London’s newest audio event, Festival of Sound, The Music and Audio Show, opened its doors to around 4,500 people who enjoyed the festival’s mix of high-quality audio and live music (figures supplied by Festival Of Sound). This represents a 25 per cent increase in numbers from the previous year’s Indulgence Show.

Taking place at the Novotel London West from 27-30 September 2018, the Festival of Sound transformed the concept of a traditional hifi show into a celebration of music – the common thread that binds all hi-fi brands and fans together – to appeal to both the existing hifi customer base and attract the new audience that the show organisers promised to bring to the event. Featuring a plethora of well-known names from the worlds of live music, production, broadcasting and audio manufacturing, Festival of Sound presented many compelling reasons for music lovers to visit the show.

Over 200 hi-fi brands were available for visitors to experience, across the three floors and three days of the show. Highlighting the significance of this new show for the UK audio industry, many companies chose to use Festival of Sound as the UK debut for their latest products. Included among the long list of new offerings were: PMC’s fenestria speakers, Audiolab’s 6000 series, Parasound’s Hint 6 amplifier, Vertere’s D-Groove record player, Revel’s PerformaBe Series loudspeakers, Chord Electronics’ Hugo M Scaler, KEF’s R Series and Yamaha’s MusicCast20 and 50 streaming speakers. Read the first part of our coverage here.

“It’s extremely gratifying to see how many of the big brands chose Festival of Sound to unveil their latest products,” commented Vernon Hamblin, show producer. “It’s clear that the industry values London as the place to unveil its products to a new, enthusiastic, music loving and high net worth audience.”

Live music played a large part in the attractions over the weekend, with no fewer than 10 concerts staged in the Festival of Sound Yamaha Live Music Arena, starting on Thursday with the Opening Night Gala Concert featuring BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Nick Bright, followed by UNKLE’s James Lavelle and the incredible cello playing of Philip Sheppard. The music on the first full day of the show started with Chris Difford (Squeeze) and Boo Hewerdine, followed by four up and coming artists from London’s Urban and Grime scene. Headlining on Friday night were the incomparable Art of Noise co-founders JJ Jeczalik and Gary Langan, who deconstructed and reconstructed familiar tracks, including Yes’ Owner of a Lonely Heart, live in front of the audience. Read the second part of our coverage here.

Saturday saw the Unsung Singers, a band made up of the UK’s top backing singers, performing hits they from the biggest names in music. The evening support slot went to Nashville’s Beth Nieslen Chapman, with the headline act Kokomo and guest artists, including Chris Difford and the original members of the Average White Band, bringing the night to a party style close.

On Sunday, an ensemble of four of the best session guitarists in the country traded licks and showed off the reason why they are in such demand. This was followed by a similar gathering of eight leading drummers, including Simple Minds’ Mel Gaynor. The musical entertainment drew to a close with a blistering performance of sublime jazz guitar playing courtesy of Antonio Forcione.

Music also played an important role around the rest of the show throughout the weekend. Buskers could be found at many locations entertaining the passing crowds, and a series of live seminars took place with some of the leading lights in the UK music industry. Popular talks included Whispering Bob Harris in conversation with Chris Difford; recording engineer Gary Langan talking about his work on Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody; extracts from the book ‘Evenings with Led Zeppelin’; Chris Kimsey, producer of 15 Rolling Stones albums, revealing the secrets behind Marillion’s Clutching at Straws album; Kenney Jones, drummer from The Small Faces and The Who, revealing extracts from his autobiography and Chris Phipps, producer of Channel 4’s iconic music show, The Tube, taking the audience behind the scenes of the many celebrity encounters he’s had. Audiophiles were catered for with seminar sessions from KEF, PMC, GIK Acoustics, Russ Andrews, Peter Aylett and Noel Keywood.

Get a Bird’s Eye View of the show here.

Commenting further on the first Festival of Sound, Vernon Hamblin says, “No one has ever combined a music festival with a hi-fi show before and some people said we were mad! But, the fact is music is the reason that hi-fi exists, which means the two should go hand in hand. We took the idea, made it work and the feedback from exhibitors, musicians and visitors has been exceptionally positive. We look forward to expanding the event for year two.”

Festival of Sound will return on 26 – 29 September 2019.

Find out more about this and other Hifi Shows and Hifi Events worldwide on our Hifi Diary Page


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