Much praise from the sector for the successful new event concept
Expanded complementary programme of events acclaimed by both trainees and experts
Prolight + Sound continues to grow in line with the sector: 940 exhibitors from 47 countries made presentations at the International Fair of Technologies and Services for Entertainment, Integrated Systems and Creation from 5 to 8 April 2016. Around 45,000 visitors  from 121 countries made their way to Frankfurt am Main for the première of the new event concept. The result: new exhibitor and visitor records. “This year’s Prolight + Sound demonstrated the creative and economic potential of event technology and was able to exploit the positive business climate in the sector in full. Thanks to the new concept, the fair has been able to increase its significance in many different respects, e.g., as a showroom and market place, as well as an information and networking platform”, said Detlef Braun, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt GmbH. The significance of the fair is also underscored by its high degree of internationality: more than half of all visitors and around 62 percent of exhibitors came from outside Germany. The top 10 visitor nations in 2016 were Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, China and Sweden. Together with Musikmesse (7 to 10 April 2016), Prolight + Sound once again turned Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre into the pivotal point of the worldwide music and event business.
Positive response to the conceptual changes
For the first time, Prolight + Sound was held on the eastern section of Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, which offers optimum presentation facilities for the event industry and, following many years of growth, has the room needed to expand the spectrum of products and themes in terms of breadth and depth. The sequence of days was also new and, in response to great demand from the sector, the fair was held on four working days. By changing to Tuesday to Friday, the organisers also opened up the way for an expansion of the conference programme to all four days. On the Thursday and Friday (7 and 8 April), Prolight + Sound took place concurrently with Musikmesse thus safeguarding the valuable synergistic effects generated by the two fairs. The new concept met with great approval from all important trade associations. Thus, Helge Leinemann, Deputy Chairman of the Professional Lighting & Sound Association of Germany (Verband für Licht-, Ton- und Veranstaltungs-technik – VPLT), said, “From the point of view of the VPLT, Prolight + Sound 2016 was a complete success. The new concept of Messe Frankfurt is spot on target and fully in line with developments in the sector. Event technology continues to boom. We are very proud to support Prolight + Sound as a conceptual partner.” Summing up, Joachim König, President of the European Association of Event Centres (Europäischer Verband der Veranstaltungs-Centren – EVVC), said, “Once again, Prolight + Sound has demonstrated its position as the leading trade fair for event technology. Well-known and unknown exhibitors, big players and newcomers – all are to be found at Prolight + Sound. The extensive conference programme at Prolight + Sound included interesting events for both beginners and ‘old hands’ and this alone would be a good reason for making the trip to Frankfurt. The new layout is also highly successful and was undoubtedly the right decision.”
Key players of the event-technology sector were also delighted with the course of business: “For us, the new concept of Prolight + Sound is spot on. We had significantly more visitors than last year and were very successful in attracting new customers and making valuable contacts to retailers from Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and Africa”, said Jörg Zimmermann, Sales & Purchasing Manager, JB-Lighting. Summing up, Martin Fournier, Sales Director South & Central Europe, Martin Professional ApS, said, “We enjoyed a very successful fair. We liked the new Hall 4.0 and our exhibition stand was full of visitors throughout the fair. Moreover, thanks to the new sequence of days, very many of them were professionals. For us, Prolight + Sound is the world’s leading trade fair for the sector.” Moving to the eastern section of the exhibition centre gave several exhibitors the chance to increase the size of their exhibition stands in comparison to previous years. Jochen Froh, Director Business Development, L-Acoustics Sas, explained: “We were able to almost double the area occupied, a long-held wish that the new location made possible. Now, we have lots more space to receive our customers and were also able to redesign our stand. For us, the fair has been extremely good.”
Prolight + Sound demonstrates the innovative capacity of the sector
After years of growth, the turnover of the event-technology sector is approaching the € 4 billion mark. According to a new GfK study commissioned jointly by the VPLT and Messe Frankfurt, 47 percent of the market participants interviewed anticipate slight to considerable increases in turnover – only six percent predict a decline. The positive business climate in the sector is the result of an unbroken, high level of demand for creative, professional, safe and innovative events, as well as technical progress accompanied by numerous factors promoting growth.
