Across the last weekend of Wimbledon fortnight, the heart of London buzzed to the sound of personal audio, as CanJam came to town. In the same venue as last year – the Park Plaza hotel, Westminster Bridge (across the river from The Houses of Parliament) – gave over its entire lower level to the CanJam London show. The CanJam shows are now rolling out across the world, and there is something of a travelling circus feel to the event now – representatives of these companies end each show with a ‘see you at…’ pointing to yet another part of the globe.
It’s this camaraderie that is unique to CanJam. Although members of the audio industry frequently have their own travelling circus moments, and are generally personable toward one another, the sense of shared experience is not so prevalent. In high-end audio, for example, the idea of one manufacturer helping another set-up when their own installation is complete – or working together to take down a display when the show is over – is almost unheard of, but it happens at CanJam.
There has been a marked change in CanJams in recent years. Where these events began as meet-ups for enthusiasts with the occasional manufacturer as exhibitor/sponsor, the shows are now entirely manufacturer-driven. This is perhaps an example of the show being a victim of its own success – as the raw energy of an enthusiast rocking up with a rucksack full of headphones is mitigated somewhat by the professional exhibits (that being said, the concept of walking around Central London with a backpack full of wires and gadgets might not be the best course of action at this time!). However, the move from ‘bake off’ to ‘headphone show’ is also a sign of just how much this world has matured.
We have covered the show as extensively and exhaustively as possible, although our coverage is not complete. Because of that travelling circus aspect to the show, many companies are showing products seen before at other events. So, this year we have decided to focus on the ‘killer app’ – each company’s most exciting product, a brief description of that product and a bit of a personal touch – what music they were listening to. This is still an enthusiast-led industry, after all. We’re all in it for the music, after all!