1st London Synth & Pedal Expo

You can see pictures of the 2023 London Synth & Pedal Expo here (synths) and here (pedals). Attendance was around 1,200 in one day, but could have been more if we had a bigger venue, since we had long lines throughout the day.

Here’s an in-depth article by Stefan at Guitar Pedal X, who says “It was a superb event – really well attended, and paves the way for an even bigger follow-up.”

Feedback Recap (with pros and cons!)

Every single vendor of the first London Synth & Pedal Expo said it was an extremely well-attended event and almost all of them said they had a great time and sold gear, although things got a little too crowded and stuffy, in particular in the synth room (but that’s a good problem to have, we are already looking at a two-day event for next year, in a bigger venue).

We had two complaints about placement in the pedal room, from companies placed towards the end of it, but they still said they had plenty of interactions with visitors. Most companies liked the no-frills pop-up format, the friendly atmosphere, and the younger-than-usual demographic. Several vendors stressed how important it is to show their products in person to musicians, and appreciated the headphone-only format.

The long lines outside the door frustrated some, but that’s what happens with well-promoted, free events. We may charge a small ticket next year to reduce the lines (and be able to afford the insane London rents!!!)

Vendor Feedback Excerpts

Overall, an incredible event. Well organised and well attended by a wide selection of musicians. It gave us a fantastic opportunity to meet our customers face-to-face and showcase our products in the heart of London.” – Grace (KORG)

“Overall a really good, well-attended event. A nice mix of exhibitors from small builders to the big players helped give a real variety to the show. Our stand was constantly busy, and it was great to meet so many friendly, engaged musicians, plus the headphones only demo rigs mean the noise level is sensible and you can actually discus the needs of the players and the nuances of the gear, something that’s often lost at bigger shows. We’ll be back next year.” – Chris (Origin Effects)

I was very satisfied, a little busier than we expected, we did not have a single down moment during the whole event. Nothing beats getting hands-on and hearing the gear in person, you can only garner so much for a YT video. We had one of the best look and functioning stands at the event with a strong representation for all of our brands, but we could have done with more space.” – Tom Lewis (KMR Audio)

It was a successful event for us […] the show and our stand were very busy all day. Another big positive was the quality of the visitors.” – Luke (Novation/Sequential)

Very happy indeed. I felt it was really well organised and there was a superb mix of smaller pedal builders to large distributors. It was great just to turn up, find my table and get set up. The ability for musicians to have hands-on experience with the pedals themselves is absolutely invaluable. Many people said how grateful they were to have the opportunity to have a fiddle and a bit of fun.  The show was really well put together and organised. The organisers were super friendly. The mix of exhibitors was excellent.” – Doug (Chase Bliss)

Congrats on a successful event! There was a constant flow of visitors to all the displays, a bit overwhelming at its peak points. The common space benefited most companies, especially the smaller ones. The intimacy between displays allowed for plenty of visits to our table and gave us a chance to interact with the people that were interested in our gear.” – Jelina (Dreadbox)

“While we were predominantly demoing our ranges of pedals with guitars, it was nice to see so many asking to plug in all sorts of other instruments with pickups to see how pedals can be used to inspire creativity. From “silent” trumpets, thumb pianos to pocket mini synths we saw it all. It was a shame that the synth element was in a totally different room, as it felt a little bit like two different shows at times. However, we very much enjoyed being able to connect and reconnect with so many. There is undoubtedly an appetite for this type of event in London, the number of people who visited the show is a clear indication that a longer event (at a larger and less cramped venue) is a must in an effort to maximise the customers’ and exhibitors’ experiences… but that is a positive problem.” – Bruce (Audio Distribution Group)

“We were very happy! It was busy throughout the full day as well as constant. So much so that Nico and myself did not have a chance to eat lunch, which we both brought with us! The headphone-monitored event is a great concept.” – Mark (BOSS)

It was amazing!!! Thanks so much for organising a great event! Face-to-face interaction is still by far the best. Plus you test out how people use your gear and get feedback on every aspect.” – David (Rainger FX)

“Well done, I’m so glad the event was such a great success. I think everyone really enjoyed it and the overall experience was great.” – Crispin (Regent Sounds)

