Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound: the future has begun
Over the last few days, around 100,000 visitors made their way to Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre. With 144 visitor nations – compared to 130 last year – the trade-fair duo was even more international. At the two fairs, a total of 1,922 exhibitors from 55 countries presented a product spectrum of media, lighting, sound and stage technology, via event equipment, to musical instruments, electronic equipment and hardware and software. As at last year’s première, over 20,000 music fans attended the events of the Musikmesse Festival, an integral part of the Musikmesse concept, with concerts by over 50 national and international artists, including the European Groove Orchestra, Till Brönner, Steve Stevens & Band and the Branford Marsalis Quartet featuring Kurt Elling, at venues throughout Frankfurt. Particular interest was shown in the presentation of the Frankfurt Music Prize to David Garrett, which was integrated into the Musikmesse Festival for the first time.
 2016: 105,896 visitors at Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound (FKM certified)
 2016: 1,966 exhibitors from 60 countries (FKM certified)
Other associations are also taking a positive view: “We are very pleased with business at Musikmesse. I met many retail colleagues at the fair. Footfall in the halls was high and the exhibition stands were busy. The Business Academy, which we took part in for the first time this year, is on the right track. In a nutshell: the sector agrees with the changes made to Musikmesse”, said Arthur Knopp, President of the Federation of German Music Dealers (GDM). The significance of the fair was also underscored by Gerhard A. Meinl, Chairman of the Federal Association of German Musical Instrument Manufacturers (BDMH): “Musikmesse in Frankfurt is a must for the German and European music industry, especially those from East Europe. We appreciate the high degree of internationality at the fair. We need this marketplace and hope that numerous market participants will use it in the future because this is the key to a thriving fair – on both the exhibitor and retailer sides.”
Prolight + Sound shows the power of the event technology sector
In the wake of high demand for live entertainment and business events, as well as increasing expectations on modern productions, the event-technology sector has continued to develop positively. And this optimism was clearly to be felt at Prolight + Sound. Randell Greenlee, Head of the Political and International Division of the German Entertainment Technology Association (VPLT) summarised by saying, “Following the comprehensive restructuring in 2016 and several subsequent improvements, the fair continues on its successful course. Some of our members have reported an increase in the number of international visitors to their stands this year. The fair is an established networking venue for many associations from all over the world and rightly known as the leading event for our sector.”
Positive echo from both exhibitors and visitors
Arne Deters, Managing Director of db Technologies, was particularly pleased with the high standard of visitors at Prolight + Sound: “Here in Frankfurt, we meet all rental customers, from hobby users to leading production companies. However, the head buyers of the big music dealers also come here. Prolight + Sound is undoubtedly the most important fair for event technology and was a big success for us this year.” In addition to new products revolving around lighting, sound and effects, network and AV media technology has developed into an increasingly important product segment. “The fair is exactly right for our market. The customers are extremely well prepared. They come to order and, in some cases, make their decisions for the whole year”, said Sarah Cox, Sales Manager EMEA, d3 Technologies.
Numerous exhibitors underscored the relevance of Musikmesse for the sector: “Here, we make the most direct connection between us and the people who buy our products and I have even exceeded my personal goals for the fair. We are planning to take part again next year”, said Chris Martin, CEO, C.F. Martin & Co. Extremely pleased with the course of business at the fair was Alessio Gerundini, CEO of Italy’s long established Zero Sette Accordion Factory. He said, “This year’s event was the most exciting Musikmesse for many years. We had a large number of visitors from the first day. Both the quantity and quality were spot on. We made many new contacts and welcomed visitors not only from all over Europe but also from Asia and South America. This year, everything was perfect.”
The level of satisfaction at Musikmesse was up on previous years not only on the exhibitor side but also among visitors. Thus, 83 percent of visitors said they had achieved their personal targets for the fair. Retailers from the sector confirmed the positive processes that have been set in motion by the restructuring of the fair. The significance of Musikmesse was emphasised by Martin Wiesenbauer, the proprietor of Music World in Augsburg: “The show continues to exercise an extremely high power of attraction in our business. This year, I got the impression that efforts are being made to create a magnetic effect with heroes, which still exist in our sector.”
An important aspect of the restructuring of the fair were experiential and educational formats, such as the Drum Camp, which featured performances and workshops by world-famous drummers. The concept resulted in the return of several renowned brands. “The Drum Camp was one of the reasons that we decided to exhibit at the fair again after a break of five years”, said Frank Boestfleich, Product Manager of Germany’s premium Sonor brand. “We were pleasantly surprised by the course of business at the fair and are delighted with the number of visitors.” The Drum Camp format was transferred to the guitar segment for the first time this year – with success. “We were very taken with the concept of exhibiting in the immediate vicinity of the Guitar Camp. With highlights such as this, the fair generates huge value added for visitors”, said Bastian Krämer, Marketing Manager of Meinl Distribution, about the Ibanez presentation at the show
Numerous innovations and a broad thematic spectrum
In addition to hybrid instruments that create interfaces between the analogue and digital worlds of sound, the Musikmesse Trends included the use of new kinds of materials and production methods. Thus, the world’s first violin made using 3D printing technology was to be seen at the fair. “Here, we encounter highly professional musicians, many of them from the classical segment. Moreover, we are delighted with the great interest shown by the media in our products, and we have made lots of interesting contacts to retailers”, says Laurent Bernadec, developer of the ‘3DVarius’.
Furthermore, the fair expanded its thematic spectrum to include subjects from the world of music therapy and teaching. For example, the German Music Therapy Society took part in Musikmesse for the first time and presented its ‘InstruMental Room’ where visitors could participate in interactive events, such as sound journeys and ‘DrumCircles’. At the new ‘Discover Music’ area, which was organised in cooperation with the Frankfurt Music Academy, visitors could explore the world of music making to their heart’s content under expert supervision.
More than 2,600 people took advantage of the Prolight + Sound lecture programme to keep abreast of the latest developments in the market – an increase of 40 percent over the previous year. A positive reception was also given to the new Silent Stage area, which presented an innovative stage concept for clean sound and effective monitoring.
The next Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound will be held from 11 to 14 April and from 10 to 13 April 2018 respectively.