Great interest in Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound

The international Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound trade fairs closed their doors after four days full of product launches, highlights and events. "Around 110,000 visitors from 142 countries reflect the continuing high level of interest shown by the music and event sectors in innovations and new developments", said Detlef Braun, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt. "This year's Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound were characterised by a high visitor standard and a willingness to place orders." This compensated for the slight decline in visitor numbers compared to the record set last year. The on-going high level of exhibitor satisfaction at both fairs also represents a good result. Altogether, 2,242 international exhibitors from 57 countries presented their products and services at Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound.

Following the ups and downs of the musical instrument sector in recent years, numerous exhibitors reported a good propensity to place orders among trade visitors. Daniel Knöll, Director of the Society of Music Merchants e. V. (SOMM), drew a positive conclusion from his sector's point of view: "This year's Musikmesse was once again the venue for national and international business and left no doubt that it is the market place and showroom for the musical-instrument business and music aficionados. We anticipate that the market will develop positively in the first half of the year and can, therefore, look back at a successful fair in a positive frame of mind." A positive view of the course of business at the fair and the outlook for the musical instrument sector is also taken by Gerhard A. Meinl, Chairman of the Federal Association of German Musical Instrument Manu­facturers (Bundesverband der Deutschen Musikinstrumenten-Hersteller e. V. - BDMH): "The good atmosphere at this year's Musikmesse provides support for our prognosis for 2014: overall growth of four percent." In general, Musikmesse exhibitors rate the current economic situation in the sector as better than a year ago: 73 percent consider the economic situation to be satisfactory to good.

The innovative power of the event-technology sector and the investment potential for perfectly staged events were evident at Prolight + Sound 2014. A total of 897 exhibitors from 42 countries demonstrated their innovativeness, versatility and dynamism with the latest products from the worlds of audio, lighting, theatre and stage technology, AV media technology, visual communication and systems integration. The exhibitors gave the fair a positive rating in all respects with almost 80 percent saying they were satisfied to extremely satisfied with the course of business. This general trend was confirmed by Peter Klotz, CEO, Klotz Audio Interface Systems: "For us, Prolight + Sound is the most important platform where we can meet all national and international customers. The fair was well attended and the standard of both national and international visitors was very high. This is decisive for us and compensates for the slight decline in visitor numbers." Dierk Elwart of Amptown System Company (ASC) summed up the fair in extremely positive terms: "At Prolight + Sound, we can reach the maximum number of customers at the same place. We have noticed an increase in the number of visitors to our exhibition stand for many years. This year, we were very delighted to welcome many trade visitors from the theatre segment."

Show with trends and innovations
As in the past, numerous new products were launched at both Prolight + Sound and Musikmesse – from extraordinary percussion instruments, via electronically amplified recorders, to wind instruments that communicate via WLAN. The mega social trend, mobility, is also gaining ground in the musical-instrument and event sectors with innovative products being shown, which make music making and audio production easier when travelling. Smartphones and tablets are increasingly being used as electronic sound generators or control tools for hardware. Moreover, pianists and whole orchestras are also delighted that, for example, they can now use tablet PCs as sheet music. Creative water and fire elements are being used more and more to create even more effective events. The trend towards LED lighting also continues. Additionally, Prolight + Sound clearly showed the growing significance of networking and systems integration in the field of event technology.

In focus: promoting young people and specialist qualifications
Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound also underscored their status as international sources of impulses with a comprehensive spectrum of seminars, lectures and workshops. At the Musikbiz Lounge & Congress Area, participants could find out about music marketing, copyright law and publishing, and hold discussions. The Eventplaza Conference offered numerous information events on trends, strategies and expertise for the live-entertainment and theatre sectors with particular attention being paid to the subject of event safety. Additionally, speakers from the media-technology sector passed on their knowledge about sound and event technology at the Prolight + Sound Conference. The significance of Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound as information and training platforms was emphasised by Detlef R. Schulz, Head of the National Politics & Communication Division of the Association for Media and Event Technology (Verband für Medien- und Veranstaltungstechnik): "Prolight + Sound is a very important platform for us. In particular, the seminar programme is a relevant part where the focus is on training for specialist personnel, a subject of great importance for our sector, because the demands on events and, therefore, on specialist staff continue to grow."

In a time when the number of young people taking up instruments is in decline, nothing is more important than musical instruction at a young age and promoting young talents. Extremely popular was the Music4Kids event, at which kindergarten and school children have the chance to take their first musical steps under the supervision of music teachers. This year's Music4Kids was better attended than ever before and attracted more children from well outside Frankfurt. "We registered not only the enthusiasm of children and teachers but also the thanks of the instrument manufacturers. For them, every young musician is a potential customer. Naturally, events designed to interest children in learning to play a musical instrument are very popular among exhibitors", said Michael Bradke, the initiator of Music4Kids. Musikmesse also offered a variety of interesting activities for older children and teenage musicians. For example, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus gave young people the chance to try out their creative music ideas in a mobile recording studio with ultra-modern equipment and professional supervision. The SchoolJam competition for school bands brought talented young musicians to the big stage in the 'Festhalle' of Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre where, in addition, the European School Music Award of the Society of Music Merchants (SOMM) was also presented.

Stars and starlets, events and awards
Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound were also distinguished by a ‘glamour factor’ with demonstrations, workshops and autograph sessions with numerous renowned musicians. Stars such as Rod Gonzales (Die Ärzte), Adel Tawil, The BOSSHOSS, Rudolf Schenker (Scorpions), Jeff Beck, Victor Smolski (Rage) and Mille Petrozza (Kreator) were to be seen during the four days of the fairs. Additionally, the fairs also provided the setting for the presentation of awards for special achievements and services in the fields of music and entertainment. Saxophone legend Ernie Watts received the Frankfurt Music Prize for his extraordinary music career while stage designer Erich Wonder, who worked for many years at the ‘Schauspiel’ theatre in Frankfurt, was presented with the Opus – German Stage Award – for his lifetime achievements. And actor Heiner Lauterbach has been able to boast the title of ‘Piano Player of the Year’ since last Wednesday.
The next Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound will be held in Frankfurt am Main from 15 to 18 April 2015.

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