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!