The Post-Show Blues

Photo: John Atkinson

On the morning of Monday, the 18th, just hours after the 2010 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest had come to an end, I was feeling the post-show blues, dissatisfied with the number of exhibitor rooms I had covered and convinced that I had done a poor job with the rooms I had covered. On the evening before the show opened, Jason Victor Serinus, John Atkinson, and I met for a beer and tried to figure out how the three of us would be able to cover the show’s nine floors, 180 rooms, and 400 exhibitors. We decided to divide the show evenly, each of us taking three floors.

It seemed like the best idea.

By the middle of Day 1, however, I knew that we were in trouble. It soon became clear that I would need more than the show’s three scheduled days to cover all the exhibits on just a single floor. It would be impossible to see everything on three floors. At different blurry moments throughout the course of that day, I ran into both John and Jason, and I could see in their eyes that they felt the same. I didn’t see John or Jason at all on Day 2 of the show. I assume that, like me, they were busy, elsewhere, somehow trying to slow down time.

By Day 3, almost every system sounded amazing, but almost everyone—reporters, exhibitors, show goers and staff—seemed pretty drained by the intense experience. The show closed at 4pm, but I kept listening until well after 5, until I really couldn’t listen, or talk, anymore.

On Monday morning, I sat there in the hotel’s caf, looking at my notes, trying to figure out how many days it’d take me to turn my scribbles into blog entries. I had covered 35 pages of my Moleskine notebook with memories about music and sound, hardly legible prices and model names, circles and arrows and stars. I figured it would take me until Thursday to complete my stories, but I was wrong again: John, Jason, and I would continue our show coverage right through Friday evening. At about 6pm on Friday, the 22nd, we posted our final entry, Jason wrapping it all up beautifully.

When I enter a room at a show like the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I hope to learn something important about the people in that room. If I can understand a little bit about those people and what they’re trying to express, I can better understand the hi-fi system on display and the music being played, and I can then attempt to say something meaningful about that system and music. Several questions need to be addressed: Who are you? What is your background? What do you listen for in music? Why does this system exist as it does? What are you trying to communicate? As always, the idea is to form a connection with another person. “What’s new here?” is only the most superficial of my concerns.

Now that a week has passed since the show’s final day, a week removed from my post-show blues, I have a much different perspective on our coverage. Our 2010 RMAF blog coverage spanned eight pages, with 151 total entries—28 from John, 62 from Jason, and 61 from me—evidence, I hope, of a strong and growing community. With the exception of the 2008 CES, no other show has garnered as much coverage. Of course, the success of our coverage cannot only be based on number of posts. We have to look at quality, as well, and judging by the responses we’ve received from show staff, exhibitors, and readers, we clearly achieved our goals of communicating the spirit of the show and connecting with people. I hope the 2011 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is even bigger, with even greater opportunities to strengthen old connections, make new connections, and discover amazing music and sound.

Larry Denham's picture

Hello Stephen, it was great fun meeting at the show and listening to the GEM RIM Drive Turntables ( at the show. 95% of the people that left our room went wow. We were very lucky to have the new ALLNIC PURITAS Cartridge and the unbelievable TALEA tone arms on our turntables. Truly amazing stuff and vinyl is reaching incredible heights, what a great world. I appreciate your genuine interest in the new design and spending the time in our room. It was an amazing show and yes it was busy, exciting and sounded better than ever before, thanks and keep up the great work,Larry Denham

Nick's picture

I said this in another posting, on some other page in Stereophile, but I was very impressed with the coverage you provided. I loved Jason's entries as well as your Stephen, and given the number of rooms you had to cover, (I am still reading your entries), I think you guys did a great job. Armed with this experience I expect you guys to do a great job covering the Mtl Audio show.

Lee Scoggins's picture

Stephen,I understand the feeling. I had so many friends from Atlanta and NYC that I socialized so much that I missed more rooms than usual. Three days is really not enough it seems. Still, it's always the best weekend of the year for me.LeeP.S. It was good to see you there.