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Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Show Report  -- PAF 2022 Event Expo

 

The Inaugural Pacific Audio Fest - Seattle 2022
Part One: Off To An AMAZING Start....
Show Report By Greg Weaver

 

The Inaugural Pacific Audio Fest - Seattle 2022 Part One: Off To An AMAZING Start.... PAF 2022 Show Report By Greg Weaver

 

  I'll be the first to admit that I was looking forward to this new show, the first of its kind ever to be held in the Pacific Northwest. Originally scheduled for July 30 - Aug 1, 2021, then sensibly rescheduled to 2022 given the Covid-19 realities, as the end of July drew nearer, I found myself welling with enthusiasm and anticipation. My respect and fondness for both showrunners, Lou Hinkley of Daedalus Audio, and Gary Gill, owner and organizer of the annual Capital Audiofest, held in Rockville, MD, each November, combined with the fact that I've never been to this region of our nation, conspired to suggest that I would have a great time at this event and that it would be an honor and privilege to attend the launch of a successful new consumer-friendly audio show to add to our annual industry calendar.

 

 

I flew out of South Bend International Airport just after lunch on Thursday, July 27th, and enjoyed a nice lingering lunch during my layover at O'Hare in Chicago. I boarded my flight out of the Windy City, and my 737/900 touched down at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport at about 6:15 PM. Though I had checked the regional weather forecast for the Seattle area before departing home, as I left the terminal, I'll freely admit that I was not eager to face the unseasonably high 96 temperature, viciously intensified by its correspondingly high 70% humidity.

 

 

As I made my way through this immensely uncomfortable and almost syrupy thick climate to the shuttle pickup area, after what seemed like a particularly long time, some forty minutes, eventually found a Hilton Shuttle. Never having been here before, I was more than pleasantly surprised to find the trip took just minutes. In fact, I barely had time to settle into my seat and get comfortable before we arrived at our destination. The hosting hotel, now a Doubletree by Hilton, had been originally constructed as a native-American Thunderbird Hotel property in the 1960s. The sprawling complex was built on the south shore of the spring-fed Bow Lake Reservoir, just one-half a mile south of where the airport's Arrival Drive merges onto the Pacific Highway South.

 

 

And So, It Commences...
In the minutes it took me to check in, the cavalcade of so many colleagues and friends had already commenced. While checking in, I ran into the Show Director, Lou Hinkley (photo'ed above), Fred Ainsley, of Lampizat0r North America hanging out with David Solomon (photo'ed below), Vice President of Business Development and their Chief Hi-Res Music Evangelist at Qobuz. Yeah, we were getting off to a great start.

 

 

Once I dropped my bags in my room and had freshened up a bit, I made my way up to the private club Maxi's on the fourteenth floor. As late as I was in getting in, I still wanted to attend the Enjoy the Music.com sponsored Show Opening Hospitality event, with hors d'oeuvres and drinks for the vendors. I arrived just before this event was scheduled to break up and, though the crowd had dwindled, managed to get a sample of the local brewery's wares, and ran into many more friends, including Peter Mackay of Magico, Kevin and Darlene Hayes of VAC, Anton Dotson, of NFS (more on that later!), and a special appearance by Marjorie Baumert, the showrunner of the now defunct, but long-running and much-loved Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Interestingly enough, she was in attendance to lend a hand to Lou and Gary as they navigated the uncharted waters of this inaugural audio show.

 

 

While I clearly love the experience of getting to hear and play with all the new and amazing products one encounters at these audio shows, it is the camaraderie, the opportunity to visit with and reconnect with all my industry colleagues and friends, folks that I only get to see face-to-face at such events, that is the real appeal and draw for me to attend any Audio Show these days.

But by late afternoon Sunday, when it was all said and done, and the 2022 inaugural Pacific Audiofest was in the books, as they say, it was clear that, even with its first-time hiccups, this show was an unquestionable success. Yes, the unseasonable heat had pressed the hotel AC to have some issues in some sections, and there was nothing that could have been done about that. There were some navigational concerns, as some of my colleagues and other attendees would occasionally approach me with a glimmer in their eyes and a tinge of enthusiasm in their voices, as they exclaimed, "Oh, I just found some more rooms," but there were ten times as many success stories.

In the win column, this event was of a much more manageable size, making it considerably more likely to cover more comprehensively over its three-day life. The mood and attitudes were almost ubiquitously extremely upbeat, and the disposition, feel, and vibe of this latest new show was much akin to that of both the sorely missed Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and the burgeoning Capital Audiofest. In fact, I was not alone in my assessment that, in some respect, especially given the presence of Marjorie, and her near omnipresence, meeting, greeting, and helping everyone she spoke with, it was almost as if the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest baton was being officially passed to Lou and Gary, as if signaling a tacit endorsement of this new and highly promising show.

 

 

 

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