The Biggest Music Conventions Around The World for Synthesizer Enthusiasts
Post date:Fri, 03/22/2019 - 16:23
Just like any other hobby, one of the great things about being a synthesizer enthusiasts is being able to share your passion with other like minded people. Thanks to the Internet, it is easier than ever for people to form communities around their hobbies and get advice or have interesting discussions. However, sometimes it is also good to step away from your computer and interact with people in real-life. There are a number of local meet-ups for synth enthusiasts to interact, but thanks to the popularity of these instruments, there are also quite a few conventions around the world. In addition, if you are fortunate enough that your passion is also your job, then there are a couple of synth related trade shows that you can attend too. If you are curious about what conventions and trade shows cater to synth enthusiasts, and where they are held, just check out some of the big names below.
Official Website: https://www.knobcon.com/
Knobcon is a synthesizer convention that is held just outside of Chicago and it is currently in it's eight year. The selling point of Knobcon is that it is a fully immersive experience that is held over three days and everything takes place under one roof. There is usually a large amount of equipment available and attendees can also interact directly with the designers of most of these products. In addition to just wandering around and taking everything in that the vendors have to offer, Knobcon also features workshops and performances to enjoy. It's not just the latest and greatest synth related gadgets that are featured at Knobcon, but also plenty of vintage pieces, So, if you want an expo that is purely about synths, then Knobcon should be at the top of your list.
The National Association of Music Merchants Show
Official Website: https://www.namm.org/
NAMM stands for the National Association of Music Merchants, so while they are not synthesizer specific, the do bring together thousands of registrants from hundreds of countries and regions for the show that they hold every January. While the show typically features plenty of famous musicians who attend to show off their signature models and equipment, it is a trade-only event. This means that you are going to have to be part of the industry if you want to experience what it has to offer. The NAMM Show is held at the Anaheim Convention Center every year and has a reputation for being one of the largest music product trade shows on the planet.
Official Website: https://www.moogfest.com/
Moog is a name that will be very familiar to synthesizer enthusiasts and Moogfest, the annual event that celebrates this legendary innovator, has been drawing audiences for years. These days the people behind Moogfest describes it as the synthesis of music, art and technology where artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors and futurists can exchange ideas. The event started out in New York City before moving to Asheville for a few years and it currently takes place in Durham. The combination of tech conference and music festival makes it a unique experience that continues to draw crowds. It is also one of the few events where you can listen to electronic music legends, attend lectures and take part in hands-on courses all on the same day.
If your passion is software synthesizers, then you should already be familiar with Ableton Live, the digital audio workstation that is favored by many Windows and macOS users. What makes Live so unique amongst DAWs, is that it is often used for live performances. The popularity of their software has prompted Ableton to start their own annual summit for music makers, in the form of Loop. Past events featured not only performances, but also talks and hands-on workshops that are aimed at helping computer-based musicians to hone their craft. In 2017, the event was held in Berlin, while last year saw it heading to Lost Angels, so it remains to be seen what the destination for 2019 will be.
Synthplex is a brand new event that aims to cover "all things synthesizer" as they say. If you want to buy new gear, you can check out their trade show exhibits, if you want to learn from your heroes, then you can take part in their master question and answer sessions with industry legends. In addition, Synthplex promises synthesizer history lectures, DIY synth building workshops, live synth concerts, educational and technology seminars and even a pop-up synth museum where you will be able to touch some very rare synths. As if all of this wasn't enough already, Synthplex will also host a gala dinner banquet with live performances and a key note speaker. The event will take place over four days in Burbank, at the Mariott Convention Center and there are various ticket options available, depending on how much of it you want to experience.
Official Website: https://www.superbooth.com/en/landing.html
Superbooth was the first trade fair for electronical musical instruments to take place in Berlin when it began back in 2016. It got off to a great start with more than a hundred exhibitors showing off their synthesizers, modular systems and other gear. It also featured more than 80 concerts and presentation artists over the course of three days. Since then the event has continued to grow and tickets for trade visitors as well as regular visitors are already on sale for Superbooth 19 that takes place this year. A lot of big names in the synthesizer industry take part in this event, which makes it a great one to attend if you are in Germany.
Official Website: https://musik.messefrankfurt.com/frankfurt/en.html
Superbooth is not the only event in Germany for synth enthusiasts as there is also Musikmesse, which is Europe's biggest trade fair for the music industry. It runs every year at the same time as Prolight + Sound entertainment technology show and features an abundance of concerts, live performances, instrument workshops and lectures. The focus of this event is on more than just synthesizers, but they definitely have a presence at the show.
These are just some of the more well-known events that feature synthesizers and there are a few more as well, such as Synthfest France (https://www.synthfestfrance.com/) that is taking place this year. Let us know in the comments below what other synth events you have attended in the past or look forward to experiencing in the future.