In November 2007, Nick Farmer will become the first European President of the TEA (formerly the Themed Entertainment Association), a post to which he was unanimously elected. Farmer has 30 years experience of working for theme parks, amusement parks, aquariums, zoos, science centres and other leisure destinations. He advises clients on park, story and brand development and new attraction planning in Europe and Scandinavia. Blooloop talked to him about his 30 year career in the themed entertainment industry and ambitions for his presidency.
Early Career Farmer started his career in marketing with Palitoy, makers of Action Man, Tiny Tears dolls and Star Wars toys. He then formed his own production display company, Farmer Studios, in 1976 which rapidly expanded to offer full design, production and installation services. 4 years ago, having become increasingly frustrated that the growth of the company meant that his time was spent on management, administration and cash flow rather than design and creativity, Farmer disbanded the production company and established Farmer Attraction Development.
By reorganising and developing a team of freelancers which can be gathered together as needed for projects, Farmer has created a more efficient business model with a lower fixed cost base. This flexibility allows the company to weather the seasonality of the industry, as well as reducing project costs. He is now free to concentrate on attraction concept development, production and consultancy.
Farmers core business involves drawing on his experience in the industry to create and develop attractions. Most of his business is in Europe and Scandinavia and reflects the current state of the European market, with few new parks opening and most work revolving around existing parks by either reworking existing rides or enhancing new standard rides. He particularly enjoys the challenge of working with established venues to develop attractions which will change the direction and the publics perception of the park.
Farmer worked on seven new rides and several other attractions for the 2007 season.
Recent projects include:
Grona Lund in Stockholm. Farmer developed the name, graphic identity and station design for Kvasten, their new suspended coaster. Kvasten is playing a major park in repositioning Grona Lund within the Swedish leisure market.
Bewilderwood in Norfolk. Farmer provided consultancy to the 50 acre family curious treehouse adventure which opened to such acclaim in May 2007. His contribution was to enhance the original concept and to provide a layer of storytelling engagement on top of the basic attraction to deliver a much richer experience and a highly marketable attraction
Earth Explorer in Ostend. Farmer developed a concept using a standard drop ride to create an educational experience which takes children on a flight around the solar system. In this case Farmer produced a custom video show to integrate with the basic ride, so children have fun at the same time as leaning about space.