Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2010
was such an exciting, energizing event (as detailed in Audiogon's room-by-room coverage
) that it's tempting to relax a bit and prepare for winter hibernation. Football, basketball and NASCAR seem to have shorter off-seasons every year, and the same is true of the audiophile world: we're rapidly approaching the point where an obsessive, well-heeled audiophile could attend a major show every month of the year. What follows is an admittedly-incomplete list of next year's shows. A complete list of European and Asian shows alone would be longer than this whole piece!
Long-time show-followers know that the audio show year begins in January with the trade-only C.E.S.
in Las Vegas. Those same show-followers know that audio exhibitors are a tiny part of the circus that is CES, and those exhibits are sometimes difficult to find and reach in the top floors of the Venetian. A short hop across town at the Flamingo, T.H.E.
is open to any member of an audiophile society, and focuses only on high-end audio and home theater. While the number of audio exhibitors has dropped every recent year at CES, THE will add still more rooms and penthouse suites next year, and has announced a second show in California (about which, more below).
February doesn't appear to have a show to call its own, yet. Promoters, note that a Groundhog Day Audio Fest in Punxsutawney, PA might be a natural! Cold weather, snow, rodents and audio: what could be better?
March brings us the early-season cousin of September's National Audio Show in the UK, the grandiosely-named Audio World
, March 26-27 near Heathrow Airport. Better established and far more appealing (The city! The food! The women!!) is the 24th Salon Son & Image
(SSI) in Montreal, March 31st-April 3rd. Note that the first day is a press day, something more shows need. For a wide range of European and American exhibitors, mixed into a beautiful city with fabulous sights, sounds and yes, food--Montreal is IT.
April 14th-17th will bring the second edition of Axpona
to a new venue in Atlanta. Record-collecting magazine Goldmine
has joined as a show-sponsor, in addition to Stereophile. The new, big-city venue will likely draw more exhibitors and visitors than last year's show in Jacksonville, which was in itself deemed successful.
May brings us to two interesting small-scale shows in the US, and the biggest of them all in Europe. No date has been set yet for the 2011 Audio Karma Fest
; last year's event was held May 1st and 2nd, and we'd expect similar dates next year, around the time Michigan begins to thaw. The Lone Star Audio Fest
is slated for May 13th-15th in Dallas, and offers enthusiasts and small manufacturers a chance for very-low-buck exposure and fun.
Biggest of all is of course The High End
, commonly known as "the Munich show". Staggering in size and scope and run with typical Teutonic efficiency, The High End runs four full days, May 19th-22nd, with the first being a press day. Those of us overwhelmed by RMAF or THE/CES should proably stay home for this show, which features the size and feel of the CES "zoo", but is all about...well, The High End.
June brings us to the first California venue for THE
, June 3rd-5th in Newport Beach, near L.A. Enterprising promoter Richard Beers reports that the show is already completely sold out of exhibit rooms, and he is negotiating for more space! Given the history of THE and the close proximity to a number of manufacturers, this should be an excellent show.
July will bring the sophomore editions of two shows which did well enough the first time out that bigger venues may be called for. Dagogo's California Audio Show
was held last July near San Francisco. Constantine Soo reports that both the venue and dates are still being considered, but Audiogon readers will be the first to know when both are set. ...Okay, perhaps second, after Dagogo readers. Capital Audiofest
is definitely moving to a larger venue in Rockville, MD, north of Washington, DC. The show will be held July 15th-17th, and organizer Gary Gill promises bigger and better EVERYTHING!
August (generally miserably hot in most of America, anyway) is a bye month for shows, but September brings two major European shows. Dates for the 2011 Top Audio Video Show
in Milan have yet to be announced, but this year's show was held September 16th-19th. A staggering 20,000 visitors were reported, but method of calculation was unspecified.
The UK's National Audio Show
will be held September 24th-25th. Only two days? Really? The last few years have seen a divisive competition in major UK shows, with the National facing off against a new show in the National's old Heathrow venue. Neither show appears to be overwhelmingly successful, though both would likely dispute that.
Come October, we're back where we started: RMAF
, scheduled for October 14th-16th. RMAF began the resurgence of regional shows in the US, and we all owe Marjorie Baumert and crew a debt of gratitude. Only one thing would make the show better: Marjorie, a press day, please?
A few years ago, the idea of a dozen regional audio shows in the US alone would have been laughable, but we may hit that mark soon. Whether it's because of an economic downturn or in spite of it, audio shows have come on strong in America-- who cares what the reason why is? These are golden times for American audiophiles seeking fun and fellowship...though a little more "femaleship" would certainly be welcome.
As the new year approaches, we at Audiogon will apply our usual obsessive data-gathering skills to compilation of a truly comprehensive list of audio shows worldwide. We know this list is incomplete...but it's a good start!