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LSAF 2020 – New Date, New Digs!

The Lone Star Audiofest is moving! We’ve had a good run at the Embassy Suites Park Central in North Dallas, but we’re changing venues this year.

Lone Star Audiofest 2020 will be held at the Embassy Suites Galleria in Dallas, Texas. The cost will be $120.00 per night. The parking charge is waived for LSAF exhibitors and attendees. Furniture can be moved, but it must be moved back before checkout. Alternatively, they will move furniture for you if needed for a flat-rate charge of $100.00.

It is near the Park Central property where we’ve met for the last ten years – just four miles west of it, actually. The room layouts are very similar too. So it will have must the same “look and feel” as prior shows.

One thing that’s different though: The carts are not very good for moving large equipment, so you might want to bring your own cart. You can find them at Lowe’s, Home Depot and Amazon.com for $50.00 to $200.00.

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Embassy Suites Dallas Galleria


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Entrance


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Atrium


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Bar, restaurant and lounge


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Guest room


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Banquet room


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Meeting room

Embassy Suites Galleria Floor and Room Layout

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A little bit of history:

Our first show in 2005 was held at the Tulsa Embassy Suites. We called it the “Great Plains Audiofest” and it was there in 2005 and 2006. We decided to move the show to Dallas in 2007, and changed the name to “Lone Star Audiofest.” We initially held the show at Embassy Suites Market Center in 2007, and then moved to Embassy Suites Park Central in 2008, where it was held until 2019. We moved the show to Embassy Suites Galleria in 2020.

When choosing where to go in 2020, we evaluated Market Center, Park Central, Love Field, Frisco and Galleria. All were Embassy Suites properties. We settled on them a long time ago because of the two-room layout. We also like the free breakfasts and happy hour from 5:30 to 7:30. How fun is that? A two-hour happy hour!

We had a good run at the Park Central property, but it had been getting a little run down, so we had considered moving for the past year or two. We liked our old familiar spot, but between the decline in the neighborhood and the increasingly worn out furnishings there, we were getting ready to move.

And then John Busch of Manzanita Audio Solutions gave us the nudge at the last show in 2019 – He threw down the gauntlet and wrote Hilton corporate about the condition of the Park Central property. So they sold it.

No kidding! Hilton sold the property to Interstate Hotels and Resorts.

Laughing

At first, we were hopeful they might improve the property, so we considered staying. But upon investigation in October 2019, they hadn’t updated the rooms yet and I’m not entirely sure they will, certainly not to the level we would want. They can’t improve the neighborhood, which has become a little bit “wrong side of the tracks.” So they were out of the running.

But we’ve always liked the Embassy Suites properties. I had found that way back in 2005 when I searched for hotels for the first shows in Tulsa. Same thing when we moved it to Dallas, where we looked at many other options, but came back to the Embassy Suites. The way they have a sleeper room with a door separating it from the “living room” makes these suites perfectly suited for exhibitors at the show. The living room becomes a show room for our sound gear, and the door to the sleeper room provides privacy for personal effects.

So I looked at Market Central again. Truth is, it is very much like Park Center right now. I don’t mean to be insensitive, but the homeless are everywhere in that area. There is a “homeless neighborhood” at the expressway turnaround, under the bridge that supports the highway right next to the hotel. So while I empathize with the plight of those unfortunates, I don’t think that’s where we want the show to be.

Love Field is a nice property, and it is similar in size to both Park Central and Market Center. Each of these three properties has eight stories with approximately thirty rooms per floor. Frisco is a nice property too, but it is considerably more expensive, at over $200/night. All the others are in the $120-$140 range.

Then there was Galleria. What attracted me to that property is it is a little smaller, being only six floors. It feels more suitable for our show. It is also in a nicer neighborhood, one that I hope won’t decline for years to come. Galleria has two ballrooms (Remington I and II) and a conference room, so we can have seminars there and exhibitors needing larger rooms can take advantage of those. And it has the same free breakfasts and happy hour that we have enjoyed.

