The term “pilgrimage” dates back to ancient times, as early religious texts suggest people made a trip to a holy site for a spiritual connection and to meet others who shared their faith.
Depending on your beliefs, the Klipsch Pilgrimage could fall within that realm.
This weekend is the 2019 Pilgrimage, an annual event that brings Klipsch fans from around the globe to a place audiophiles believe to be a holy site - Hope, Arkansas.
Hope, Arkansas is located northeast of Texarkana on the Arkansas/Texas border. It is the birthplace of former President Bill Clinton and the Klipschorn. Our company founder, Paul W. Klipsch, hand-built the first Klipschorn in a tin shack with the goal of bringing a live music environment into his living room.
The shack has since been replaced with a full-fledged factory with its own cabinet production line.
Every spring, hundreds converge on that very spot to talk sound, music, and family.
Hope in Hope
It all started back in 2001 with a series of letters. Senior Technical Specifier Trey Cannon worked in Klipsch Tech Support at the time. “I received about 17 different hand-written letters in the mail,” he says. “It told of their desire to meet Paul W. Klipsch and their stories about how they came to love Klipsch and our products.” Cannon helped arrange a visit with Paul and Valerie Klipsch at their home in Hope, Arkansas. Klipsch Principal Engineer Roy Delgado says the Pilgrimage took off from there. “They went back to the forum and wrote of their experience with Paul and then others wanted to meet Paul,” he explained.
Sadly, Paul W. Klipsch passed away in May of 2002. But, the Pilgrimage lives on.
Education, Respect, and Family
Cannon says attendance to the annual Pilgrimage reached into the hundreds, but dwindled in the last decade. Then, the fans stepped in to take the reigns. “Over the years, it was for them to see where the speakers were made. But, it became about mingling with the people who craft the speakers and learning about the technology behind it,” he explains. “We now teach classes on how we do it. The people that come to Pilgrimage are somewhat tech-oriented and they want their speakers to sound a certain way.”
Cannon says, while other big name brands host their own events, this one is organized by the fans themselves. “Nothing to do with us branding. We support our fans supporting us. They plan and organize it all,” he says. The fans also provide lunch for workers at the Hope facility.
“The fans have turned this into a show of respect to the people who made some of the ‘pretty’ in their lives possible.”
Some camp at a spot near the factory, while others opt out of what Cannon calls “skeeter season” and stay at local hotels for the weekend-long event.
“It’s grown into a family,” Cannon says. “They come back as much to see each other as they do to learn about the products. It’s more of a family affair. Not many companies do things like this.
These people see our passion for what we do and our fans come in to share and give thanks to the people who make the products,” he says.
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