Great way to spend father's day this year. We travelled for an hour by Sunbeam Lotus, spent 4 hours together at the audio show then had a very agreeable lunch at The Crown in Goostrey. Another blast in the 'beam and we finished the day off back home with the original Pink Panther film and salt n black pepper popcorn. Best part was the kids agreeing to go along, but then really enjoying themseves too.
I think this is the best commercial show I've been to. The venue has many virtues. Its a great hotel with decent sized rooms, solid floors and walls, polite staff, very sensible tea and biscuit prices, spacious corridors, easy access from the M6 and, selfishly, only an hour from home.
This was the first run for this show. It was predominantly a dealer based show, with a few small manufacturers. This meant a good mix of products - dealers are free to choose combinations of systems they think work well whereas manufacturer based rooms are forced to use a one make system where possible and that sometimes means compromise. I think the lack of the major brands such as Cyrus, Marantz, Arcam, B&W etc., meant a more relaxed atmosphere too. I don't have anything against those brands but they already have the Bristol Show. Cranage would do well to court more dealers and the lesser visible brands, like it did today. Talk around the rooms included the prospects of a re-run next year, maybe as a 2 day event. Didn't manage to get to all the rooms today, but that was more down to it being Father's day and not wanting to take up the whole day but spend some time doing other stuff as a family too.
Best room for me was ELAC / Electrocompaniet - a combination of good sounds and almost realistic prices. The rest of the top 4 in no particular order were Systemdek / McIntosh / ART, Brian and Trevor's, and Purite North. In 5th place will be Audio Note. Most fun room goes to Soundkaos.
Must mention how well behaved our kids were, and great to get some engagement with them, particularly in 3 of the rooms with HiFi Network (ELAC / Electrocompaniet) selecting the right kind of music to get them hooked, without being asked.
So a good day - lets hope this show is going to be a permanent fixture on the calendar. Oh, and it was free entry too!