The rooms are almost exactly like Park Central, so if you’re familiar with past shows, you’ll feel comfortable with the room layout. See the room layouts available (shown above) One difference is that all rooms on each floor are the same. At Park Central, there were four rooms on each floor (near the corners) that were a little larger. This isn’t the case at Galleria. They’re all the same there, with only very minor differences between rooms. Some have two double beds, and some have a single king size bed, for example. They also have handicap-accessible rooms. But for the most part, the rooms are all almost the same, especially in the living room.

The cost will be $120.00 per night. So that keeps us at an affordable price point. As usual, each exhibitor will book their own room. The hotel staff will keep us all on the same floor, unless we fill a floor and must spill over onto another.

There are 24 rooms on each floor that are great for exhibitors, all facing the atrium. There are an additional 7 rooms on each floor that are down a hall at the ends. Those aren’t desirable for exhibitors, but may be used by LSAF guests. The hotel knows this and will avoid placing us in those rooms. The rooms down the halls at the ends are x00, x01, x08, x09, x16, x24 and x25, where “x” is the floor number. All the other rooms facing the atrium are nearly the same and are perfect for exhibitors.

Reserve your room for LSAF 2020

Below you’ll find links to reserve your room.  There are two links, one for exhibitors and another for visitors.

The exhibitor link is for people wanting to show equipment and or host listening sessions in their room.  Visitors are for anyone else that wants to get a room but won’t be bringing any equipment to show.

Both links offer the same amenities and discounted rates, but exhibitors will be grouped together on the same floor.  Please select the exhibitor link only if you plan on demoing a system.

If you are an exhibitor, please email info@LoneStarAudiofest.com after you’ve reserved your room and let us know you plan to attend. You may also send a company logo. 

2019 Show Reports

Attendance was noticeably higher this year, especially on Friday. We hand out free AudioXpress magazines each year and this year we ran out by midday Friday. So thanks to everyone for coming to the show!

There were storms the week preceding the show in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri but they cleared out on Thursday. The whole weekend was beautiful!

We had our usual eclectic mix, with lots of high-end and quality-obsessed DIY gear represented. This is so typical of LSAF, and has become what people expect to see and hear.

Price points were varied too, with many rooms showing affordable gear and some rooms with systems more expensive than most peoples’ homes. So we truly had something there for everyone!

See the show reports for this and other previous shows:

2018 Show Reports

The weather was absolutely gorgeous all weekend, which set the tone for the show. I don’t know if it was just me, but I thought everyone seemed to be in an especially good mood. I think LSAF 2018 was our best year ever!

There were lots of rooms with a little bit for every taste. We had rooms with direct radiating speakers. We had three rooms with horns or waveguides. And we even had one room that was dedicated to headphone listening.

Price points were varied too, with many rooms showing affordable gear and some rooms with systems more expensive than most peoples’ homes. So like I said: We had something there for everyone!

See the show reports for this and other previous shows:

Seminars at LSAF 2018

Sunday, May 6th:

11:00am to 12:00 “It’s all about Relationships (Between your Equipment)”, by Barry Thornton
12:00 to 1:00pm “Tape History Seminar”, by Charles King    
1:00pm to 2:00pm “Crossover Electronics 101”, by Wayne Parham    
2:00pm to 3:00pm “Speaker Placement and Room Interactions”, by Todd Binnix
3:00pm to 4:00pm “Digital Audio Demystified”, by Steven Solazzo

The Future of LSAF

As the founder of LSAF, many people approach me with comments about the direction of the Lonestar Audiofest.  Most everyone likes the show, and enjoys its intimate laid-back posture.  Some like the show just the way it is, and wouldn’t change a thing.  Others would prefer the show to grow a little bit, and some people wish it would grow a lot.  Of those that have come several years in a row, some make the observation that attendance waxes and wanes from year to year.

