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Old 5th May 2014, 03:49 PM   #1
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Default The future of Lone Star Audio Fest (LSAF)

The Lone Star Audio Fest was this past weekend in Dallas. I think those that attended enjoyed themselves - I know I did. Unfortunately, it was not nearly as well attended as it has been in years past.

Several of us that were there discussed the future of the show. We are afraid that it will disappear from lack of interest - certainly I heard quite a few folks say that they likely won't bother next year, since the attendance was so small this year.

I for one would really hate to see LSAF disappear from lack of interest.

We agreed that we should open up a discussion about the future of LSAF. Since it is a larger community, we decided that diyAudio would be the best place to kick it off.

Some ideas were thrown around. I'll list them (well, the ones I remember) as a starting point for discussions:

1. Move the show to Austin

It seems that a large percentage of the attendees come up from Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Austin would be a more central location, and perhaps also a more interesting destination to spend the weekend.

2. Change the date to June, when school is out

This might allow more people with kids to attend. It may also make it harder to find a venue, though...

3. Add some structure to the show organization

One could argue some of the charm of LSAF has been it's informality - no signups, no fees, just book a room and show up. Unfortunately, some of us think that this may contribute to the dwindling attendance. I do wonder if a more formal registration process (so everybody can see who is coming and where they are) might be good. I think most would not be adverse to paying a small fee (like $10 or $20 at the most) just to facilitate the organization.

4. Do some promotion

LSAF has not been publicized much. I'm not talking about taking out expensive ads in audiophile magazines, but I think we could raise the attendance significantly if an effort were made to get the word out, far enough in advance that people could make plans. Another reason for asking for some registration fee would be that money could be spent on some publicity, like banner ads on diyAudio.

5. Clarify the focus - what is LSAF?

Again, to me this is part of the appeal of LSAF, but it always seems unclear if this is a high-end audio show, or a DIY audio show, or just a get-together for old friends to listen to music and share a drink. The reality is that it is, or has been, all of these. Should it remain so in the future? (I think yes, but the commercial high-end might find it difficult to justify the effort if significant attendance from the general population doesn't come).

OK, enough of my rambling... please share your thoughts, good, bad, or indifferent.

Pete
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Old 5th May 2014, 04:37 PM   #2
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Default lots of different possibilities

Pete,

Several of us want to grow the show. Since I am self-employed, I can put regular work into it. Judging by all the rooms that were either not rented out, or being used for something other than audio, we could split our work between us and concentrate on attracting specific groups. It's not like there wasn't enough room. Obviously, you want to attract more DIY people, which is good. I want to attract as diverse a group of people as possible.

My main idea I want to put forth is that we need to attract people on the fringe of audio. Maybe they buy records, but have one of those flimsy plastic POS record killers, or "my dad had a Dynaco", or whatever. There are millions of people in the general vicinity, and if we post the event on the many free announcement boards, people will show. I particularly want young people that are interested in "vinyls" and tubes.

I put up a page on my website last night and threw out my hijacked name for the show, plus ways I can help attract exhibitors and consumers.

Wayne is moving further away, to the NorthWest corner of Arkansas, so we might as well take the thing and grow it ourselves. We are local, and the ones that can do the most to advance things. The worst case is that there is more than one website promoting the same thing. Kind of like CES and THE Show, but in the same hotel. I don't think that will happen, but if I need to build a site, I will.

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Thanks,
Phillip
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Old 5th May 2014, 05:21 PM   #3
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I hope you all figure out how to get the interest back up. It would be a shame for this not to continue. Our local event is something I look forward to every year.

I have moved the thread over to the events area.
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Old 5th May 2014, 05:30 PM   #4
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Default A shame..

Yes, it would be a shame for it to die off. If just a few of us cooperate on it, it could be bigger, longer and louder. Thanks for moving it.
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Old 5th May 2014, 05:52 PM   #5
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One thing you could do to raise interest is to get a few well-known audio personalities to give a presentation or show their stuff.
At Burning Amp we normally have Nelson Pass, Siegfried Linkwitz and one year we had Scott Wurcer, another year we had Bruno Putzeys. Even spotted Tomlinson Holman one time.

You'll find that most people would be happy to come up and talk to the crowd.

jan
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Old 5th May 2014, 05:55 PM   #6
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I'll be involved in future events, just as I was in all the earlier ones. I just couldn't this year because I had too much going on.

Personally, I think Dallas is the best venue. I love Austin too, but it's too far south. Dallas is close enough to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri that we get that crowd as well as the Texas folks. Moving to Austin almost ensures that would no longer happen. I suppose somebody to create a Kansas City show to take up the slack, but I fear too many regional shows would dilute the playing field. So I think Dallas is the best bet.