I really enjoyed the event! Hard work talking to a constant stream of people, but overall a good atmosphere. A large number of people tried out my module. I had a constant stream, and most of the time we had people waiting to take their turn. Quite a mix of people too, some new to synths as well as synth nerds, which was good. – Adam (Venus Instruments)

I was very happy with this event. The room was packed after about an hour after the doors opened. Earlier arrivals seemed to be the kind of crowd that turn up to guitar shows in the UK but after lunchtime there was a younger crowd who we don’t usually see at the shows; that was a great opportunity to expand into a younger market.” – Jack (Rotosound Strings)

“A great result for a first ‘pedal only’ show. Nice to see so many customers interested in pedals! The venue was full all day, at some points people were waiting to try a pedalboard. We will be there next year! Will probably take a bigger stand.” – Adam (Westside/Dunlop)

We were 100% happy with this show, the traffic was extreme, with ongoing interaction. Real life interaction is always better than demos. Instant feedback and genuine emotions.” – Girts (Erica Synths)

“Overall I am very happy with the experience. There was a constant flow of people visiting our booth after the doors opened, until the end of the event. London has a vibrant music scene. One of the strengths of the show surely is the city it took place in.” – Niels (Face/Walrus Audio/ Beetronics)

I was really pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm for the event. It was interesting combining the guitar crowd too as a lot of them had no prior knowledge of synthesis, especially modular, but seemed really intrigued by it all and keen to have a play. It was the most full-on synth meet I’ve exhibited at so far, it was just a constant rotation of new people coming to see the stall from open to close. Making it headphone only did help keep a decent atmosphere within the room” – Andrew (Blicken Synths)

“Count us in for next year.” Didzis (Gamechanger Audio)

“Overall we were pretty happy. The traffic was consistently high with a friendly atmosphere, it was well organised and promoted. I think people got a lot more out of playing, touching the instrument and can get answers to specific questions as they are getting a feel for the instruments.” – Paul (KMR Audio)

It was a pleasure to be a part of it, it had a good community vibe. We had a great time and a lot of positive interactions with people. A very large number of people checked out the red panda gear which was ultimately what brought us to the show, but we also had a chance to promote the shop, which was great!” – Tom (Wunjo Guitars)

“Congratulations on organising a very well-attended and successful event! I think overall it was a huge success. Overcrowding & the co-ordination of the presentations are the only two issues that can be easily improved.” – Alex (Novation)

We had a lot of fun! Such a good place and event. We value trying the pedals with the customers and advise them when they play. It’s the best way to make them discover all the features of our pedals. I think we’ll have to book a larger space next time!” – Denis (Collision Devices)

Very happy with my experience, this was my first guitar/pedal show and it has made me want to do more in the future. I sold more pedals than expected. I did not anticipate being quite so busy, it was one customer after another which i loved. I thought initially being a builder of slightly more left-field devices I would be quieter than other stalls but people were very open-minded.” – Patrick (Intensive Care Audio)

“I enjoyed the event a lot. I met a lot of enthusiastic and interested people and it was a lot of fun getting back into the intensity of that environment and interacting with people. I think the event went really well for DryBell and if it was in a bigger venue next year and we had the possibility of a more open position to display our pedals that would be a genuine benefit to us. The day seemed to pass so quickly and the queue was intense from what I was told, thank you for coming to get my friends from the street with me. Lastly, I think a two-day event would work even better.” – Tom (DryBell)” – Tom (DryBell)

Very good attendance; engaged crowd. Higher than expected knowledge of Eurorack. Excellent location in London’s East End, good promotion, clear communication to exhibitors. Lounge chairs greatly appreciated!” – Joran (Joranalogue)

Great event, we’ll be doing it next year 100%! – Ross (Two-notes)

Very satisfied. Very well organised. Nice venue. Very well visited. Some of the positives for us were the direct interaction with the community, feedback on the product and the possibility to explain certain things directly.” – Maximilian (Studio Boost)

“Overall, I was happy. There was a nice vibe, and everyone seemed very happy with the experience. I don’t think I would’ve had the space to interact with any more people than I did. The opportunity to interact with people and answer their individual questions is very valuable.” – Jake (PRS Guitars)

“I was pretty happy with the experience, it was very busy. I enjoyed the day, meeting people, they were trying my pedals constantly, which was good.” – Phil (Bleak District Electric)