Prolight & Sound 2016 – First Impressions

The latest edition of Frankfurt Messe’s most eagerly anticipated event in the industry, Prolight & Sound, has just ended, and now it is time to take stock. The organizers of the event announced nearly a year in advance that there would be several innovations for the 2016 show – the most important and obvious being Prolight & Sound and MusikMesse not running completely simultaneously – overlapping only on the Thursday and Friday – and an allocation exchange of the halls dedicated to professional entertainment and the MI world (Musical Instrument).


Besides these, we didn’t notice too many major changes in the show, and we feel that these changes benefited Prolight & Sound, with this year’s show feeling extremely at home in the more central and modern pavilions.

As an immediate consequence of the partial lack of “musical users”, especially in the early days, PL&S appeared a less crowded fair, but definitely not less effective. The feedback we got from the exhibitors was shared pretty evenly, between those who considered themselves satisfied with a less numerous audience but a better and more focused representation, and those unhappy with the reduced footfall to the stands that certainly penalised the companies with a more over-arching catalogue.


And MusikMesse? Well, it appeared slightly more subdued and with rather heavy absences in terms of industry leaders. But if you’d like to read further about that, then head over to And speaking of absences, in addition to those already announced, the absence of official Music Group brands such as Midas, Behringer, TC Electronic, Turbosound and LAKE was highly notable.

As Michael Biwer, Director of Prolight + Sound, says in our exclusive video interview, the visitors have to metabolise the new settinsg in the coming years, even if objectively Halls 3 and 4 have worked well, while Hall 5 appeared the most sacrificed and less appealing. It has certainly been a good idea to gather conferences, associations and groups in the Forum Hall, an international place where you can exchange experiences and promote important initiatives, and form essential connections.

prolight+sound 2016 Musikmesse/PLS 2016 - ©Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jochen Günther

Credit: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jochen Günther

For our part we would have expected a little more hype regarding the external events, with live-demos, “sounding” stages and other initiatives to show the products in action, and not only at the stand, in the spotlight.

However remarkable the humble attitudes of the organisers may be – in the words of Director Michael Biwer – Frankfurt Messe remains one of the most important industry shows in the world. Of course, with the progress of events such as ISE in Amsterdam, LDI in Las Vegas, Infocomm and some ambitious exhibitions in the East, the real challenge to return the reference will be to focus even more strongly on a new format and more focused on specific market for professional entertaiment, even before further expand in similar markets with the risk of not being able to represent them all the best.

Of course with the progress of events such as ISE in Amsterdam, LDI in Las Vegas, Infocomm and some other ambitious exhibitions in the East, the real challenge to return as a reference will be to aim to deliver even more focus on the specific market of professional entreatment. The show could go down the route of further expanding into related markets, but with growth and diversity comes the risk of not being able to represent all aspects of the show in the best manner. For now, Prolight & Sound must continue with what it does best, and focus on specialism.

Aldo Chiappini

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