Open letter to Joel Davis of JD Events

Open letter to Joel Davis of JD Events [producer of AXPONA]

[Editor’s Note: The following letter was distributed April 21st to people in the industry.]

Dear Joel,

Hi-Fi Shows have long been an important and familiar part of the audio landscape, as important to manufacturers and magazines as they are to consumers. But the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic has clearly altered that landscape out of all recognition.
Large segments of the US (and World) population are enduring limitations on travel and social interaction. Governments and city administrations are banning audiences from sports and cultural events, with many major festivals and conferences that were scheduled between now and the end of the year already choosing to cancel. Public willingness to travel or attend live events is dramatically reduced, and the health risks of doing so are well documented.

Unfortunately the conclusion is as inescapable as it is serious. With no widespread testing or vaccine in sight, there will be no quick return to normal. According to economics experts the economy is nowhere near re-opening, and we are all looking down the gun barrel of a recession.

The postponement of Axpona from April to August this year partially recognizes this reality, but we do not believe it truly reflects the gravity of the situation faced by your exhibitors. Any suggestion that the industry want and broadly support the idea of a show in August is also wide of the mark.

Far from supporting your exhibitors, clinging to the prospect of holding Axpona in August is actually making their situation worse. Facing the almost total loss of at least three-months’ revenue, the resultant drain on available cash and the additional costs of re-starting supply and production, many companies are facing a critical cash-flow crisis.

Even once business re-starts, consumer confidence is likely to be cripplingly low, directly impacting revenue for the rest of the year. The risks of social interaction and communication, as well as the substantial additional costs, make attending any show in an effort to stimulate sales a very real threat to both exhibitor and business health.

Visitors (and please remember that many audiophiles are in the most vulnerable demographic groups) will have similar health concerns, especially as regards the risks of travelling to and attending such an event, with the small rooms and crowded nature. Press will be similarly inhibited, and the prospects of a positive visitor experience, decent levels of attendance, or coverage are clearly minimal.

The whole world is facing a health and economic crisis – and the audio industry is no different. Supporting the industry that Axpona serves means helping hard-pressed companies by cancelling the show and releasing the money they paid in advance for an event that will not now happen.

Under the circumstances we feel that it is no longer reasonable or responsible for JD Events to try to use the promise of a postponed Axpona show to withhold exhibitors’ (in many cases desperately needed) funds, and we urge you to follow the lead of other events and announce the cancellation of the show immediately.

Even if you do not cancel, the fact that you simply cannot deliver the show as originally sold (in terms of attendance or coverage) means that all exhibitors should be offered the option of withdrawal and an immediate refund.
We are confident that this would be as widely welcomed as it would be appreciated, a genuinely positive step towards preserving your exhibitors and the possibility of next year’s event.

Yours Sincerely,

Jolanta Conti, Basis Audio

Elliot Goldman, Bending Wave USA

Florian Cossy, CH Precision

Irv Gross, Constellation Audio

Don Better, Don Better Audio

Scot Markwell, Elite AV Distribution

Sandy Gross, GoldenEar

Alvin Lloyd, Grand Prix Audio

Jeff Rowland, Jeff Rowland Group

Peter Mackay, Magico

EveAnna Manley, Manley Labs

Leland Leard, Music Hall

Paul McGowan, PS Audio

Jean-Pascal Panchard, Stenheim

Charlie Schnyder, Stereo Haven

Bill Low, The Quest Group (dba AudioQuest and GoldenEar)

Todd Sutherland, Vivid Audio

Luke Manley and Bea Lam, VTL

Lily Luo, XLO International

David Komatz, Dick Diamond and Kerry St James, YG Acoustics

[Editor’s note: The list below includes signatures collected since this article was first published.]

Jim White, Aesthetix

Daniele Coen and Paola Arduini, Alsyvox Audio

Peter Wellikoff, Andover Audio

Cristian Anelli, Aqua Hi Fi

Ralph Karsten, Atmasphere

Mark Cohen, Audeze

Frank Van Alstine, Audio by Van Alstine

Dave Gordon, Audio Research

Ron Hoering, Auranas

John-Paul Lizars, Aurender USA

Conrad Mas, Avid

Zoltan Bay, Bays Audio

Bob Visintainer, Rhapsody Audio

Kurt Denke, Blue Jeans Cable

Jay Rein, BlueBird Music

Rob Robinson, Channel D

Lou Hinkley, Daedalus

Andy Regan, Dan Clark Audio

Vinh Vu, Ginko Audio

David Kasab, David Michael Audio

Greg Hovsepian, DH Labs

Sebastian Schmidt, Goya Acoustics

Paul Manos, High Fidelity Services

Amelia Santos, Nuno Vitorino, Innuos

George Vatchnadze, Kyomi Audio

Brian Tucker, Lateral Audio Stands

Adam Johnson, Brian Kane, Madisound

Jeremy Bryan, MBL North America

Mike McGary, McGary Audio

Merrill Wettasinghe, Merrill Audio

Dan Wright, Modwright

Drew Baird, Moon Audio

Carl and Marilyn Marchisotto, Nola

Dave Cope, Old Forge Marketing

Philip O’Hanlon, On A Higher Note

Ulrik Madsen, Organic Audio

Andreas Koch, Playback Designs

Steven Norber, PranaFidelity

Ze’ev Schlik, Pure Audio Project

John Stratton, Pure Fidelity

Dave Thomson, Raven Audio

Roger Gibboni, Rogers High Fidelity

Chris Seymour, Seymor Screen Excellence

Caelin Gabriel, Grant Samuelsen, Shunyata Research

Donna Bodinet, Christan Griego, Sota Turntables

Mark Gurvey, Source Systems

Clayton Shaw, Spacial Audio Lab

Paul Wakeen, Stillpoints

Tony Crocker, Swan Song Audio

Dan Eakins, SweetVinyl

Stephen Daniels, The Sound Organization

Francisco Jileta, Eliseo Vega, Troy Audio

Kevin Deal, Upscale Audio

Richard Vandersteen, Vandersteen Audio

Njoo Hoo Kong, Venture BVBA

Inès Adler, VOXATIV

Mat Weisfeld, VPI Industries

Daniel Weiss, Weiss Engineering Ltd

Jeff Wells, Wells Audio


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Open letter to Joel Davis of JD Events

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