Audio Expo North America (New York City)
The New York Axpona Show came together on very short notice. It was announced to the industry and press on the penultimate day of the Atlanta Axpona, which took place in mid-April. As I understand it, the Show's genesis was the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) thinking that it would be a good idea to add high-end audio consumer days to their annual CEWeek in New York. This is a "line show," where big electronic companies show their fall product line-ups to the press. Accordingly, CEA partnered with Axpona's Steve Davis to organize the high-end show, with marketing support being given by Stereophile and Home Theater magazines.
Two months is not much time to organize a large show and possible exhibitors would already have their promotional budgets fixed. So it was no surprise that there was only a limited number of exhibitors at the Show: 22 rooms (not including software vendors) representing 72 individual brands on three of the hotel's floors, plus a mezzanine.
The show took place at the Affinia Hotel, just across 7th Avenue from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, and, as you can see from my photo, the hotel was being refurbished. It seemed to this observer that the Show's three floors, which were rather dingy, were those that were yet to be refurbished.
Axpona NYC was open to the public 1pm8pm on Friday June 24 and 9am5pm Saturday June 25, one day less than the usual full weekend. As of this writing, I had not seen the official attendance, but I would estimate there were 500750 audiophiles present. This may not seem a lot, but with the limited number of exhibit rooms, it meant those rooms were full the entire show. The exhibitors I spoke to were therefore happy they had taken part, though some attendees made it clear to me that they were expecting more exhibitors and more "marquee names" among those exhibitors.
Will there be an Axpona NYC in 2012? That will depend both on whether the 2011 Show will be seen as sowing the seeds for future success and which of the plethora of regional Shows that are taking place this year will over-tax the resources of would-be exhibitors.