“Business Upfront, Party in the Back” … I’m only half-joking. More seriously, there is a huge social element to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, the largest celebration of all things audio. There are lots of reasons for the fun ….
- A good collection of friends across consumer, industry, and press. And they all share similar interests – audio and drinking. Honestly it’s hard to find audio geeks locally beyond your immediate friends. Now imagine a place where there are hundreds of audiophiles mixing among the latest hardware and software releases in a hotel essentially 100% audio geek.
- The show ending at 6-7pm every day frees up the crowd. Whether one is exhibiting doing endless demo cycles or shuffling among the halls as a hurried reviewer or interested consumer, it is a real workout for eight hours to attend. One needs to release some steam as 6pm rolls around. There are group dinners sponsored by exhibitors or just affinity groups from an audio website or audio club.
- A lot of business gets done over dinners and drinks. This is in many ways a small industry. If you know two people, you soon know 20. If you know 20, you soon know 200. There are a lot of great small businesses in high end audio and everyone know everyone else. In fact, many people started at one business and move on to a competitor. A lot of the network started at a select number of stereo stores and moved up from there. That network makes partnerships and other deals easier to do.
- A heavy contingent of younger folk arriving for the CanJam portable audio event. I’m not ashamed to admit that some of these folks party harder than I do. But I hang in there as long as I can. The Zu Audio party starts early and ends late and the vinyl selection is fantastic. So is the music.
- Lax (enlightened?) marijuana laws in Colorado. As Chevy Chase once said, “You do drugs Danny? Then what’s the problem?” I’m not really into this (as far as you know), so I can’t comment further.
All this makes it really difficult to do show coverage. I could spend all day talking to people like Jonathan Scull, Anthony Kershaw, Steve Guttenberg and many others. Too many distractions and the work is not a layup even though it is fun. Hitting almost every room in your “territory” takes time and it takes time to zero in on what the real “news” is for audiophiles. My charge from Scot was to cover the fourth and fifth floors of the atrium area. After two days, I was beat.
But it was one of the best weekends I have had. High-end audio is a blast. The people are colorful, the technology moves fast, and the music is invigorating. I’m glad to be at Part-Time Audiophile and I look forward to sharing my impressions of some great sounding rooms at RMAF 2015.