Needless to deny it, we are going through a rather uncertain period: the business in 2022 was largely positive for the event industry, but was then countered by the massive effects of the energy crisis due to the Ukrainian conflict, with the shortage of skilled workers, and the aftermath Covid still present. As the leading trade fair for the entertainment technology industry, Prolight + Sound (25 to 28 April 2023) will hopefully help to stimulate new growth and give the power to meet the continuing challenges with creativity, a strife for innovation and a lot of positive energy.
With only two month missing, LightSoundJournal.com was able to speak to Mira Wölfel, Director Prolight + Sound, to have some anticipation for the show.
LightSoundJournal.com: What can we expect from this year’s edition?
Mira Wölfel: We can all look forward to four days of business, networking and education – and a platform that focuses entirely on the needs of the entertainment technology industry. Our mission at Prolight + Sound is to create a place where the industry feels at home and where great ideas for the future of live entertainment are born. In this context, we are particularly happy that the show will take place without significant global travel restrictions for the first time since 2019, which means that companies from all parts of the world including Asia will once again be present in large numbers. However, one thing is particularly important to us: a trade fair should not only stimulate growth, but also be enjoyable and spread positive emotions. Therefore, I am particularly looking forward to raising a glass together with the visitors and exhibitors at the big get-together on the evening of the first day of the fair: to what has been achieved in the turbulent past years, and to the drive for the future!
LightSoundJournal.com: What will the halls layout be? Open-air?
Mira Wölfel: In the layout of the fair, we are relying on consistency compared to last year: Hall 11 presents products related to sound reinforcement, studio, recording and production technology as well as media and broadcast technology. Hall 12 provides a home for companies in the lighting and theatre sector as well as projection and display technology, and also for event services, equipment and planning. In addition, the Portalhaus will showcase innovations in DJing and digital live performance as well as various audio demo rooms. On the open-air site, visitors will experience outdoor solutions for sound reinforcement and LED technology as well as mobile stages in action.
LightSoundJournal.com: Which key players have already declared their participation?
Mira Wölfel: We look forward to welcoming big names from all areas of the entertainment technology industry, including brands such as ADJ, Alfa Systems, Area Four Industries, Artthea Bühnentechnik, ASM Steuerungstechnik, Aura Audio, AV Stumpfl, Ayrton, BEO Trekwerk, Bütec, Cameo, Cast, Chainmaster, Chauvet, Chemtrol Division, Clay Paky, ComputerWorks, DAS Audio, Dataton, DSPECIALISTS, Elation, ETC, Eurotruss, Focon, Gala Stage Mechanical Systems, Gerriets, GLP, Harmonic Design, Highlite International, HK Audio, HOAC, HOF, Igus, InEar, JB-Lighting, Kling & Freitag, Kvant, L-Acoustics, Lawo, Lightpower, Link, LMP Lichttechnik, MA Lighting, Meyer Sound, Movecat, Osram, Riedel, Robe, SBS Bühnentechnik, Serapid, SGM, Spotlight, Stagetec, Svetlost Teatar, TAIT, TMB, TR Electroic, TTL Network, Tüchler, Unican, Voice-Acoustic and Waagner-Biro. The response in the field of stage and theatre technology is particularly positive: in this sector, Prolight + Sound has developed into the most important international meeting place.
LightSoundJournal.com: I would like to link to our post-show interview from last year, where you talked about expanding offers like the Future Hub and a particular focus on sustainable solutions…
Mira Wölfel: As turbulent as the times may be at present, one thing can be predicted with certainty: the shortage of skilled workers will be with us for many years to come. This is proven by a look at the demographic change. This makes it all the more important for the entertainment technology industry to position itself as an exciting and varied field of activity with interesting career scenarios. With this in mind, the Future Hub at Prolight + Sound brings together exciting offers for professionals of today and tomorrow. It forms an ideal contact surface between young talents and companies with vacancies – in addition, specialised educational institutions and creative start-ups will be present here.
The entire area is being built using recyclable materials: in this way, we want to do our part to make the trade fair more resource-efficient. The entire industry agrees that sustainable events must become the standard. The Prolight + Sound conference programme will provide important impulses on how exactly this can be achieved. So-called “Green Sessions” will be held daily on the Main Stage in Hall 11.0: These discuss the most important organisational and technological steps towards climate neutrality in live operations. We also organise specialised guided tours of the fair with a focus on green solutions.
LightSoundJournal.com: What about other new offerings?
Mira Wölfel: Particularly in the audio segment, Prolight + Sound offers an even more extensive education and workshop programme this year. A new feature in this area is the ProAudio College, which is being created in cooperation with the Educational Institute of the German Tonmeister Association (BiW-vdt). On all four days of the fair, it will offer top-class seminars for audio professionals as well as for interested young professionals in the live and studio sector.
In addition, we are further expanding the “Performance + Production Hub”, which has been successfully launched last year. The area offers an experience zone for music production and digital live performance, supported by the makers of the Sample Music Festival and top brands from the audio industry. The PRO MUSIK e.V. association is a new partner: We are thus expanding the spectrum to include topics around acoustic music, band performances and the symbiosis of analogue and digital sound worlds.
Another new offer at Prolight + Sound is the “Future Talents Day” on 28 April. Here, we specifically invite pupils and students to the fair and offer a varied programme for the target group: from “Behind the Scenes” tours to Talents Rallies to networking events with industry colleagues and potential employers.
Matching supply and demand and promoting new business relationships is a central objective of a trade fair. Are there any programme plans to help establish contacts between companies and top buyers?
We make a major commitment to proactively bringing companies together with the target groups that are particularly important to them. For example, Prolight + Sound offers a hosted buyer programme. This means that we invite decision-makers from the industry to the fair and cover their travel and hotel costs. The participants are identified in close cooperation with the exhibiting companies. We focus on leveraging new market potentials in the interest of the exhibitors: For example, in the area of amusement parks and themed experience worlds, for which advanced and resource-saving event and media technology is of increasing importance.
LightSoundJournal.com: Prolight + Sound 2023 will be supporting ’Women in Lighting’. Can you please give us some information about what PL+S will create around this initiative?
Mira Wölfel: First of all, I would like to emphasise that it is a matter close to our hearts to provide a worthy stage for the merits and great careers of women in the industry. The event business is not a ‘Mens’ World’! Prolight + Sound, which is organised by women at various management levels, is not the least example of this.
This is why we are particularly pleased to be working together with “Women in Lighting”: A Global Initiative honouring and portraying women in lighting and lighting design. Thus, there will be a “Women in Lighting Lounge” in Hall 12. It will serve as a central meeting space for female professionals and interested newcomers, as a venue for interviews with inspiring personalities and as a source of information about career scenarios. In cooperation with Light Collective, initiator of “Women in Lighting”, there will also be topically relevant lectures and panel discussions on the Theatre + Light Stage on all days of the fair. In addition, there will be daily “WIL Meet-ups” at the Ayrton stand.
LightSoundJournal.com: To participate? As far as tickets, logistics etc. are concerned…
Mira Wölfel: Tickets for Prolight + Sound are available at www.prolight-sound.com/online-ticket. This also includes the use of public transport. The exhibition site is only a few S-Bahn stops away from the main railway station – so travelling by public transport is very uncomplicated and at the same time environmentally friendly. And, of course, the admission ticket entitles you to attend all workshops, lectures and seminars at Prolight + Sound – and, of course, to celebrate together with the industry at the get together on Tuesday!