Show Report: PASIC 2009
The Percussive Arts Society’s 2009 International Convention (PASIC), took place in Indianapolis, Indiana from November 11-14. The three-day event included performance clinics, roundtables, and an exhibition floor featuring wares from many of the top percussive instrument and accessory manufacturers, music publishers, and several retailers. While some exhibitors opted to scale back their booth sizes and displays as compared to years past, there was no shortage of foot traffic on the exhibition floor, and the mood was decidedly optimistic about the future of the percussion, and greater MI, industry.
Adjacent to PASIC’s Indianapolis Convention Center location is Lucas Oil Stadium, which was hosting the Bands of America Grand National Championships Finals Competition. The proximity of the two events boosted the number of young people teeming the PASIC show floor, and the many school groups in attendance abetted the typical deafening cacophony of eager drummers testing gear.
The convention also featured the soft opening of a new PAS museum, the Rhythm! Discovery Center, which, located in downtown Indianapolis, houses percussive instruments from around the world along with interactive displays, videos and other multimedia. The centerpiece of the new museum features original drum sets of two of the all-time legends, Buddy Rich and Gene Kruppa.
Back on the convention’s showroom floor, MMR caught up with a few exhibitors who shared their thoughts on the 2009 show, and what to expect from the economy – as it pertains to the percussion market – going forward.
It’s been a great show so far. We’re really pleased with the number of people through the show early on. We like to think it’s because of the draw we create at our booth, of course, but obviously there are many drummers here. There is a very positive feeling and a lot of people who are really excited about music. We’re having a great time.
There’s still money being spent out there, and the trick in any business is to be the one that people spend their money with, to create the need for them to come to you. That’s what everybody’s charged with. There are some areas of the market that are coming out of the recession and there are other areas that are going to feel it for a long time. The school market is probably going to be affected for a couple of years because of the way that the funding cycle against taxes happens. [Economic downturns] tend to have a much longer-term effect in that end of the market.
We’ve seen some really good traffic here at the show, and a good diversity of players – everyone from orchestral to the drum corps guys. It’s always an enthusiastic crowd here at PASIC, and this one’s definitely right there.
It’s obviously a challenging time for everyone. I think the percussion and musical instrument market may have gotten hit harder than some others, and in other ways perhaps not as hard as others; we’ve certainly taken our lumps. The types of products that Zildjian sells are – I wouldn’t say recession proof, but – a little more recession resilient than other products. A cymbal is a great way for someone to freshen up their sound without having to make a major financial investment – it’s not like shelling out a thousand dollars. For a couple hundred dollars, drummers can freshen up the sound on their kit and I think that’s what people are looking for.
Also, the economy is making everyone get back to value and as the market leader, we’ve benefited from that because people have tended to go with the tried and true – with the things that they feel comfortable with and that they know are going to bring them value. They know that if they’re buying Zildjian, they’re going to get value for the money that they’re spending. We consider ourselves fortunate to be in that position, but then again, it has made us work a lot harder to earn the customer’s business. We can’t take as many fliers in terms of innovation thing and crazier projects that we might have done in the past; it really is a correction back to basics, and that has put our R&D and promotional efforts into high gear. We have to work harder to make the sale.
My impressions of the show are fantastic. This is actually our first PASIC in a very long time. Korg USA hasn’t been to PASIC since we used to distribute Sonor many years ago, but for our first time back with this great new product, the energy is great, a lot of people are attracted to the booth, the Wavedrum is getting a lot of attention at the show, and we’re very happy to be here.
If you watch the economic trends, there are some green sheets out there. The thing you have to remember is that it’s not just one industry struggling, it’s the whole economy and you just have to persevere. That’s why it’s so important to keep coming out with innovative products that are going to capture the attention of the consumers, and that’s what we’re hoping to accomplish with the Wavedrum and many other products from Korg.
Generation Custom Drums
This is my first time here as a vendor. It’s a little interesting being such a small-time drum builder surrounded by giants like Sabian and Pearl, among others. I definitely have a product that’s different from anyone else. I’ve sold a few things, but it’s a little early to gauge the success of the show at this point. It’s really great to be able to show my product to people that will recognize the quality and care about it. There are a lot of younger kids, so that makes it a little more challenging for me, seeing as college students probably don’t have the money to throw at custom drums, but there is also a lot of excitement, too.
This might be a bad time to be trying to sell custom drums, but that’s where I am in my life, so I figure that if I can make it through the next few years, after that the market for MI will grow and I’ll grow with it.
Grover Pro Percussion
I think this is a terrific show. It started out with a real bang and attendance seems to be really strong. You’d never know that there’s a recession from the turnout here at the convention.
I personally think the market has bottomed out and we’re starting a very slow recovery. I see signs of turning. It’s going to be a slow recovery, but we’re definitely heading in the right direction. Accessories remain strong throughout. I’m guessing what might have taken the biggest hit are the big ticket items – high end drum sets and things like that – but as far as 50- or 60-dollar items, they have remained strong throughout.
It’s great seeing all of the artists, employees, workers and the students coming out and working together. It’s a great event for everyone. This is the most cohesive and smoothest run show of any PASIC, or any convention, really, that I’ve been to.
I think a lot of companies are catering to the economy right now, and that’s good for everyone. The more people buy, the more the companies will grow and the better the economy will be. Some companies are lowering their prices a little bit, or even just showing up and helping out students or whoever can purchase their products, and that really is going to be good for everyone.
This show has been unbelievable. The opening of the museum was really incredible. I can’t believe how it turned out – far beyond anyone’s expectations. The attendance here is great, the board meetings have been very positive and uplifting, so it’s a very positive show.
I think the beginning of the year, as we know, was not a good one for the economy in general, but there’s such positive vibes here at this convention that I’m sure that it is going to spill over and help sales for our industry. We are going to leave this show really upbeat, so I see really great things ahead.