I read the news today. Oh boy. Not four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancs. but one large hole punched in the hi-fi enthusiast’s calendar. Due to concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus, the High-End Society has cancelled this year’s Munich High-End Show, scheduled to take place in May.
A statement on the High-End Society’s Facebook page reads: “+++++ The HIGH END 2020, planned for May 14th to 17th, has been cancelled due to the current intensified development regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus. We will keep you in the loop. +++++”.
In the last ten years, Munich High-End has become the most well-attended audio show in the world, over time supplanting CES as hi-fi’s global hub where manufacturers meet with distribution partners and show off new gear to consumers.
Furthermore, it could be argued that High-End’s exhibition centre location, Munich’s M.O.C., better represents the luxury nature of audio gear (and hi-fi industry at large) than the hotel-based events that make up the rest of the audio show circuit.
The cancellation of this year’s event represents a significant blow to the hi-fi industry but when it comes to matters of public health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And it’s also better to cancel sooner rather than later when more exhibitors, press and attendees will have paid for non-refundable flights and hotels.
Today’s Munich High-End news comes hot on the heels of yesterday’s cancellation of April’s Watches & Wonders 2020 and Mobile World Congress nixing its February 2020 event at the eleventh hour.
The organisers of AXPONA (scheduled to take place in Chicago in April), Hong Kong AV (slated for August) and other hi-fi shows around the world must surely be feeling the pressure to follow Munich’s lead, especially in light of the High-End Society’s full statement (below) that details how their decision to cancel was, in part, influenced by the cancellation of other international trade shows:
“The HIGH END 2020 trade show, planned for May 14 to 17, has been cancelled due to the current worsening trend with respect to the spread of the novel coronavirus. This decision was reached by the HIGH END SOCIETY Service GmbH upon consideration of all criteria in close cooperation with the Board of the HIGH END SOCIETY e.V.
Given that in addition to the countries affected in Asia, infections in Italy have rapidly increased within a few days, it is unclear how the virus will continue to spread in Europe. As organisers of an international trade show, we consider it our responsibility, on the one hand, to safeguard the health of all stakeholders, and on the other hand, to work towards averting possible economic losses of the exhibitors.
Since the rapid spread of the virus in China in mid-January, we have been weighing the possible consequences for the exhibition planned in May. The situation was re-assessed each day by monitoring not only the global spread of the coronavirus but also the international trade show and exhibition scene. In addition to the special situation for Chinese exhibitors, over the past few weeks, we have increasingly received inquiries from other companies as to whether the strained situation would have an impact on the HIGH END 2020.
A total of 500 trade visitors from 40 countries had registered for the HIGH END 2020 trade show. You will be informed on the latest news concerning the cancellation. Trade visitors and end users who have already purchased a ticket for the HIGH END 2020 will naturally receive a refund.”