A guide to upcoming musical instrument shows in the UK and


There was a time, and not so long ago, when British musical instrument shows only meant one thing: major events held in giant halls. Some were pretty good and some weren’t, but unless you live in London or the South East, they almost always involved expensive travel, low wallet parking fees, and outrageous prices for both l entrance to the show itself and the obligatory burger and a Coke. These were also multi-purpose events, covering most instruments, so they were perfect for a visit by the whole group.

This kind of show, however, seems to have fallen out of favor in recent years in favor of more affordable regional shows dedicated to particular instruments.

The biggest news these days is that London has lost its grip on music broadcasts. A new generation of events has emerged, some quite small and regional, others large, but most based outside London and benefiting, for the most part, from the reduced costs that this implies for the organizer, exhibitors and, in most cases, the visitors.

Guitar shows

The most important by far is The Guitar Show, which has been held for three years in Birmingham. This year’s show is over, but all eyes are now on the 2019 event, which is slated for February.

Described by some visitors as a step up from smaller “trestle table” shows, The Guitar Show may lack razzmatazz and superstar appearances, but it makes up for this with enormous diversity, attracting many smaller and smaller manufacturers and retailers. more interesting. You’re not going to bump into Eric Clapton in the aisles and Steve Vai doesn’t open the lounge, but you’ll see a lot of gear for a £ 12.50 entry fee, and the food prices won’t blow up the Bank.

The Birmingham Guitar Show

Small towns are better served than ever for guitar shows, in large part thanks to the pioneering work of the husband and wife team of Peter and Gail Hoarty. They started the Northern Guitar Shows, which have now spread to London (more or less) in the form of the London International Guitar Show, destined for Kempton Park Racecourse, West London, in October.

Hoartys’ show format is based on the hit regional guitar shows in the United States, and one attraction they offer is that it’s affordable to book a stand if you’re a collector and want to sell or can. – just be showing off your collection. These are shows for bargains and bargains, and you’ll find boutique makers, vintage gear, and collectors, as well as performances. Admission is cheap, parking is free, and food is affordable.

Northern Guitar Shows

The Hoartys’ North East Guitar Show was and is gone for this year (it took place in March) and the North West Guitar Show was in May, but the Leeds / Bradford (Pudsey) show is in September, London (Kempton Park) in October, and Merseyside (Ainteee) gets its show, also in November. The next North-East and North-West trade fairs are already scheduled for early 2019.

The concept of a regional spectacle seems to have taken root in the North, and the Mojo organizers are responsible for a handful of them. Still to come this year from Mojo are their show Cumbria (Penrith) in August, Cheshire (Crewe) in September, Manchester in October, North Yorkshire (Thirsk) in November, then, shifting in 2019, the Merseyside Vintage Guitar Mart (Formby) in February, followed by the Lancashire Guitar Show (Whitworth) in April.

These all share a beautifully affordable entrance fee (as low as £ 3 in one case) and are firmly in the tradition of buying and selling trestle tables, but they also offer entertainment.

A newcomer to the scene is the organizer My Classic Guitar Shows, which is hosting the first Northampton Guitar Show in October. So far, they only list a small number of exhibitors, but check the website for details. My Classic promises possible future shows in Cambridge, Southend and Southampton, all with dates to be confirmed.

Bristol is one of the few places in the South West of England to have major shows, having had its own Bristol Guitar Show in 2017 and April 2018. At the time of writing, no firm dates have been established. has been confirmed for the 2019 show, but the organizer promises it will take place in April and at the same location as last year, Ashton Gate Stadium. Go to the website for more details.

Northern Guitar Shows

The UK Guitar Show, organized by Future, the publisher of Guitarist and Total guitar magazines, promises to be the opposite of the scale, closer to the old giant shows. It takes place at the Olympia in London in September. The announcement of this show was unexpected, and details of exhibitors and artists are still a bit slim on the pitch, although we are promised class sessions, discussions, a guitarist of the year finale and a zone vintage. With the entrance fee of £ 20 per day or £ 32 per weekend (not to mention all the fun of parking in central London), it’s worth keeping an eye on the website to see who will be present.

Another new show for 2018 is the Liverpool Guitar Experience. Hosted by the team at Sound Affects, the show will feature everything from boutique pedals to high-end new and used guitars. In addition to the treasure of equipment on display, the site’s conference rooms will host workshops, courses, questions and answers and meetings with industry professionals and luthiers. The show takes place on Sunday October 14, 2018 at the Park Hotel in Aintree, Liverpool, and tickets will go on sale from September 1.

