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Final report Prolight + Sound 2015
The international Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound trade fairs at Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre closed their doors on Saturday evening after a successful four-day run jam-packed with musical and dramatic highlights. “Over 108,000 visitors from 146 countries witnessed a dazzling display of new products, stars and events presented by 2,257 exhibitors”, said Detlef Braun, member of the executive board of Messe Frankfurt. “Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound confirmed their role as a source of impulses for active music making, event presentation and new business contacts.”
This year, both fairs were characterised by an excellent trade-visitor standard, a good propensity to order and a high level of internationality, which resulted in a significant increase in the level of exhibitor satisfaction at both events. Particularly successful at Musikmesse was the new business area for improved contacts between manufacturers, distributors and musical-instrument retailers. “The fair is an extremely important platform where exhibitors can launch their new products – and judge their position in relation to their competitors. In this connection, the fair is distinguished by great internationality whereby the new B2B area was a very useful improvement this year. Naturally, the fair is also important to help consumers develop a feeling for music”, says Gerhard A. Meinl, chairman of the Federal Association of German Musical Instrument Manufacturers (Bundesverband der Deutschen Musikinstrumenten-Hersteller e. V. - BDMH). Confirming this assessment, Dr Christian Blüthner-Haessler, CEO of Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik, said: “We generated lots of business and gained many new customers during the four days of the fair. Particularly in a time when the climate in the sector is rather inclement, Musikmesse 2015 came fully up to expectations.”
With full aisles, a busy atmosphere on the exhibition stands and a high-grade conference programme, Prolight + Sound 2015 underscored its position as the leading international trade fair for the event technology and entertainment sector. The Professional Lighting & Sound Association of Germany (Verband für Licht-, Ton- und Veranstaltungstechnik - VPLT) was also very pleased with the results of the fair: “From our point of view, it was once again clear that the heart of the sector beats at Prolight + Sound. This year, thanks to numerous products and services, the media, theatre, fair and events segments came even more closely together and were to be seen at a glance at the same time and place during the four days of the fair. Simultaneously, we see here just how international our business is”, said Helge Leinemann, member of the board of VPLT. Besides Germany, the top ten visitor nations at Prolight + Sound are the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Austria, China, Great Britain, Sweden and Poland.
Nowhere else can music aficionados see and hear such as host of innovations from the field of musical instruments as at Musikmesse in Frankfurt am Main. Particularly popular are extraordinary designs with, for example, airbrush paintwork and instrument decorations with LEDs or hologram effects. Moreover, an increasing number of manufacturers are making use of unusual materials, from exotic wood, via amber, to carbon fibre. Indeed, the ‘carbon violin’ by Mezzo Forte was presented with the German Musical Instrument Award during the fair.
At the same time, the extensive programme of events makes Musikmesse an extraordinary musical experience. With the fair opening to the general public on two full days this year, greater emphasis than ever before was given to making the fair an unforgettable occasion. With over 1,000 concerts, workshops, autograph sessions and presentations, the Musikmesse event programme had something for all tastes – from classic, via funk and soul, to rock and heavy metal. The big names appearing included star pianist Lang Lang, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, ‘Schlager’ singer Guildo Horn, the pop-rock shooting stars from Luxuslärm and members of the Donots band.
One of the special highlights was ‘In the Eye of the Rock’n’Roll Hurricane’, a photographic exhibition by star photographer Neal Preston, which gave visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in 45 years of rock history. One of the most important aims of Musikmesse is to promote music making among young people. To this end, Messe Frankfurt once again increased the spectrum of facilities and services. Thus, on the one hand, opening the fair on the Friday made it easier for school groups to attend the fair. On the other hand, the Music4Kids participatory exhibition sent over 8,000 children aged from three to ten on a journey of musical discovery with extraordinary instrument creations, sound experiments and sound installations. At the School Jam finale, young talents competed for the title of ‘Germany’s Best School Band’. Moreover, the European School Music Award for particularly worthwhile music-teaching projects was presented at the fair.
The event business is booming – and the expectations on impressive productions are growing constantly. As in the past, this year’s Prolight + Sound presented everything necessary for creating a spectacular event whereby the sector is more innovation-driven than virtually any other. Thus, Prolight + Sound reflected many of the trends that spur the industry. For example, 3D mapping technology makes building facades come to life, digital sounding mixing and mobile recording technologies provide for increasing flexibility while high-resolution displays ensure pin-sharp images – increasingly, with a touch function, too. Moreover, the sector is attaching greater importance to sustainability. Economical amplifiers, LED lighting and projectors with a long service lives make ‘green events’ increasingly realistic. With this broad spectrum of products, Prolight + Sound was once again the international hotspot of the entire sector and the showcase for a complex and expanding industry. “The impression made by this year’s Prolight + Sound is very positive, vibrant and dynamic. Here, we encounter an exceedingly heterogeneous clientele and are very pleased with the course of business. We have been able to show our portfolio of products in an optimum light and thus reach customers from all over Europe, as well as many from overseas, the Middle East and America”, says Christian Massmann, CEO, Eyevis GmbH.
Prolight + Sound not only generates impulses for product innovations as a showcase: a high-grade conference programme revolving around event technology and event management ensures it is the most important venue for basic and advanced training. With the ‘Theatre and Film Colloquium’, this year’s fair offered a series of events aimed specifically at visitors from the fields of theatre technology and equipment. For this target group, Prolight + Sound offered a new product section – Stagery – which attracted numerous new exhibitors and visitors to Frankfurt and thus expanded the spectrum of segments and themes covered.
Messe Frankfurt presented a new concept for the two fairs during Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound 2015. To come into effect next year, the concept orients both events more towards the needs of the musical instrument and entertainment industry. “The new concept focuses equally on strengthening the contact-making process between trade and industry and on the completely new contact areas between manufacturers and consumers,” explained Detlef Braun.
To this end, Musikmesse will open its doors to consumers with music-style specific exhibition halls on all days. At the same time, there will be an exclusive business hall open to trade visitors only, which will give them and exhibitors more room and contact space for undisturbed business discussions.
To implement the new concept, Musikmesse will move to the western section of Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre next year and occupy more than 95,000 square metres of indoor, outdoor and conference space. Thus, in its new location comprising Halls 8, 9.0, 9.1, 11.0, 11.1, the Galleria and Portalhaus, as well as the adjoining outdoor areas, Musikmesse will remain as big as ever.
At Prolight + Sound, numerous product extensions in recent years have created a potential for growth that the organisers must make space for. Accordingly, Prolight + Sound will move to the eastern section of Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre from next year and occupy Halls 1, 3, 4 and 5, as well as the Congress Centre and outdoor exhibition areas.
To strengthen the new consumer components of Musikmesse and the trade-visitor focus of Prolight + Sound, as well as to retain the important synergistic effects of both events, the sequences of days on which the two fairs are held will change from 2016.
Prolight + Sound begins on Tuesday and ends on Friday.
Musikmesse begins on Thursday and, in the interests of private visitors, ends on Sunday. The hours of opening are also changing: the fairs will open from 10.00 to 19.00 hrs on all days.
The next Prolight + Sound will be held from 5 to 8 April 2016.
The next Musikmesse will take place from 7 to 10 April 2016.
21st April 2015
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