AV trade shows have always been a tradeoff. Sure, they can be great for business and business connections, as well as getting a sneak peek at the latest and greatest gear. But ask anyone who regularly attends these shows, and they'll tell you they can also be expensive to attend and draining for everyone involved.
Although his primary motivation was the social-distancing restrictions spawned by COVID-19, popular YouTube reviewer Joe "Joe N Tell" Mariano has come up with a first-of-its-kind tradeshow that looks like it could retain the benefits of tradeshows while eliminating the major drawbacks.
Mariano, whose YouTube channel has 50.3k subscribers, has created the HiFi Summit, which is essentially a virtual tradeshow. Like other tradeshows, it will run several days (June 26-30), feature dozens of our favorite AV manufacturers, and has scheduled so many seminars (including one by Audiophile Review contributor Mark Waldrep) you'll need gallons of coffee to sit through them all.
Mariano, who calls this "more of a venture to help this industry survive than a money-making one at the moment," said he hopes this helps the A/V industry, which relies on events like Audio Expo North America (AXPONA), which had to be cancelled earlier this year due to COVID-19. He has invited companies who didn't get refunds following the cancellation of AXPONA to exhibit at HiFi Summit for free.
A/V fans who want to attend can get an all-access, five-day pass for just $34. That will enable you to access brand pages, product pages, brand discounts, and a chat room "lobby." You'll also be in the running for product giveaways.
The press and those in the A/V business who are not exhibiting can get a $55 pass that provides two additional days to preview the show and its products, schedule meetings with exhibitors, and access consumer feedback about the show and the products being shown. You can buy tickets here.
Mariano said, "This is the first online trade show and worldwide conference the HiFi industry has ever seen. We believe this is the future of HiFi trade shows. If there's doubt, consider how crazy online shopping seemed 20 years ago.
"We've created a trade show that companies deserve and an expo that consumers will love. Get ready for an entertaining, engaging, and educational time."