April 28th, 2017
AXPONA 2017 is in the books and the expo sold 6723 tickets—up 13% from 2016!—and welcomed 4726 unique visitors over three days—up from 4092 in 2016!—she was so together that she could still do her work with calm. Brava!
Every industry person I spoke with at show's end considered their time and money well-spent. Some commented that Friday was busier than usual, and Saturday packed. Sunday certainly seemed slow. But when you consider that attendees were spread over a final count of 140 active exhibit rooms, a sprawling marketplace, an overflowing EarGear Expo, seminars, the spacious lobby, and eating areas, "slow" must be understood in context.
As someone who has covered shows for well over a decade, I've often written that it's a miracle that anyone can achieve good sound in a hotel room. After all, most people only had one afternoon and evening for set-up at AXPONA 2017, and everyone except people on the lower level (who had no hotel guests above and around them) was under a 9pm sound curfew. At show's end, those who had brought previously unplayed equipment with them were still wondering what it would sound like in another 100, 200, or 400 hours.
Nonetheless, I heard a lot of good sound, and some great sound. With some of the potentially best exhibits not even covered due to their lack of premieres, any "Best of Show" assessment would be irresponsible. But a careful reading of blogs from me and my colleague, Jana Dagdagan, will enable you to spot the systems we favored.
A few luscious facts about AXPONA 2017. 56% of attendees came from Illinois, and 46% from around the country. International guests hailed from Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, and Taiwan. 88% of exhibiting companies were from the US, and the other 12% from countries that included the UK, Japan, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Denmark and Taiwan.
In terms of ticket buyers, 1% were under age 18, 3% 18-25, and 8% 26-34. Absent from these numbers are young members of families where either Mom or Dad bought tickets for everyone, or where one young person bought tickets for their friends and hopefully got paid back. Nonetheless, at least 12% of visitors 34 and under is not a bad sign. Although figures are not available, women were certainly in evidence.
With this show, AXPONA bids adieu to the Westin O'Hare that has served it so well. (I will especially miss the fabulous concierge and hotel desk people, and the quick ride from O'Hare.) Next year brings a new venue, the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, which is a longer distance away from the airport.
Read more here