Over the past four years, a grassroots analog and modular synthesizer meet-up has been stealthily growing in Chicagoland. If you’re in the area, or if you plan on going to Chicago anytime soon, you really, really ought to go. Knobcon is the brainchild of synthesizer enthusiast “Suit and Tie Guy,” a longtime thought leader on our Keyboard Corner online forum, and proprietor of boutique synth module company STG Soundlabs. You’ll be able to get your hands on exhibitors’ prized vintage synths as well as new synths and modules, there’ll be performances, there’ll be demos, and you will have a rollicking good time. One highlight of the show this year is legendary electronic music composer Malcolm Cecil, architect of the TONTO modular synth and collaborator with musician and proto-rapper Gil Scott Heron.
Knobcon has grown from a small gathering of dedicated enthusiasts to a sizeable and influential event in what we call the M.I. industry. (That stands for musical instrument, but roughly refers to stuff you can plug in and buy at pro music stores--so, synths and modules and amps and PA systems yes, grand pianos and school band instruments no.) “We’ve booked over 300 room nights so far,” Suit and Tie Guy tells me, “last year it was much less. We’re expecting over 400 attendees, and have 24 sponsors including Novation, Roland, and Yamaha. Moog will be there, too.”
As if that’s not enough, the hotel where it’s held is both very nice and very affordable. But it’s filling up fast, so book your room soon.
Seriously, if you’re into synths, this is maybe the most legit, talent-filled, brainy, non-glitzy, non-corporate gathering outside of far smaller local meets.
Knobcon runs from September 11 through 13, 2015.