The Lonestar Audiofest has always been about audio and camaraderie with just a touch of commercialization.  I modeled it largely from other groups that are self-governing and self-supporting.  It was always intended to be informal and non-profit, so we do not have (or want) a budget for advertisement.  We operate by word-of-mouth.

This is on purpose.  We want the show to be cost-effective for small niche-market companies.  We want the DIY experts here.  They usually do not have large budgets, but they have lots of passion for their craft.  This show gives companies like that a place to gather each year for face time with prospective customers and for photo opportunities.  It opens them up to a wider audience.

We also like for the show to be informal and intimate.  There is enough interest to keep each room filled, but not so much activity that people can’t visit with one another and have doors-shut quiet time to listen to each system.  Attendees can actually have a one-on-one experience with the gear and with the designers.  This aspect makes the show attractive to all audio companies, regardless of their marketing budget.

An informal show like this naturally grows and shrinks over time.  I’ve seen this in other groups too.  Sometimes groups start small but grow.  Then a few years later, they shrink.  A few more years pass and the size swells again.

The core members of a group are what center and stabilize it.  We have a great central core at LSAF.  The same dozen or so companies that started it return every year.  One company may drop for a year for whatever reason and then be back the next year, but basically, the same dozen or so “founding” companies return every year.

We see a half-dozen to a dozen companies that are new each year, keeping it in-flux.  Sometimes there are more, sometimes less.  Some of these new upstart companies return, others don’t.  Some just don’t make it as a business.  Some companies want different things from an audio show.  Some try a different path or get sidetracked and then return several years later.  When they do, they find the same core companies supporting LSAF.

There are many regular supporters of LSAF that have helped over the years.  When I first moved the show from Tulsa to Dallas, some of the Texan regulars stepped up to help.  Fred Thompson, Jim Rivers and Bob Spence formed a sort of “steering committee.”  I did the negotiations with the hotel and maintained the website.  We also had regular exhibitors, like John Busch, Bob Brines, Norman Tracy, Russ Gates and Duke LeJeune.  There are others that slip my mind, but those formed the core group that are still with us to this day.

In recent years, we’ve seen new regulars that I consider to be part of the core.  Most notably is Steven Solazzo, who has sort of taken the reins from me in many respect.  He has begun to negotiate with the hotel, and does a lot of the website work now.  He and I sort of “tag team” on the website and on the show support.  We also have new regulars Pete Millett, David Thompson and Joshua Miles, among others.  They are very active online, and they support the show both with regular attendance and by spreading the word.

Without a marketing department or even a budget for one, we’ve managed to have an advertisement in every April issue of AudioXpress since  2012.  We’ve had show coverage in Positive Feedback, Dagogo and Enjoy the Music as well as on pretty much every audio discussion board on the internet.  We’ve always managed to be noticed, and by the hits I’ve seen on AudioRoundTable.com, I can say with confidence that the online buzz is as loud as it is for the bigger shows.  I’ve been to them and gotten the same online traffic footprint from LSAF.  So even with the smaller laid-back show approach, the internet buzz is pretty hot.  But even if it weren’t, we’re all here for one reason.  We’re here because we love it.

To me, that’s what’s best about LSAF.  It’s a sort of “stone soup group.”  These core regular exhibitors will always be here, because they love to be here.  It’s a passion for us all, a break from the high-pressure shows, a place to show-up and setup where people are there to enjoy the systems and the friends we’ve made.

 

2017 Show Reports

A wave of deluge and tornadoes marched across the Midwest and South through the week preceding LSAF 2017. But suddenly, on Thursday, the weather cleared and remained beautiful throughout the show. Every room sounded great, with our usual eclectic mix of high-end and DIY audio. It was a great blend of camaraderie and beautiful music!

See the show reports at this and other previous shows:

We’re already starting planning for next year’s show.  One of the main things we’re talking about is bringing back the seminars, but doing them on Sunday instead of Saturday.  This ensures Saturday remains an uninterrupted listening day and also keeps the doors open all day Sunday!