On Christmas Day, a bomb exploded in downtown Nashville. Because of a few swift and very brave police officers, only the bomber was killed. This weekend Nashville exploded again, only figuratively. It seems that people fed up with COVID from Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina, and New York, decided that it was time to come to Nashville. Interstates leading into the city were jampacked. Surface streets became parking lots, and the restaurant industry as well as police were caught totally off guard. Young people waited in line 30 and 40 minutes in torrential rain to hear bands that they had never even heard of. It was a pop-up explosion of tourism and it was beautiful.
The same thing could happen in New York later this year with LEDucation in August and LightFair in October. One manufacturer explained to me that he is hesitant to pull the trigger and exhibit at LightFair since most of the lighting designers are still working from their homes. True, but those designers are EAGER to get out of their home and participate in the industry in-person. Your humble editor was in New York last week and talked to, and met with, a few lighting designers. All plan on attending LEDucation and LightFair. One designer quoted me the dates of both shows off the top of her head and said LightFair would be a coming home party. She said, “I was too busy to take a train to Philadelphia for the day during the last LightFair, you better believe I will take the number seven subway to Javits this year.” Exhibitor sign-ups are currently less than normal, and I think those MIAs will regret missing this huge opportunity. There is pent-up demand for lighting, there is pent-up demand to see new products, and there is pent-up demand to put your arm around an old friend and say hello. With fewer exhibitors, the ones that do participate will share the spotlight with fewer competitors. And with lighting designers still working from home, how will those companies that don’t exhibit get their products into the hands and mindset of designers? Will the rep do individual lunch & learns at designer’s apartments?
Dan Darby, LightFair Show Director explained, “It will have been two-and-a-half years since LightFair has been held, and the industry will be ready to gather again.” There seems to be consensus in Washington that everyone that wants to be vacicanted by July should be vacinated—3 full months before LightFair. Dan also explained that LightFair will continue with all of its precautions to ensure we are safe.
LEDucation Co-Chairs, Burt Grant and Caroline Rinker, explain that exhibit booths are completely sold out for the 2021 show, and there is a waiting list.
If you haven’t booked your hotel, now is the time. Last week, I stayed at the Fairfield Inn across from Penn Station for $79 total, including taxes. According to Hotwire, during LEDucation, 17-19 AUG, a 4-star hotel in Times Square can be had for $160 per night including taxes, resort fees, and all other nonsense. During LightFair, 25-29 OCT (4 nights) Hotwire shows the same all-inclusive rate of $160 per night in Midtown for a 4-star hotel. LightFair’s official housing partner, OnPeak, is offering rates starting at $149.
O’Hare to LaGuardia is $111 R/T during LEDucation and 127 R/T during LightFair. Book now.
If the country is almost fully vaccinated in July, New York could be like the Roaring ’20s in August and October. A pop-up explosion of tourism will send T&L rates skyrocketing. Hotel and Airfare rates could rise steeply after the pandemic as GameStop stock did during the pandemic. It’s time to make the decision and come to New York and put your arm around your old friend and welcome each other back.