Capital Audiofest, Wrap-Up
On Saturday evening, right after Capital Audiofest closed for the day, everyone seemed to converge upon the hotel bar at the same time: myself, Gary Gill (Capital Audiofest), Mat Weisfeld (VPI Industries), Clarence Wheat (Hifilogic), Dave Cope (Audio Note UK), Robin Wyatt (Robyatt Audio), Myles Astor (Positive Feedback Online), Brian Zolner (Bricasti Designs), Jonathan Horwich (International Phonographic), and numberless others. It was the first time since the Heathrow Airport show of 1996 that I'd witnessed such a convivial mobcompetition be damned.
While I was speaking with Gary Gill, an exhibitor approached and asked if would be too early to sign up for Capital Audiofest 2014; hearing this, another exhibitor expressed the very same thought.
At the midway point of the show's first day, I was inwardly concerned about what appeared to be moderately sparse attendance. The numbers picked up considerably by Day Twoyet even so, the majority of exhibitors with whom I spoke were delighted with the turnout. More than one expressed the feeling that, although the hotel corridors weren't jammed with bodies, the quality of the attendees, in terms of their interest in the gear being played, was markedly higher than usual. (And for all that, according to show manager Gill, this year's attendance surpassed that of CAF 2012.)
As for myself, in spite of eating one crabcake too many and getting far too little sleep, I had a thoroughly wonderful time. In addition to all the above, I enjoyed rare opportunities to lust over vintage gear, including . . .
A selection of original AR loudspeakers in the Audio by Van Alstine room.
An especially nice Thorens TD 124 in a custom-made mahogany plinth by Robert Lighton Audio.
Robin Wyatt's Gray turntable and tonearm (which I covet almost as much as his REL Precedent tuner).
Perhaps best of all, I added a few more titles to my record collection, thanks in part to Chris Hite of Clarion Records pictured in the heading photo (who wrote to me last evening, saying his business was up 50% compared to last year's show).
Capital Audiofest 2013 was, according to any sane standard, a success: Wild horses could not keep me away from CAF 2014.