AXPONA 2020 moves to overcrowded fall schedule

Big news today from JD Events, the organizers for the AXPONA show.


SCHAUMBURG, IL (September 6, 2018) – – AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) is pleased to announce its permanent home at the first-class Renaissance Schaumburg venue in the Chicago area, facilitating a transition to fall dates and accommodating a new dedicated “Trade & Press Day” beginning in 2020. Following the upcoming April 12-14, 2019 AXPONA, the next event will be held October 29-November 1, 2020.

“We’ve been listening to our customers and industry leaders for years and have been strongly advised to move AXPONA’s dates further away from the Munich High-End show in May and to add a separate day exclusively for trade professionals and the press,” says Liz Miller, VP and Event Director, AXPONA. “We were thrilled with the positive feedback we received regarding our new Schaumburg home in 2018. The first-class venue in the fall timeframe, coupled with a special day for trade professionals, will prove to be a huge win for the global audio industry and AXPONA for years to come.”

AXPONA’s new dates in 2020 will serve the entire high-end audio industry better than ever before by timing the fast-growing audio show perfectly for fourth quarter product launches, enticing more consumers to buy audio products for the holidays and to “gear up” for the indoor listening season. Also, alleviating busy spring travel schedules for industry executives will greatly increase the number of international buyers, distributors and press that can attend AXPONA every year.

The 2020 Trade & Press Day will open exclusively to dealers, distributors, manufacturers and press to get a head start on exploring AXPONA exhibits. Industry executives can use this day for business meetings and to experience the newest products on the market before the event opens to the public, Friday through Sunday. In addition, there will be an Opening Night Trade & Press Reception on Thursday, October 29 to kick off AXPONA on the right note with great food, refreshments and live music.

Save the Dates

April 12 – 14, 2019

October 29 – November 1, 2020

October 28 – 31, 2021

This is, in a word, baffling. Or is it?

On whole, I cannot imagine that this as an “unqualified good thing”. Yes, AXPONA is, arguably, the fastest-growing audio show in North America, and the last several of their shows have been well-run and well-attended. Their latest venue, the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, was selected to great expectation and fanfare, and the hotel is flashy and big, with plenty of room to grow. Want 400 demo rooms? No problem.

But the audio show schedule for the fall has been chock-a-block for years now. There’s The Rocky Mountain Audiofest, of course. That show has been the first weekend of October for 15 years. Capital Audiofest now occupies that first weekend in November, and has for the last year or two. There’s the new Toronto AV Show, taking over for the defunct TAVES, in late October. And there’s the occasional New York Audio Show happenning somewhere in that mix, too.

And now, we’re getting AXPONA.

I spoke with Joel Davis, AXPONA CEO, about the news. He confirmed that the calendar move was really about positioning. The “old” April dates put their show three weeks before the megashow High End Show in Munich, and as such, forced an untenable choice for international vendors interested in both shows. Now, with “new” dates at the end of October, there is no such dilemma.

Well, “no such dilemma” if you don’t consider the other shows already on the calendar as serious or viable options for those international vendors, but whatever. But given what could be viewed as “wild instability” (my words) in the audio show segment (the debacle of the audio show slugfest between the two LA shows being a case in point), waiting for all that to sort itself is unreasonable. AXPONA simply chose to land on dates they could secure, would distance themselves sufficiently from Munich, and “let the rest of the cookie crumble” where it may.

But will it work? Or will the move create more instability and confusion, or worse, divided consumer attention and vendor loyalties?

Davis waved off concerns about audience and vendor cannibalization. With two years of advance notice, there is “plenty of time for some of the smaller regional shows to rethink their strategy” and calendar options. As for attendance, AXPONA has plans to do more, be more, and offer more than the average show. More on that soon.

So, it seems that, like it or lump it, AXPONA is moving, figuratively and temporally. With their new dates, they’re positioning themselves to be the North American destination for high-end audio, and in the next 3-5 years, add “International” to their title. The question now seems: will they rename themselves AXPOI (Audio Expo North America –> Audio Expo International)? Or maybe AXPONTER? If so, I want credit.

But I will end with a final, personal note: this move will take AXPONA into direct competition with Hallowe’en, and that will make it very hard to go. For me, at least. My kids are younger. At some point, they’ll probably be too old to trick-or-treat, or too old to want me to go with them, but that isn’t quite yet. Will other younger people, or parents of younger people, feel the same? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Don’t forget to check out our past coverage of AXPONA!

About Scot Hull 1039 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.


  1. I was hoping to one day attend Axpona, but now that it’s in the fall, that’s probably going to stop me (at least after next year). We are college football fans and season ticket holders. That makes any fall show a likely schedule conflict.

  2. I agree with Scott’s thoughts here, especially with the conflict of Halloween. I know many will see that as trivial, but sorry… that night is still working for us at 63.
    A few other thoughts… yes the move to better position AXPONA with Munich in the hopes of making AXPONA an international show, THE show in the US, is a viable one, but that will require the end of high-end audio at CES and perhaps at CEDIA as well. At the moment AXPONA is nothing more than a glorified regional show, so it will need to break away from that look and feel to become Munich with its glitz and international flavor – what one experienced many, many years ago at CES.
    Without a doubt, the move to October will impact both RMAF and CAF. Nice to give a heads up to both shows as to their new dates in the hopes that either can move to say the Spring, but that might be out of their hands due to current contracts with hotels. No doubt AXPONA sees the two other shows as nothing more than regional shows, if not now, certainly with AXPONA now being in October – there is not enough vendors, attendees, and press to go around for all three shows. People will choose, and if AXPONA is able to pull off their plan, well where would you go? Except not every vendor and/or exhibitor will be able to cover the costs of AXPONA – am thinking that the costs to show will increase as AXPONA sees their value increase. So many will choose to show at the local/regional shows simply because it is cost effective and the ROI makes it work. So perhaps RMAF and CAF will perhaps evolve into smaller regional shows.
    And big shows make it impossible to see and/or cover everything. I prefer smaller and easier to cover shows – currently AXPONA is already too large to cover. Will an even much larger AXPONA turn off attendees and the press? Time will tell.

  3. Well I’ll lump it. CAF is a great venue and not in crime ridden Chicago. BTW Rocky Mountain is still best for int’l vendors.IMO.

  4. Beautiful facility yes. Free parking, Great! Ideal for Exhibitors… not so fast. 400 – 14’x17′ rooms rooms does not serve every exhibitors needs and, while fine for some exhibitors, are frankly too small and are limiting for many other exhibitors – especially when headboard and credenzas cannot be moved. Comparing Axpona to the Munich show isn’t possible. The Munich show has rooms that are much more suited to exhibitors. Unless a facility is found that can mimic those environments, forget comparing IMO.

    Regarding the other shows. Their comment “plenty of time for some of the smaller regional shows to rethink their strategy” and calendar options.” Sounds a bit arrogant to me.

    Lastly, Chicago in November is not enticing to me.

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