Perhaps more than in most industries, the people of professional audio really know how to get the most out of a party.
This fact becomes particularly true at trade shows. No matter where on the planet you happen to find yourself, if you’re attending a pro audio flavoured exhibition then there’s a good chance you’ll either be sinking a drink, being sunk by a hangover or midway through capsizing beneath the horror of attempting both simultaneously.
I was reminded of this basic truth of our business – and how unlike other businesses it makes us – at the recent NAMM Show, where I had the honour of co-hosting the Pro Audio Pool Party. That evening, as I gazed across the heaving abundance of guests teetering by the poolside, I caught a glimpse of our three mermaids frolicking in the pool and it occurred to me that this probably doesn’t happen to people who make tractors.
So, how best to navigate the absurdities of an industry that once showed its appreciation for the editor of a highly respected industry news magazine by pelting him with takeaway pizza? Here are The Inside Story’s top five trade show tips.
- Pack more than one pair of trousers / skirt / moomoo / smock
It doesn’t matter what you choose to wear at your exhibition of choice, at some point your item of clothing will meet its sticky, boozy end, most likely as someone’s drink lands in your lap at a party. Pack enough to escape this tragedy or risk contending with morning meetings that smell of wine.
- Don’t drink prior to 4pm
This comes direct from the wisdom of James Ling, The Inside Story’s Director of Content. His reasoning is that by 4pm you can be relatively sure that you only have 12 hours of drinking left to go. He has frequently been proven incorrect.
- Breath-mints, breath-mints, breath-mints.
And Rennies. Don’t forget the Rennies.
- Don’t pretend you’re not hungover.
Everyone already knows. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve showered or how much perfume you’ve poured on the problem, you still smell of 4am disappointment and you’re visibly sweating. Own that hangover.
If you become embroiled in DiGiCo’s web of mischief, embrace the opportunity and accept that tomorrow will be a hard-won but painful write-off. I once attended a tremendously fun Powersoft party in a Frankfurt basement. It was a huge success but by the early hours of the morning, the stragglers were beginning to contemplate calling it a night. Then DiGiCo arrived. They stomped down the stairs and marched into the basement. They were wearing emoji masks. They immediately ordered espresso martinis. As if by magic, the music leapt in volume, the guests returned from their beds and the night went on. I’d love to tell you what happened next, but I don’t remember.