Headroom had made its place on my calendar for the last couple of years but it has invited its mates round for a long weekend in Hammersmith. This is, of course, the inaugural Indulgence Show.
London has been missing a full-on Hi-Fi show for a number of years. Chiswick-based Headroom catered for the portable aspect of head-fi but a room-filling audio expo was not to be found. Until now.
If you have missed any of my pieces about The Indulgence Show then let me quickly get you up to speed.
What is Indulgence?
Indulgence is three shows in one. You have the Headroom zone which focuses on headphones and portable music players, Audio London on the upper floors covered high-end Hi-Fi.
On the ground floor is the Pure Pleasure zone. This patch was to offer a range of luxury goods including Tesla cars, the Can-Am Trike as well as fine wines and food. Unfortunately, this wasn’t exactly brimming with stalls. But, first year and all that.
The Indulgence Show review
This was my first visit to the Novotel Hammersmith and it was remarkably easy to find and a mere hop, skip and a jump from Hammersmith Underground station – depending on which exit you used.
The venue is nice and airy and the show organisers had done a great job with the signposting. This meant no confused and lost souls hovering in the corridors. Even though the show was laid out across four huge floors, thanks to the signage and the show guide, I could always find what I was looking for.
My first visit was to the pop up Marquee Club event on the Friday night.
Classic rock tunes that made the Marquee *the* destination were faithfully restored with all the energy of the originals.
The Indulgence Show was billed as a lifestyle event and I started at the bottom, on the ground floor, with the cunning plan to work my way upwards.
Here were opportunities to taste wine, check out fine food and, I believe the plan was, to also include other fancy goods such as premium luggage and the like.
As I have already mentioned, the luxury goods were a little thin on the ground but it did not feel like a floor of empty stalls.
I was greeted by the fabulous looking BRP Can-Am Trike. Sat next to it was a Tesla, so far so good.
Here was the first taste of what the upper floors had in store.
Big hitters such as Rega, Naim, Meridian all had a presence here.
A huge pair of headphones made no bones about where you are now. This is the area handed over to portable audio and head-fi.
Sonoma are debuting their electrostatic headphones which come bundled with their unique energiser. It’s unique as it will not work with other electrostatic cans, such as Stax. It is also designed to be an all-in-one solution as it contains an amp and DAC so only requires a source. I hope to get some more time with it soon, it sounded pretty darned good to me at the show though.
This floor was also host to the Marquee Club pop-up and Yamaha Music.
The third floor was home to CAD (Computer Audio Design), Arcam, Michell, and Musical Fidelity. The latter were showing off their new NuVista and Encore products.Also here were GIK Acoustics and Connected Distribution, amongst others.
The Indulgence Show 2016 conclusion
This was a bold project, to host such a large show right from the get go. For me, the organisers certainly pulled it off.
The stands and rooms were excellently presented and the holders I spoke to all said that load in and set up was well managed.
Foot traffic seemed low to me but I think that this was due to a couple of factors. The main one, I feel, is that there was much more space than any other UK Hi-Fi/Lifestyle show I’ve visited before. This is a good thing.
The other is that this is just the first show. Just as Headroom grew in to popular destination, I am sure that Indulgence will be bigger and better next year.
I, for one, am looking forward to it and hope to spend more time there next year.
More photos can be found over on our sister site, Hifi Pig.