Prolight + Sound is upon us! It will take place from 4 to 7 April and represents a unique occasion for workers in the sector to get a close look at the evolution of the entertainment world. We talked about it directly with the event’s director himself, Michael Biwer, over the course of a long interview that we will share in the upcoming issue of Connessioni.
Speaking about this 2017 edition: what the novelties will be?
Following the extensive changes introduced last year, we are consolidating the successful measures implemented. Naturally, there will also be new features, for example, the ‘Silent Stage’ area where visitors can learn from a best-practice example how noise levels on the stage itself can be minimised and how front-of-the-house sound can profit from this setup. Moreover, we are continuing to make the seminar programme even more international. Thus, a growing number of lectures at Prolight + Sound, including many relating to AV media technology and systems integration, will be held in English and, therefore, be aimed at an international audience.
How many visitors do you expect to reach?
In 2016 just under 45,000 visitors came to Frankfurt for Prolight + Sound, and 53 percent of them were from abroad. This year, too, we anticipate an international public and a good mix of professional users, service providers, dealers, location operators and educational agencies from all subdivisions of event and AV media technology – we deliberately avoid forecasts of visitor numbers, however.
Historically the event has always been conceived as a well-defined twin event: Prolight+Sound on one side and Musikmesse on the other one.
- Does this compresence still good work?
- How will it be managed and organized in the future?
Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound make up an unrivalled duo reflecting the whole value chain of the music and event sector at the same time and place. Numerous visitors take advantage of the opportunity to buy a ticket for one of them and visit the other one, too. We have taken note of the industry’s wish for increased synergistic effects between Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound – and this is one of the reasons for the greater overlap between the two events, which are now held concurrently for three days. Additionally, there are parts of Prolight + Sound, such as the ‘Silent Stage’ just mentioned and DJCon, that are also of great interest to Musikmesse visitors. In the future, we will continue to take advantage of the interaction between the two fairs and have already prepared concepts to promote these effects.
Last year the show underwent several changes in a strategy for the future. This being so,
- What kind of feedback did you receive from the exhibitors’ side?
- Exactly which market does Prolight + Sound wish to represent?
As I suggested earlier, one of the strengths of Prolight + Sound is the way it represents a very broad range from the industry at one venue. This runs from light and sound technology, to studio and broadcast technology, to AV media technology, and system integration. When putting large-scale projects into practice it is important for all these trades and technologies to work together in the best possible way. Given this background, we would like to give the industry’s players in the various subdivisions an opportunity to show themselves, to meet and to provide each other with mutual information here in Frankfurt. To give this variety the space it needs, last year the event moved to the eastern section of Messe Frankfurt. But this was not the only change: by shifting the sequence of days to Tuesday-Friday we have underlined the character of Prolight + Sound as a fair for professionals from the event-technology industry – for, since many people were in harness to events at the weekend, a visit to the fair on Saturday was often difficult. The higher number of visitors on the new Tuesday of the fair compared with the previous Saturday, and the mostly positive response which this has invoked, demonstrate the impact of this measure. However, we shall continue to keep our ears open to what the industry has to say, take feedback from exhibitors and visitors into account, and work on a dynamic platform, which allows for the requirements of companies, dealers and users in the best way possible.
In the picture, Proligh + Sound Team: Stephan Kurzawski, Michael Biwer, Wolfgang Lücke, Christopher Sparkes, Binu Thomas.
In a context of a market registering a sudden development, despite the world economic position, what is the secret for keeping up awareness of your show?
The decisive factor, along with a comprehensive overview of the industry, is to create an attractive fringe programme, and thus further added value. Thus, this year Prolight + Sound will be offering over 70 talks, designed equally for new entrants to the industry and experts of many years’ standing. It is our intention to create features at the fair to attract new recruits – for, given the strong demand for qualified staff, for many companies, trade fairs are becoming more and more of a major recruiting platform. Moreover, at Prolight + Sound well-known prize awards take place, which attract attention to the fair and to the whole industry – as an example we may mention here the Sinus Systems Integration Award.
How can we interpret the evolution of the market?
The market is characterised by continually high demand for live-entertainment corporate events and meetings in a professional context, plus strong visitor figures in audio-visual museums, adventure worlds and leisure parks. In many parts of the world this has had a positive impact on manufacturers, users and professionals working in the technical-installation sector. Whether, and how long, this trend will continue is difficult to foretell – especially since economic forecasts currently seem to be more problematic than usual. There are positive indications, however, for example the dynamic growth of the industry in the Asian-Pacific market, which can be seen inter alia in the impressive development of Prolight + Sound Shanghai and Prolight + Sound Guangzhou.
Do you have a particular message to send to our readers?
Hardly any other sector is developing as rapidly as event and AV media-technology. Technical innovations, increasing expectations and changing legal circumstances mean that new solutions are always necessary. To keep pace with these changes, it is essential that participants not only find out about new products but also expand their international networks and learn from colleagues. Prolight + Sound is a platform for this knowledge and experience transfer – and we are looking forward very much to seeing you at this international get-together for the sector.
This post is also available in: Italian