The innovative capacity of the sector was also clearly visible at this year’s Prolight + Sound. In six exhibition halls, visitors were able to see what turns an event into a spectacular occasion. For example, the fair presented developments in the field of laser technology that not only make projections sharper and more brilliant but also extend the colour spectrum. Such equipment is becoming more sophisticated and user friendly – and is used not only on show stages but also in museums, planetariums and fun-fair rides. Some manufacturers are getting into position for the major sporting events of the year with mobile video screens. LED technology is becoming increasingly flexible and is also fitted, for example, to innovative furnishings, such as multi-media lamps, bar tables with built-in screens and video dance floors. Another highlight at Prolight + Sound was camera drones offering aerial photos in full HD quality transmitted live on a screen. The field of 3D mapping has also developed into a driving force for sales. Thus, Panasonic presented a model of the world’s biggest façade projection, which was unveiled in Moscow last year. “At Prolight + Sound, we find exactly the right audience for our products. We are particularly pleased with the high degree of internationality at the fair and can thus give this year’s edition a positive rating”, said Monica Schwippl, Project Sales Manager of Panasonic Marketing Europe. Companies in the audio sector also used Prolight + Sound as a launching pad for their innovations: “There is a trend towards digital column loudspeakers at present, and they have a great potential. We presented a prototype at last year’s Prolight + Sound. Now we are on the threshold of production and have the finished products on show here. We have been taking part in the fair for many years. The visitor standard is high and the visitors to our exhibition stand show a highly informed interest in our products”, said Lars Heinrich, Sales & Marketing Manager, Kling & Freitag GmbH.
Information platform for the professionals of today and tomorrow
Over recent years, the impressive pace of development in the event-technology industry has led to a growing demand for highly trained employees. For this reason, too, Prolight + Sound has further expanded its range of professional-development facilities. An extensive seminar programme with over 70 lectures by top speakers communicated basic and expert knowledge on technological trends, progressive event management and safety and security issues in the event industry. The tried and tested Eventplaza Conference and Prolight + Sound Conferencewere relocated to the ‘Forum’ – and a new Networking Area offered the ideal setting for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and information. One of the highlights on the conference programme was the keynote speech by Guang Jian Gao, designer-in-chief and art director of the Chinese National Theatre in Beijing, who offered insights into his many years of creative experience. Additionally, a new seminar event, theManufacturers’ Forum, gave exhibitors the opportunity to present best-practice examples on the basis of specific projects.
With the new Future Talents Day on the Tuesday, Prolight + Sound offered for the first time a targeted programme for students and trainees in the event sector. Thus, newcomers had the chance to find out about career scenarios in the event industry, to take part in match-making events and attend special workshops and lectures. At the same time, companies had the opportunity to tell young talents about themselves. “A fair such as Prolight + Sound is a great opportunity to make contact with skilled personnel – including trainees. Hence, we regard the Future Talents Day as a good and important addition to the fair, in which we will continue to take part”, said Rosi Marx, European Marketing Manager of ETC – Electronic Theatre Controls USA.
Spotlighting outstanding achievements
As in the past, this year’s Prolight + Sound was also the venue for the presentation of many renowned awards. The 2016 Opus – German Stage Award went to internationally acclaimed lighting designer Björn Hermann for staging the 2015 Fraunhofer Annual Conference, an event distinguished by the highly creative use of moving lights, which put the lights themselves in the centre of on-stage activity. This year’s Sinus – Systems Integrations Award was given for two projects: in the ‘Entertainment’ sector, the award went to Amptown System Company (ASC) and its customers, Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and Meyer Werft, for the innovative use of media-technology for the multiplex event room, Two70°, on the ‘Anthem of the Seas’ cruise liner; the winners in the ‘Corporate’ category were Wireworx GmbH and Cancom Didas GmbH together with their customer, the University of Stuttgart, for the pioneering renewal of the AV media technology at the ‘City Centre’ and ‘Vaihingen’ campuses. For the first time, companies and personalities from the sector were invited to submit projects to the Opus and Sinus juries themselves. In addition to these two awards, the Prolight + Sound International Press Award (PIPA) honoured the best products in the fields of recording, pro audio and video and lighting. This year, the PIPA jury also gave an award for special services to the sector, the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to founder and CEO of Amptown System Company, Peter Matthes. The jury praised Matthes’ discernment of the interface between user and technology, and his feeling for the emergence of new, music-oriented, lucrative fields of business.
The next Prolight + Sound will be held from 4 to 7 April 2017.
Other events of the Prolight + Sound brand:
Prolight + Sound NAMM Russia
15 to 17 September 2016, Moscow
Prolight + Sound Shanghai
26 to 29 October 2016, Shanghai
Prolight + Sound Middle East
31 October to 2 November 2016, Dubai
Prolight + Sound Guangzhou
22 to 25 February 2017, Guangzhou
Further information and photographs can be found at on the
Prolight + Sound website at www.prolight-sound.com.