Are these shows reserved for guitarists? Well, pretty much, yes. Bass makes an appearance in most of them, but the instrument’s only solo spot is at the Future’s Bass Guitar Show, although not until April 2019. It’s again at the Olympia in London, and details have yet to be announced.

Keyboard show

Keyboard fans are no better served than bassists, unfortunately again with only one show of their own. SynthFest is organized in Sheffield by Sound on sound magazine in October. It will feature many boutique and modular synth manufacturers in attendance in addition to the big names, but it also offers seminars (it is hosted by Sound on sound, after all) as well as manufacturers’ showcases, and it must become a must-have for synth players.

Drum shows

Drummers are doing much better than bassists and keyboardists, with two major shows this year, as well as a vintage offering in the Midlands. Manchester is hosting the second UK Drum Show in September, with a list of the best drummers in attendance as well as just about any manufacturer a drummer or percussionist could hope to find.

Jojo Mayer will be at the UK Drum Show in September

The other big show of the year is the London Drum Show, again at the Olympia, in November. Artist and exhibitor details are still being announced, so check the website.

Meanwhile, if this all sounds like too much, drummers could always take a look at Simon John’s Vintage Drum Show, held at the Standard Triumph Club in Coventry in October. This show, in its second year, promises to be quite a more laid-back affair. Over 30 vintage kits will be on display, and details of exhibitors and so on are still being announced.

If you’re putting on a show yourself or know of one that we missed, let us know in the comments. Keep an eye out for the listings here as we’ll update them as we have more news.

Sunday August 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Cumbria Guitar Show
Rheged Center, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0DQ

Sunday September 2, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Leeds / Bradford Guitar Show
Pudsey Town Hall, Dawsons Corner, Pudsey, West Yorkshire LS28 5TA

Sunday September 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cheshire Guitar Show
Crewe Alexandra Football Ground, Alexandra Stadium, Gresty Road, Crewe, Cheshire CW2 6EB

Saturday September 29 and Sunday September 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The British Drum Show
Manchester Central Windmills Street, Manchester M2 3GX

Saturday September 29 and Sunday September 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The UK Guitar Show
Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London W14 8UX

Saturday October 6 from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
SynthFest United Kingdom
The Octagon Center, Clarkson Street, Sheffield S10 2TQ

Sunday October 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Northampton Guitar Show
Franklin’s Gardens, Weedon Road, Northampton NN5 5BG

Saturday October 13 and Sunday October 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Simon John Vintage Drum Show
Standard Triumph Club, Herald Avenue, Coventry CV5 6UB

Sunday October 14, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Guitar Experience in Liverpool
Park Hotel, Aintree, Liverpool L30 6YN

Sunday October 21 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Manchester Guitar Show
GH Carnall Leisure Center, Kingsway Park, Davyhulme, Manchester M41 7FJ

Sunday October 28, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The London International Guitar Show
Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Rd East, Shepperton, Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex TW16 5AQ

Sunday November 4, times to be specified
The North Yorkshire Guitar Show
Thirsk Auction Mart, Thirsk Rural Business Center, Blakey Lane, Thirsk, North Yorkshire YO7 3AB

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 November from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The London Drum Show
Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London W14 8UX

Sunday November 25, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Merseyside Guitar Show
Aintree Racecourse Exhibition Center, Ormskirk Road, Aintree, Liverpool L9 5AS

Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 February from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The guitar show
The new Bingley Hall, 1 Hockley Circus, Birmingham B18 5PP

February, date (s) to be announced
Merseyside Vintage Guitar Market
The Gild Hall, Church Road, Formby, Liverpool L37 3NG

Sunday March 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Northeast Guitar Show
Rainton Meadows Arena, Mercantile Road, Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear DH4 5PH

April, date (s) to be announced
The bass guitar show
Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London W14 8UX

Sunday April 7 schedules to be announced
The Lancashire Guitar Show
The Riverside, Whitworth Civic Hall, Market Street, Whitworth, Lancashire OL12 8DP

April, date (s) to be announced
Bristol Guitar Show
Ashton Gate Stadium, Ashton Road, Bristol BS3 2EJ

May, date (s) to be announced
The Northwestern Guitar Show
Haydock Park Race Course Exhibition Center, Newton-le-Willows, St Helens WA12 0HQ

About the Author: Gary Cooper is a journalist working in the musical instrument and pro audio fields. he edits Musical instrument news (UK industry trade magazine MI) and Acoustic examination. Gary also contributes to a number of other music magazines and websites. He lives in Sussex, England.

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