As for promotion, we've had this debate ever since the beginning. We started off the show with a basic premise: To give the niche-market audiophile companies a place to show their wares that wasn't expensive. Most of the other audio shows cost several thousand dollars to attend. This one is just the cost of the room and transportation. The trade-off is that means everyone has to self-promote. It's a cooperative, sort of.

That means people have to do their own promotion though. What I see is a lot of people don't do that, but then complain about lack of promotion. I mean, it's a real complaint - not just some whiny thing so I can hear them and don't discount their problem. But it isn't realistic - If you want to promote yourself (whether at the show or in any other way), you either put in some cash for an advertising campaign or "sweat equity" and spread the word yourself through online posts, flyers and other word-of-mouth means. It doesn't just happen all by itself.

So I think what really needs to happen is the exhibitors need to take on more responsibility in their own turnout. I've seen great work done by guys like Stereo Clarity, Raven Audio and Oddwatt Audio. Those guys are out there doing the work to spread the word. They reap the benefits from it too. But the other guys probably shouldn't just sit idle and "hope for the best" if they want the best turnout. They should do their own ad campaigns in some way or another. That's my thinking, anyway. Keep the cost down, and lets the show stay "The Woodstock of Audio Shows," as it was originally intended.
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Old 5th May 2014, 05:57 PM   #7
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Default big shots

Jan,

How much did that cost? Anything like that has to be passed on to someone. I want this to be done more like a '60s commune than a typical high-end audio affair. With announcement boards, blogs, user groups, public radio and tv, and word of mouth, I think it can be done for almost nothing. On the other hand, if we attract hotshots that want to cover the show (reviewers/reporters) or show something really cool, their talent could be appropriated for nearly nothing.

Thanks,
Phillip
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Old 5th May 2014, 06:03 PM   #8
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Wayne,

Funny you should mention Woodstock because it popped back in my head a little while ago.

A lot of the guys attending the show don't know much about low-cost advertising. With Youtube, FB, proper SEO, blogs, user groups, announcement boards, etc.. it can get better marketing than people's traditional idea of advertising, like an ad in Stereophile. That being said, I think the big magazines would list the event on their sites.

I can generate a lot of web content between now and next year, hit every message board and user group, and you can handle what you've already been handling.
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Old 5th May 2014, 06:17 PM   #9
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I could be wrong, but I think Stereophile does their event listings without a charge. I don't think anyone has ever submitted LSAF to them.
A listing there might draw in more of the local audio crowd.

I think Dallas is a good, central location. I've hauled my personal system up there from Houston the last several years, in quite a few iterations.

One thing that might help would be name badges. Name and affiliation, etc.
I'd be happy to volunteer to print them up for '15.
There used to be a vinyl shop a few miles away from the show. Someone like that could easily make their money back on a room rental.

There were some good tech sessions this year. I'd like to see those continue, possibly offset time-wise from the high traffic times of the show
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Old 5th May 2014, 06:30 PM   #10
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First I would like to introduce myself, Russ and I were the Blowtorch room this year.

This was my 5th LSAF and for the last 2 years (2012/2013) I have brought up my personal gear just for the fun of it and to fill a room, not sure how the inner circle felt about it but for me it's always been about the camaraderie with fellow enthusiasts, make a purchase and learn a little in the process. This year was a little different as Russ and I have teamed up to support a dream.

I would hate this to fall to the wayside and am willing to help and participate to keep this alive even financially.

This last year I have questioned while shopping a few record stores as vinyl is on the up swing, what age market record sales has trended and all have answered the 15-25 which is good news as people are becoming aware for better recordings and will in the future create an up swing of a dying breed. Sure they don't have a lot money now but at least they are starting somewhere.

So I too feel a LSAF record day would be a plus. How do we do it? Who supplies? I don't have that answer but if a local record shop would be willing to set up shop on the lower level conference room, I would be willing to pay for the space and maybe others including myself help load and unload because as we all know vinyl is a bear to move.

Rega should also have an interest and with USA distribution coming straight out of Dallas it would make since try to have them at the show since they have TT's for most peoples budgets.

I would also add a cost effective turn table in my room for demo to support the action.

The guy who had the Revel/Mcintosh setup had the local Sony rep down to demo steamer which streams all the way to DSD which is trending still that people would like to see.

I would like to see DYI to be main focus but seems many are busy with regular life and so forth.

I don't have the exact answers but I want LSAF to continue. Please feel free to PM me for my personal information to keep in contact as needed.

Thanks again

Ron
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