Agencies including Fresh, W&O Events, BCD M&I and Oxford International told C&IT that work commitments took priority.
Oxford International managing director John Walker said it was the first Summer Eventia he had missed. "Companies are looking at all costs," he said. "It is the same as we are seeing from clients; it is about justification and ROI."
Despite a lack of some of the top agencies, the annual conference attracted around 230 delegates, of which 70 were buyers, confirmed Eventia chief executive Izania Downie.
"We held our numbers, which is positive considering people had to travel further to get there, and there is an industry trend of event numbers being 20% - 30% down," she said.
Adding Value managing director, events Tina Morris, who was on the Summer Eventia committee for the past two years, said: "I stepped down as I didn't feel I could make an impact on content; there are so many people involved in the decision-making now and no clear planning. Agencies will only be attracted to these types of events by compelling content, and if Eventia doesn't deliver on this, it will struggle to attract suppliers."
Summer Eventia was held for the first time in a dedicated conference centre, and Downie added: "We were very lucky the SECC wanted to showcase the venue, despite the fact our numbers were only about 10% of what it could take."
230: Number of delegates at Summer Eventia 2010
70: Number of buyers
40%: Top 30 agencies in attendance (C&IT's State of the Industry)