After multiple years of either being locked in a room for several days with seemingly endless meetings, or stuck managing a demo stage, we finally broke away this year and just spent our time milling around the BPM show. Ray, Mark and I all felt liberated and positive, and had a chance to absorb the atmosphere much better. We even managed to do our annual drunken live review, despite all the exhibitors refusing to launch any hilariously trivial products on the day, though we did bag something rather cool right at the end.
This year, BPM returned with a tweaked format, choosing to separate the Pro Audio and DJ sections of the show. It meant moving to a different part of the Birmingham NEC, which looked much more like a sort of airport lounge, with amenities around the edges and a nice mezzanine where us VIPs could get away from the great unwashed (j/k, but it was a nice place to get away to chat or work). Most importantly, we had daylight on the main floor, which is something of a first.
So, out of everything we saw, what worked to catch our eye? Were there any stand out… stands? Did anyone have any original ideas to go with the refreshed feel of the event? Here’s my list of Winners of BPM.
Mixars, for their impressive cast
They might be the new kids on the block, but Mixars made their presence known at this year’s BPM show with a large stand, and a steady stream of familiar faces in the booth showing off the Duo scratch mixer. We managed to catch Mr. Switch, Mandrayq, to name a few.
Pioneer DJ production room
Tired of their usual looming black branding, Pioneer DJ defined one word: COURAGE (am I using that correctly, guys?). Tucked away from their main DJ stand, they rolled out a rather cosy little room filled with Toraiz drum sequencers for people to play with. Deisgned to look a bit like a room of a house, I never really saw the stand empty, anectodally. While I thought the stand was a winner, they get ten points docked for the frankly ridiculous price of the Toraiz, especially when stacked up against…
Whether a happy coincidence or not, the timing of #909day just before BPM meant we had a bunch of new toys to try out on their stand. It’d be hard to dispute that the TR-09 and TB-03 weren’t the stars of the show, particularly for the older crowd. The DJ-808, with its built in TR-S drum sequencer, also had a steady stream of interest, though considerably less drool was involved.
digitaldjtips book launch
Yes, Phil has a book out. In keeping with his other work, it’s a book about what you need to be a working DJ. But more impressively, it felt like digitaldjtips took over a big portion of the venue, with private seating for members, and most importantly, free beer. Thanks for getting us set for our drunken review, Phil! And to top it off, it was nice to finally meet some of their team, after all these years.
Finally… BPM itself
It wasn’t a perfect show. There were some big names missing from the event, that would traditionally show their faces in some form, and there were brands that felt a bit sparse at the show, but most people seemed to like the potential the new format offered. Personally, having some daylight on the floor was appreciated, and gave a nice tone to walking around. The BPM store (well, djkit.com, really) Always seemed to have customers, which sort of shows that people like to find a deal at the event. I’ll also say that the Chicken Shawarma, while a bit overpriced, was yummy and a welcome change from the usual Subway and Starbucks meal combo we usually end up with.
What did you think?
Did you like the new format? What would you change next year?