With all my respects to other big tradeshows, it’s becoming more and more clear that ProLight+Sound show in Frankfurt is actually the most important event for our industry. First, there are several big manufacturers in Europe, and it is much easier for them to show all their real potential in Germany than in the States, Australia or China. Second, Germany is a key market for Europe and it is also “the capital” of the European Union. Third, it is very interesting for a rental company or a production manager to see many different products in the same tradeshow, and that is exactly the big deal in PL+S: you have lighting, but also video, sound and backline. Fourth, we are in a global industry where flight tickets are very cheap compared to the old times. Since PLASA has decreased in audience, Frankfurt seems the only fair that can really make the difference for lighting crews. And it’s coming next week…
ProLight+Sound is huge. Many different halls, many different manufacturers, many different interesting products. So which is the best way to take benefit from the fair? Well, I really don’t know. The only recomendation I can give you is to clearly mark what you really need to see, depending on your next tour, your next installation or the next type of fixture you want to buy. However, if you ask me what I would do in the tradeshow, I can give you my vision.
What I really like to do in a global tradeshow like this is just “hunting”. Why? Because this is the perfect place for the innovation. If you know how to search, you are going to see wonderful ideas, tremendous tools and many ways to make your stage tasks easier. But if you want to see everything, it’s going to take some time. I assume that is impossible for me to see every single booth in the tradeshow. If I see them all, I will lose time instead of going deeply into the good products I’m interested in.
So, how I usually hunt? Well, unless I’m looking for something in particular, made by a very unknown or small company (which sometimes happens with media servers, controllers or lighting emulation), I invest most of the time with the big manufacturers. Why? Because they invest a lot of money in R&D, so they have more chances to release big improvements. However, it’s very important to maintain your skeptical spirit. A big name does not mean nothing but credibility and more opportunities to release an impressive and unique tool.
Let’s imagine you are in a booth. What to do? Well, if you are interested in a particular product, search for a specialist in the booth. They know everything about the products. I think it is a clear mistake to avoid sales people. They can really help you in a few minutes. You can ask whatever question you want to ask and you save a lot of time. If they don’t know something, they will find an answer ten times faster than you. And if you lose interest in a particular product, you can kindly leave booth to the next one.
This year I’ll be present once again. It will be a pleasure to be part of the SGM booth, stands B14 and C14 on Hall 4.0. If you want to pay us a visit, you are more than welcome. A final recomendation: if you have some time, go to PRG’s FestHalle and enjoy their wonderful time-coded lighting show. It is huge, beautiful and very inspiring. And guess which luminaires are rigged… More than 1,000 SGM fixtures!