It’s back! The most widely anticipated bass-related UK event of the year again took over the Olympia Conference Centre on the first weekend of March 2014, and again Basschat was there, sharing a stand with high-end bass equipment retailer Bass Gear. I set up home – with our brand new BC backdrop, as well as our usual posters and my long-serving music stand – to the left of the booth, in a reasonably quiet corner.
This year I hadn’t needed to assemble any lanyards, as I had some left to give away from last year. This time we had a brand new, large vinyl backdrop in addition to our usual small posters, and an extra prop for our photos: a white BC baseball cap which TheGreek had had made for the occasion.
Since I’m car-less as always, I carried all the BC bits and pieces to the Conference Centre by bus on the Friday, with a little ingenuity and the help of a bass gigbag for the posters’ cardboard tube.
In case you’re curious to see what an exhibition looks like “before”, this is it, and it implies a lot of hard work.
I was going to have visiting BCers wear the white cap while I took their photo at our corner, and most were happy to oblige. I kicked off the proceedings a few days before the show, with our official BC backdrop+cap photo I took at home.
Anyway, when I got to the conference Centre at 10am on the Saturday, our shared Bass Gear/Basschat stand looked like this.
And the BC corner had a secret – the entrance to the storage area at the back, on the left of the big Basschat backdrop. Handy for us and several other exhibitors and stars, and a good excuse to say hi to those using it.
While I spent most of the show’s weekend at the BC corner or walking around saying hi to other exhibitors and passing Basschatters, and taking photos of all and sundry, I did manage to catch two masterclasses by star bassists who are important to me: one of my metal idols, Frank Bello of Anthrax, and Roger Glover of Deep Purple.
(In fact, I also attempted to go and see Steve Lawson’s show at the Auditorium, but that soon ended in failure when, just after the show had begun, I first received and ignored a text, then received and ignored a call, then listened to my voicemail, had to give in to technology and got out of the auditorium to call the person back. Heh… next time.)
What particularly struck me is the genuine, absolutely infectious enthusiasm these stars have for bass playing and making music, and the infinitely powerful inspiration and motivation they can be for us. If you thought that playing music and touring and talking to fans is to them just a normal job, full of drudgery and déjà vu, well, you couldn’t be more wrong. And thank God for that.
The visitors to the BC Corner
Now for the exhibitors! Please note: I made a point of taking as many photos as possible on Saturday and Sunday morning before the throngs arrived, so I could at least attempt to show the stands properly.
The LBGS was much better attended than it appears from most of the stand shots. In fact, most of the time it was like this:
OK, then, here they are, in alphabetical order.
Aguilar – http://www.aguilaramp.com/
Anaconda Basses – http://www.anacondabasses.co.uk/
Andy Baxter Bass – http://www.andybaxterbass.com/
Barnes & Mullins – http://www.bandm.co.uk/
The Bass Centre – http://www.basscentre.com/
Bass Gear – http://www.bassgear.co.uk/
Bassline Publishing – https://www.basslinepublishing.com/
Bass Guitar Magazine – http://www.bassguitarmagazine.com/
BIMM – http://www.bimm.co.uk/
Eden Electronics – http://www.eden-electronics.com/
Elixir – http://www.elixirstrings.co.uk/
Eve Guitars – http://www.eveguitars.co.uk/
FM Cables – http://www.fmcables.com/
GB Guitars – http://www.gbguitars.co.uk/
Hartke – http://www.samsontech.com/hartke/
The Custom IEM Company – http://www.custom-inearmonitors.co.uk/
MSL Professional/MarkBass – http://www.markbass.it/
Maruszczyk Instruments – http://www.public-peace.de/
The Musicians’ Union – http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/
Ortega – http://ortegaguitars.com/en/
Promenade Music – http://www.promenademusic.co.uk/
Rikkers – http://www.rikkersgitaarbouw.nl/
SiMs-Enfield Guitars – http://www.enfieldguitars.com/
Strings&Things – http://www.stringsandthings.co.uk/
TC Electronic – http://www.tcelectronic.com/
Warwick – http://www.warwickbass.com/en/Home.html
Westside Distribution – http://www.westsidedistribution.com/
There has been a long discussion, on the dedicated thread in the Basschat Events subforum, about the reduced number of exhibitors at this year’s show, the absence of some of the big names, and the scarcity of cheaper gear and accessories resellers. Another criticism has been about the almost constant, at times intolerable, noise from folks trying out amps and basses, and mostly insisting on doing so through horridly cacophonic slapping.
The absence of certain manufactureres could have been due to the British Guitar Show happening in Birmingham on exactly the same weekend, as well as probably to the tail end of the global financial crisis making the cost of getting a stand at the LBGS prohibitive or simply not good value for money. The slapfest, though, is another matter. Quite how you can hear the real tone of a bass or amp by hitting the living daylights out of it in a fast, percussive manner is beyond most sensible bass players. The inconvenience to both visitors and exhibitors wasn’t relieved by the apparent lack of enforcement of the 15 minutes noise to 45 minutes silence rule.
So, LBGS organisers, next time please 1. don’t price the show out of existence, and 2. make sure to actively support exhibitors in stopping players who flout the silence rules and ruin the experience for us all. Having bought a ticket is no justification for punters being selfish and creating problems for others.
Having said all that, I absolutely loved being at the show for the whole 8-hour duration on both days, I didn’t have to wear my earplugs despite being tempted to put them in a couple of times, and would much rather go with the LBGS as it is at present than have to do without a LBGS altogether.
For me, it was another awesome, epic weekend. Roll on the London Bass Guitar Show 2015!
Additional photos of Basschatters at the LBGS can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluejay_my_photos/13113722125/in/set-72157642269750404/
Additional photos of stands and guests can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluejay_my_photos/sets/72157642582270085/