You may have heard that there’s a new Hi-Fi expo heading to London soon called The Indulgence Show. But it promises to be more than just another hotel taken over by high-end audio.
I have had the great opportunity of asking Vernon Hamblin a few questions about how The Indulgence Show will be a different experience to all the other shows I attend.
- I for one travel around the country to visit Hi-Fi shows, what would you say is the biggest difference between those and Indulgence?
We are blessed with a vibrant hi-fi industry in the UK which includes a good number of smaller regional shows, some organised by dealers, some by enthusiast groups. This is great news for us all as it gets the latest hi-fi equipment in front of more people. However, the visitors tend to be enthusiasts themselves and so, while it feeds their desire to see and experience new products, it doesn’t do a huge amount to attract new consumers into the industry. With The Indulgence Show we have two overriding aims, firstly to attract a much larger cross section of manufacturers under one roof than is possible at a regional show and secondly to bring a new audience to our manufacturers.
- Were these differences your main driver to create Indulgence or was it more about having a show in London?
Again there are two real reasons why we’ve created the show. It’s been around eight years since the last major show in London, which in our view is ridiculous for an industry like ours that sells luxury goods, given that the nation’s Capital has the largest concentration of people and the highest levels of disposable income in the country. For more or less a decade the talk at industry events has been of the desire to see a large-scale show that is free from fiscal, political or media agendas, in London again. So we have listened and done the logical thing, which is to expand the concept that worked so well with the first two headroom™ shows and turn it into a full-scale audio show.
Our second reason also aims to answer the perennial question that is put forward by manufacturers and dealers alike, namely, “What do we have to do to get new customers?” The Indulgence Show is designed to do just that. By combining three sections into one show: headroom™ (which focuses on the very popular consumer pass-time of listening to music on the move), Pure Pleasure (which brings together non-audio indulgent goods) with Audio London (pure hi-fi), we expect to bring a new group of people to the hi-fi companies and introduce them to just how good their music can sound. For many of them it will probably be their first experience of ‘proper’ hi-fi.
- I am guessing that anyone that has visited a Hi-Fi or headroom show will know what to expect from the Audio London and headroom areas, or will there be any surprises?
Visitors to headroom™ at Indulgence will not be surprised by what they see, just the scale of it. headroom™ has reached its capacity at Metropolis, which has served us well for two years, and we had record numbers of visitors at the last show. Many other manufacturers wanted to exhibit but couldn’t as we were full. Our capacity at the Novotel is considerably bigger and so there won’t be any issues with having to say we’re full up. And just for the record, the Metropolis Show is set to continue as well, as everyone agrees it’s a great event at a great venue.
Audio London will differ from most hi-fi shows in that we have a substantial number of rooms that are considerably bigger than the usual hotel bedroom, so manufacturers will be able to do much more in terms of putting on an effective show. We’ll have the bedrooms as well, as they suit some companies perfectly, but the overall scale of the event will be bigger. Obviously we can’t second-guess what the manufacturers are going to display at this stage, but we believe there are going to be a number of UK firsts that will excite the visitors.
- Pure Pleasure is a neat addition, where did the idea for this come from?
It came about purely (excuse the pun) because we need to expose new people to hi-fi and just putting on a standard hi-fi show wouldn’t achieve that. People who like hi-fi and are prepared to spend their disposable income on it are likely also to be into items like cars, bikes, fine wines, deli-chocolates, watches and other fineries. So why not bring these things to the same location and let people indulge their passions across multiple areas? Conversely, the people who are attracted to attend by the Pure Pleasure exhibitors, because they happen to appreciate the finer things in life, are exactly the right people to be exposing to quality home entertainment.
- How much floor space is Indulgence taking? I’ve heard rumours of cars and leisure craft.
The Novotel London West is one of the best equipped and modern conference and exhibition centres in London. Its floor space includes vast open areas suitable for exhibiting cars, bikes and the like, plus shell schemes and free-standing booths. In addition, there is a huge multi-purpose open area that’s big enough to take thousands of people and then there are two floors of syndicate rooms of varying sizes.
Add to that the hotel bedrooms that are directly above the conference centre area, and all the atriums and foyer areas within the conference zone, and that adds up to a considerable amount of space. We have booked all of it for the show, so will there be cars and the like on display? You’ll have to wait and see, but we’ve certainly got the space to do that and to include many other attractions.
- Is this show purely for those with vast sums of spending money?
No, not at all. Anyone can experience the joy of better quality music, whatever their budget may be. Of course hi-fi can be stratospherically expensive and we’re delighted that there are customers our there who want to spend ‘new-house’ levels of money on their systems, but the beauty of hi-fi is that a very modest outlay – no more than the cost of a high street brand-name audio system that’s decidedly low-fi – can give people so much more pleasure, if only they knew about its existence. We want new people to discover how much better it can sound, whether they are spending £250 or £250,000.
- Are you able to name some brands that have already confirmed for each of the areas?
We opened up the show to bookings just a couple of days ago and within 20 minutes of starting to contact people our first confirmed exhibitors were on board. I don’t want to steal their thunder by announcing just yet who they are, but we will start to release names over the next few weeks. Needless to say, before the official announcement of the event we were talking to some serious players and have got verbal confirmation of their intentions.
- At the moment, I realise that the show is still a way off, do you know if any of the exhibitors are planning launches to coincide with The Indulgence Show?
You’re right, it’s some time off, but I’m sure the next seven months will fly past! Given that it’s the first major audio event in London for so long, I’d be very surprised if there weren’t a few new product launches timed to coincide with it. Of course as soon as we are able and are given permission by the exhibitors, we’ll announce any special highlights that will be at the show.
- Are you able to say how much tickets will be yet? Will there be day tickets as well as ones to cover the duration of the show?
In keeping with our desire to make the show inclusive and not an elitist event, we’ve decided to keep the ticket prices as low as possible. For advance purchase, single day tickets are going to cost £10, with two-day passes £15 and three-day tickets for £20. On the door, the prices will be £15, £20 and £25 respectively. Our ticketing service will be available via the show website very soon.
- I notice that the website indulgenceshow.com is now live; I’ve had fun dragging the wires around. When can we expect more details to appear?
Yes, it’s a great design – very addictive! The site is being built as we speak and will be populated with much more information very soon. It will be a constantly evolving entity, with new information and materials added all the time as we get confirmation of exhibitors and attractions.
- Thanks again for your time
So Gadgety faithful, are you intrigued, interested and/or planning to go to The Indulgence Show?
Let me know below or on the GN Facebook page what you want to see there.