Newsmaker: Agenda Show in Long Beach Trade Show Goes Consumer

In 2017, the Agenda trade show made a bold and unique move for a big business-to-business trade show by producing a consumer day.

The inaugural Agenda Festival took place in the summer with popular hip-hop acts performing at the event, held at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif. The first run of the consumer day drew in 15,000 attendees, according to Agenda executives, with tickets selling for $45.

Most of the brands that had exhibited at the Agenda trade show transformed their booths into pop-up shops.

In 2018, Reed Exhibitions, which owns Agenda, announced it would shutter the business-to-business aspect of the Long Beach trade show. The January 2019 Agenda show was postponed. The Long Beach Agenda show in July will be turned into the consumer-focused Agenda Festival.

Agenda’s Las Vegas shows, scheduled Feb. 5–7, will continue to offer a B-to-B marketplace, according to a Reed statement.

Agenda founder Aaron Levant told California Apparel News in November there is still a viable trade-show market for fashion in Las Vegas. But consumer events, such as the Agenda Festival and its sister festival held in November called ComplexCon, are on the rise. They are absorbing some of the elements of business-to-business trade shows

“I saw as many trade people at ComplexCon as I did at trade shows,” Levant said. “It’s not a trade show, but it has a trade edge.”

Inviting the public to the shows might better serve manufacturers and brand owners. They’ll be able to witness firsthand the brands and products their customers prefer.

While the Agenda show is taking on a different format, Kristin Savilia, chief executive officer of Joor, believes trade shows have a good future.

At Joor's platform, businesses can take care of many of the same tasks performed at trade shows, but they complement physical trade shows.

“Trade shows are super important, but there are too many of them. When there are too many, you have to right-size them,” she said. “There’s still value getting together and seeing what is going on. We believe in trade shows and see a future for them.”