Label Networks overview shot from Agenda in January, 2009

I’m sure that ASR is breathing more easily now. Agenda announced seconds before our newsletter went out that they are moving their dates forward for their next show to better correspond with the buying season, and partnering with IMG, owners of the U.S. Open of Surfing, to take place July 22-23 at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach, CA.

The U.S. Open of Surfing, which is the largest USA surf event running 9 days from July 18-26, includes a Surfer’s Village with all sorts of activities for surf fans, attracting an estimated 400,000 each year to witness the surf competition between 500 of the best pros in the world. (However it’s no Triple Crown Banzai Pipeline, but let’s not go there right now). The big news for the U.S. Open is that the revolving door of top sponsors just changed again, now with Hurley taking this position.

Back to the trade show news. According to Agenda’s President, Aaron Levant about moving his show to HB, a.k.a. Surf City, “We are really excited about the move, and the ability to offer our brands an improved experience. Agenda is setting the pace for all action sports trade events.”

James Leitz , IMG Vice President of Action Sports says, “We’re pleased to have the Agenda Trade show embrace the U.S. Open of Surfing. Agenda’s innovative blend of music, art, culture and fashion truly capture the spirit of, and compliment the U.S. Open of Surfing experience. IMG will work closely with Agenda to maximize this exciting partnership.”

Label Networks has covered Agenda since it began. A quick search on our site and you’ll see many stories, including interview with top brands like 10 Deep, Crooks and Castles, Incase, Alife, Altamont, Obey, and Nikita, among most others, plus Aaron Levine on Label Networks TV. However we are curious about the location and the connection. Huntington Beach, especially during the U.S. Open of Surfing, isn’t the most convenient location, especially for New York streetwear brands flying in and out. Costs, according to Levine will probably increase as well as booth space size, but that’s not necessarily a good thing right now. However if IMG is helping out Agenda, then maybe this isn’t as much of an issue. More to come on this topic.

The other concern is the association with surfing. Nothing against the sport, but it’s not skateboarding. As we all know in the action sports industry, there’s an on-going rift between the two sports, especially when it comes to trade shows, and especially when it comes to lifestyle apparel, accessories, and attitude. Agenda is far more streetwear and skate-oriented than surf, which may be a deterrent to it’s exhibitors. On the other hand, it may attract more surf-inspired brands.(And perhaps IMG is looking for more street-core by bringing in Agenda.)

The other good thing to point out are the new dates. ASR and now with the addition of Class, which is a great idea, are rather late in the season. Especially if you compare it with Bread & Butter, which unofficially is the start of the trade show season running from July 1-3 in Berlin.

Overall, this is an interesting development especially as trade shows in general are shrinking in size and many question their relevancy in the future. This move could also open the door for another underground show to pop right back up in Agenda’s old place. We’ll have to see.