April 2013 In This
Doin' The Show Shuffle
Show are great for attendees, yet how many can the
industry support? Article
By Steven R. Rochlin
As we enter
the busy United States show season, with Munich sneaking its way in early May,
have already been hearing grumblings from the industry insiders. Even in this
challenging economy we have never had so many audiophile events here in the USA.
Of course shows are great fun and bring in a 'new' audience. As an example,
the recent Chicago AXPONA event brought high-end audio back to a city that has
not seen a show in many years. Of course many events hold their expo at the same
location year after year. On a side note, am doing my best to keep Enjoy
the Music.com non-political and thus we either became official media
partners of all four major USA shows or none. Naturally we earned the former,
avoided the later and you'll see exciting live daily coverage each day from
Remember earlier when I said there were many
events within the USA? Well, we must not forget the Lone Star Audio Fest and
Capitol Audiofest plus of course Constantine Soo's exciting Dagogo San
Francisco show. Adding to this we have many very
active audiophile/audio groups who have their own swap meets and such. Perhaps
now you can see where things are getting quite busy here in the good ol' U. S.
of A. Of course I wish the industry could handle 20 events a year all around the
country, yet at what point do things get a bit redundant, or perhaps
Years ago while covering approximately 8 shows a
year I found that as time went by there were fewer and fewer things to actually report
on. I mean, if you saw it at CES, and then Munich a few months later,
who really gives a crap if said product was making its 'big Italy debut' at
Milan's Top Audio show in September? It is interesting that October's RMAF
event there are many new products launched, so perhaps that is the new
release date for many products other than CES?
On the plus side, was just yesterday
discussing with another industry professional was how these shows are helping
local (to the show) retail, and this is a great thing! Another added benefit for
attendees is the opportunity to buy that special piece of gear they want at a
show discount. The exhibitor does not really want to schlep the piece back to
the factory and you get a great deal knowing you have an authentic piece of gear
fully backed by the manufacturer. Win – win for attendees.
Of course all the costs associated for an event
to the exhibitor can be offset in various ways, yet in the end make no mistake
as these events can be very costly! So this begs the question; How many shows can a
manufacturer handle? What if a show was in Canada one week and the USA the next?
Getting high-end audio equipment across the border can be challenging as many of
us within the industry have been at an event where a piece of gear was not there
due to being caught up in customs. With so many different companies producing
their own show, at some point there needs to be an organized timeline so one
does not directly interfere with another. Another option, which I hear is right
now being considered, is to have two shows at the same time yet in different
locations… by two competing companies. Yup, you read that right. As for how
this all will turn out, am hoping for the very best yet am not sure the ultimate
Added April 2, 2013 It seems that only
a few days after publishing the above article we have Roy Bird, Honorary Chairman of The Chester Group, chime in and say:
Dates For 2014 An Important Announcement
'Yes' this very
subject is becoming very controversial, but nevertheless there is a saying
that if shows did not exist they would soon be invented! So setting dates for
shows is now the most testing of exercises.
It's not just
trying to find the right venue, in the right place, but also whether they want
to accommodate shows in the first place. Then there are the amount of
major shows worldwide, the various seasons, creating sufficient gaps between
each one, whether they are trade only or consumer and 'yes' whether in
reality we have enough shows. 'BUT' one overriding fact remains that wherever
we are in the world we rarely 'if ever' get complaints from visitors that
there are too many!
Some months back
the Chester Group, mindful of the amount of Shows in the US, made contact with
Richard at 'THE' show group, Michel of Salon Son & Image and Steve Davies
of Axpona. All organisers of fairly large and significant consumer shows
in the USA, at least two of which are well established and of fixed location.
It was our objective that we had at least one month between any of our shows
for 2014. We
had already taken the precaution of securing two options in April for 2014:
11 - 13 April & 25 -27 April. Richard, Michel and ourselves
favoured the latter and this is what has now been optioned for 2014.
communicate with Axpona several times but they were unable to confirm their
plans, as it was suggested that they had other major announcements to make of
their own. We tried, and always will try to work with other Organisers and
this will remain the case. However this is their prerogative so we had to get
on with the job, as is usual, of planning for 2014 ahead of this year's show.
We have found it
vital that our Exhibitors know of our plans well ahead.
We work on the
basis that if a show has confirmed that it's staying in the same location
& Hotel then it is as an established event, and speaking for ourselves we
will remain at the The Palace for the foreseeable future.
Having said that we have two other
very significant announcements:
Later this year, we will be launching a new series of shows that whilst
dealing with High Performance Audio will be smaller, backed by completely new
and major Media ( not Audio ) will reach brand new markets, and a launch
is planned for November. These events will be very exclusive and not interfere
with existing shows, on the contrary in our opinion they will at the very
least be complimentary.
given the debates that are going in with regards to dates we are
re-establishing our steering committees, which were unique to our company when
we launched back in 2001. They will be made up of a selection of
Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers. We hope to formulate a meeting
during our show this year in New York and we will be open to all views and
aspirations. It is our view that this is essential at this time, as there must
be more dialogue with the industry.
, The Chester Group
Added April 3, 2013 Today many of us received the following from Steve
Davis of AXPONA...
Just a Quick Note To Let Everyone Know
AXPONA Chicago Is Now Set For April 23-27, 2014
You will receive in your mail on Friday morning, the 5th of April, layout of the hotel and the room maps for the 2014 AXPONA. We have many returning exhibitors and priority selection of Exhibit Space will begin at this time. No billing will take place until August 15th 2013 but it will be important to pick your space(s) now as they will not last long.
We expect almost everyone that was with us this year to return and we also have a long waiting list of new vendors who signed up at this year's event for participation in 2014.
We have added a new component to the show on Wednesday night, the 23rd April 2014, for Dealers and Manufacturers. This addition to AXPONA will again set a standard we know others will want to follow. We urge you to sign up early when we distribute the information on this new concept.
We look forward to everyone selecting their exhibit space for 2014 you are in for a real treat with this show.
Steve Davis and Everyone from AXPONA
& Thanks to everyone for the continued support. We will do everything in our power to make 2014 even better than 2013.
Added April 8, 2013 As the Montreal event is also around the same time as
the other shows... Here is a response from Sarah Tremblay,
Chairwoman of Montreal HiFi Show.
As shows have benefits on the markets, each major city in USA and Canada should have their own, but unfortunately, we all know it is not possible as manufacturers and reviewers
can't be on the road every week-end. So what should be the compromises, is it to do a show one year in New York the other year in Chicago, same in Canada, one year in Montreal the other year in Toronto? Is it to cancel some of the shows as the market
can't support more than six or seven shows in North America? I would like to suggest that the answer comes from the ones that are the most concerns, the exhibitors and the reviewers, only them know what is good for them, if a majority vote for the schedule as it is, fine there are nothing to fix. But if the majority ask for a lighter show schedule, then they will have to vote for which shows they want to participate to and then each show promoter will have to be creative if they want to stay in business.
That's all I am asking, tell me what you want, I am at your service, not the other way around.
Montreal HiFi Show
Roy, Steve and now Sarah for chiming in. As always, in the end what really
matters is that you...
Enjoy the Music (Day after day the show must go
on... with time on your side),