year. I really want this to work. I am pretty sure there are 2 others in the NMKG who will come along with me, even if I get them there under threat
. You know who you are and I will be badgering you all year now to commit.
I hope some of the above might be useful to you.