Greetings from Southwest Audio Fest 2024 in Dallas

An audio show is born: the inaugural Southwest Audio Fest (SWAF), taking place on March 15-17 in Dallas, Texas, at the Hilton Anatole hotel.

By audio show standards, it is small, with only about 50 rooms. It is possible to demo all the systems at the show over the course of its three-day run. The show is organized by the same team that puts on the Capital Audiofest and Pacific Audio Fest, meaning there’s experience and a proven track record behind this new show.

I attended Capital Audiofest in November 2023. There’s a lot in common in terms of the exhibitor list and the general layout, which includes pop-up record and accessory shopping in a huge, open atrium lobby. The main difference between Dallas and D.C. is that the hotel here is larger, even though the show itself is smaller.

Scouting the layout prior to the show opening, I noticed a welcome letter to attendees. It announced next year's event, at the same location, March 21st–23rd. It promises more rooms and more lifestyle and home theater products. The letter also mentions a focus on bringing in families and friends of audiophiles, not just dedicated hard-core enthusiasts. Certainly this Texas-sized Hilton Hotel has room to grow if it succeeds.

I spoke briefly with Lou Hinkley, one of the show organizers. He confirmed that while this year's show focuses on high-end stereo, the plan for expansion includes the incorporation of lifestyle and AV categories, although to what extent, Lou would not say.

Check back for room reports with photos and videos, coming soon from SWAF 2024.

Anton's picture

Looking forward to some vicarious thrills.

funambulistic's picture

Thrilled to have an audio fest (including the much smaller Lone Star in June) not 18 miles from my front door. Spent the day there Friday and am going back to catch the rest of the rooms (and revisit some of my standouts) today!

supamark's picture

and only found out about this about a week ago.

Two things for organizers - DO NOT hold it at the same time as South by Southwest, which is also happening this weekend here in Austin. SXSW is much bigger and more important to your target audience and will always take vistors from your fest. Hotel rooms with stereos or literally over a hundred actual live bands - it's a very easy choice. Austin vs. Dallas is also a very easy choice fyi (Dallas is just awful, and Austin is "The Live Music Capitol of the World").

2nd - Advertise it! Like, hardly anyone knew about it. It wasn't even mentioned here that I saw. I hope their mistakes don't make this a one and done, I'd like to go next year. Especially if they make the smart move and have it in Austin not during SXSW or ACL fest. We have a lot of music festivals here. And tech industry dollars.

James Romeyn's picture

Wow, this is the first I heard that this is SxSW week. Yes, I agree these 2 events should positively not overlap.

In a similar vein, while standing in the line to register at the hotel (not SWAF,) someone mentioned this is Spring Break, another event with which SWAF should not overlap.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Last year, the Pacific Audiofest coincided with Seattle Pride. Attendance wasn't great, IMHO, and there were fewer local dealers than in the inaugural year. This year, it's in September.

funambulistic's picture

... if your pissy attitude and snobbery are indicative of the people of Austin as a whole, then no thank you; keeping the venue in Dallas is just fine by me.

supamark's picture

and you guys in South Oklahoma can kiss my grits.

funambulistic's picture

That explains a lot. I really didn't think it was an Austin thing...

mtrot's picture

Yes, the Anatole was a simply fantastic venue for this event. All the staff and exhibitors were so welcoming and, being a new show, the exhibitors were able to speak with most anyone wanting to talk to them.

I will say, the notable absence of well known manufacturers of mid range gear was unfortunate. At AXPONA and the now defunct Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, gear from manufacturers such as Revel, Paradigm, Polk, Dali, Monitor Audio, Mark Levinson, B & W, and Sonus Faber were on demonstration. Perhaps, next year, some of that somewhat more affordable gear will be there.'s picture

I had a great time at the SWAF 2024. I hope it grows even bigger next year. The Anatole was a great venue.