The 22nd Annual Chicago Drum Show was held May 19 and 20 at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St Charles, Illinois. Show organizer Rob Cook reports that the attendance was up by about 5%, with a total count of 1,467. "Actually I'm surprised there was not bigger growth this year," said Cook. "We partnered with more local businesses and individuals than ever before in promoting the show. Many of our exhibitors such as Chicago Drum Exchange, Ludwig Drum Company, Guitar Center, and others help us promote the show. We also worked more closely this year with other local event promoters such as the Texas Guitar Show, Arcada Theater in St Charles, and the Chord On Blues club in St Charles. The owner of the Arcada Theater had staff on hand at the drum show to promote upcoming events and offered drum show exhibitors free admission to the Blue Oyster Cult concert Friday night before the show. The Chord On Blues also sent staff to the show, to promote the Kentucky Headhunters show Saturday night. Two of our clinicians, Fred Young and his nephew John Fred Young performed at that show."
"Our exhibitor count was up again this year," reports Cook. "We had to create 10 new spaces, bringing the total to 151. Not only was the number of exhibitors up, but it was clear that many exhibitors have stepped up their game for this show with nicer booth layouts, better signage, impressive graphics and lighting, etc. The best example was the Craviotto Tribute display contributed by Frank Defino Jr. The exhibit covered a 25 by 40 foot area and took a 12-man crew 8 hours to assemble; it had side walls, trusses, overhead signage and lighting, pedestals for display drums, and banners.
The show's clinic program was kicked off by a dual presentation by Fred Young (Kentucky Headhunters) and John Fred Young (Black Stone Cherry.) Other featured clinicians were Mike Clark, Airic Liebing, Les DeMerle, and Ed Shaughnessy. Shaughnessy's Memoir Lucky Drummer was released at the show. "I've never had a new book get this kind of reception," said Cook. “Ed sat for hour after hour autographing the book and chatting with fans.” Master Classes were conducted by Les DeMerle, Mike Clark, and Jane Boxall. In a special free Master Class session, Rick Gier (author of the Gretsch serial number dating guide,) moderated a Gretsch dating roundtable discussion.
The Rebeats Cafe provided a “second stage” that featured presentations by Jane Boxall, Bernie Stone (refurbisher of the 1970s Slingerland manufacturing equipment,) Zoro, who presented his new book The Big Gig, and Will Calhoun tech Ingo Marte who explained and demonstrated the Cympad line.
Entertainment was provided at the beginning of each day outdoors near the front entrance. Saturday morning’s group was Panimal Cracker, a light jazz group featuring steel drums. Sunday morning was jump-started by the local rock group LiveWire. LiveWire’s members are two 7-year-olds and two 9-year-olds. The young rockers were well received and left happy with lots of swag from show promoters and exhibitors including new cymbals from Sabian and Zildjian.
At the end of the show there was an outdoor drum circle affiliated with drumSTRONG! (a national cancer charity.)
Raffle and door prize donors included DW, Sabian, Custom Tank Drums, Zildjian, Tempus, Mayer Brothers Drums, NotSoModernDrummer, Cympad, Ludwig, Firth, DrumArt, Taye, Holland Drums, RC Percussion, and Kelly Shu. Clinician sponsorship came from Ludwig, DW, Evans, Zildjian, Istanbul Agop, Sabian, ProLogix, ProMark, and Firth. Rob Cook: “This show is enhanced greatly by the generosity of so many people. Exhibitors and sponsors are real mainstays, but certainly not the only ones who share. I was especially proud of the way the drum community stepped up this year in memory of one of our exhibitors who was killed in a tragic car accident dearlier in the year. Dennis Stauffer of Phattie Drums left a one-year-old son and widow. Other exhibitors and forums organized a fund-raiser for the family in memory of Dennis. Donors were entered in a drawing for drums made and customized specifically in honor of Dennis by many of the country’s top drumbuilders. I was honored to be able to provide space to display these drums and host the drawing. I understand that nearly $20,000.00 was raised overall, with about $4,600.00 coming in at the show itself. Brittany Stauffer was present and thanked the drum community with a brief address that brought tears to every eye.
The 23rd Annual Chicago Drum Show is scheduled for May 19 and 20, 2013.