Vox at the Russell Hotel Trade Fair, August 1964
24th - 28th August
The event, held annually at the Russell Hotel, Russell Square, London, normally in the penultimate week of August, was officially the Trade Fair of the "Association of the Musical Instrument Industries" (A.M.I.I.), though it was more commonly known as the "Russell Hotel Fair", or sometimes the "British Musical Instrument Industries" Fair. At any rate, the body that organised and regulated it in the 1960s and 1970s was the A.M.I.I.
The 1964 show was opened by Joe Loss, as noted in "The Guardian" (report towards the end of this page). In 1965, Sir Malcolm Sargent did the honours.
Advert for the Fair in the British music trade press.
"Record Retailer and Music Industry News", 20th August, 1964.
Above, a plan of the displays at the Russell Hotel Trade Fair of 1964 (24th-28th August) printed in "Reoord Retailer", 20th August, 1964. The paper also published - on 13th August - a "preview" of the items the various companies would be exhibiting. Jennings was absent from this, however, as Tom liked to preserve an element of surprise at Fairs. Material relating to the 1963 Trade Fair published by "Record Retailer" will be posted shortly.
As can be seen, Jennings had two adjacent spaces (numbered 75 and 210, letters "N" and "A") in the hotel's Winter Garden, to its right, Beare and Company, which dealt mostly in classical instruments.
Preview of the Jennings display in the music trade press, 13th August.
August 1964, music trade press: - outline of the coming Jennings display.
Note that Thomas organs head the list in the more extensive of the two preview reports. A mark of their importance can also be gauged by the fact that Jennings published a double-page advert for the new range to accompany the Fair. Guitars as ever play a substantial part, the "revolutionary guitar" being the new guitar organ. A "new look for all Vox amplifiers" is likely to indicate the introduction of black grille cloth and the abandonment of copper control panels.
One of two JMI double-page adverts in a music trade magazine to accompany the Fair, the section on the exhibitors - "Trade Fair Supplement" - printed on yellow paper. Jennings had become sole agents for Thomas console organs in the UK in the late summer of 1963. See this page.
A second double-page in the same journal as the ad above, August 1964. This one is a fold-out.
"Record Mirror", 29th August, 1964, from its report on the show. A better image to be supplied.
The item selected for special mention in certain sectors of the press - probably at the recommendation of Jennings - was the Vox "all-in-one" six-channel PA unit. The piece from "Record Mirror" (above) notes further things of interest.
1964 was the first year in which attendance at the show was restricted to dealers - the public was "banned" as "Melody Maker" magazine put in - see below.
"Beat Instrumental" magazine mentions that AC100 SDLs (apparently in the plural) were on show - probably two of the four initially produced - as reported in "Melody Maker" magazine, 25th July, 1964. John Lennon and George Harrison took two AC100 SDLs on tour to the States (18th Aug. - 20th Sept.), the other two evidently remained in the UK.
Extract from the "Beat Instrumental" magazine report of the BMII show, October issue, 1964. See below for the full pages.
Paging amplifier (left) from the Vox catalogue of February 1964, designed for use in a factory or business environment.
From "Beat Instrumental", October 1964 - see below for the full coverage of the Show in the magazine. The AC100s were not the amplifiers issued to the Beatles though - those were in America from 18th August - 21st September '64. The ones brought to the Russell Hotel were evidently identical but different.
From the same issue of "Beat Instrumental"(Oct. '64). The "Million Dollar" contract, signed at the Fair.
"The Birmingham Post", 17th November, 1964. A second order - 1.5 million dollars this time (then equivalent to £534,000). This second order is sometimes confused with the first.
Snippets - as ever, click for larger images
"Beat Instrumental" magazine, October 1964, pp. 18-19.
"Melody Maker" magazine, 22nd August, 1964.
"Crescendo" magazine, September 1964, p. 2.
"Record Mirror" magazine, 29th August, 1964.
"The Guardian" newspaper, 25th August, 1964.
Below, a detail from the picture published in Denney and Petersen ("The Vox Story", 1993, p. 147) of the Vox stand at the exhibition arranged by the "Association of Public Address Engineers" in March 1965. The same AC30 and pedestal were also displayed at the Russell Hotel in August 1964, and at Frankfurt in February '65.
Note on the circular stand underneath the perspex AC30, copies of the colour catalogue printed for Vox earlier in the year:
The catalogue as a whole is available on this page
On to the page for the Russell Hotel Fair, 1965.