Mira Wölfel: “Our focus is to create a meeting place for professionals”

Preparations for Prolight + Sound 2021 are in full swing and will bring some major changes. Next year the trade fair will no longer be held parallel to Musikmesse. Prolight + Sound started more than 25 years ago as a special show at Musikmesse and will now be completely independent. The fair is undergoing a transformation that began years ago: Prolight + Sound is a fair for professionals. The focus is clearly on business, professional exchange and trade visitors. Mira Wölfel, Director of Prolight + Sound, talks about the change and what this means for exhibitors who have been represented at both fairs to date.

From 2021, Prolight+Sound will no longer be held concurrently with Musikmesse. What changes will this mean for exhibitors and visitors?

Mira Wölfel, Director Prolight + Sound, Messe Frankfurt

Mira Wölfel, Director Prolight + Sound, Messe Frankfurt

Prolight + Sound will sharpen its profile further. As a platform devoted in a clear-cut way to business and specialist exchange of information between exhibitors and players from the industry. We expect to see an even more professional atmosphere in the halls and at the Fair and Exhibition Centre. In addition, we shall enjoy greater freedom in setting the parameters for the fair, such as opening times, hall allocation etc., since in our planning we shall not longer have to weigh up the interests of the event-technology branch against those of the music industry. In this situation, there will no longer be any mixed halls, and the whole show will be held entirely on the western section of Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre. The shorter routes will benefit both visitors and exhibitors.

What options will be available for exhibitors who have previously been represented at Musikmesse but aim to approach visitors to both shows?

Naturally, these exhibitors will be welcome at Prolight+Sound in future and will find their target groups there. This applies particularly to companies engaged in all aspects of professional audio technology. Both for live sound systems and permanent installations, as well as for studio, DJ and recording facilities, we aim to be Showroom Number 1 in Europe. Especially for product areas which visitors know mainly from Musikmesse, Prolight+Sound will be offering a "village solution", featuring cost-efficient complete stands in Hall 8.0. These will include, for example, synthesisers and sound generators, microphones, effects and signal processors, mixing decks and control systems, monitoring, recording hardware and software.

Equally relevant will be the ProDJ SMF area: in collaboration with the organisers of the Sample Music Festival, an exciting experience zone will be created, featuring interactive demonstration areas covering music production and live performance. An outstanding opportunity for manufacturers of DJ equipment or creative production tools to showcase their products and brands in action – while also directly involving their endorsers!

In the past many visitors to Musikmesse also had a look round Prolight+Sound. Must exhibitors now prepare for a drop in visitors?

Our promise to the industry is absolutely clear: we intend to bring together businesses in the entertainment-technology industry with all major decision makers. For this to succeed, in 2021 we shall be deploying greater resources than ever before. Thus there will be a hosted-buyer programme for the top decision makers in the industry, for whom we shall be paying their travel and hotel costs. Another new feature will be the opportunity for each exhibitor to invite an unlimited number of contacts to the fair, free of charge.

Naturally, we shall be adapting our marketing to reflect these changes and will be address visitors more strongly via channels relevant to all aspects of studio, DJ and recording.

But it is also plain, particularly in 2021, that quality must come before quantity. In the past the synergies with Musikmesse have certainly helped to enliven the exhibition halls. But, among the visitors who came from Musikmesse to Prolight + Sound, some were hobby users or people who sought information mainly for private interests. Our focus will lie more than ever on creating a meeting point for professionals. Given the challenges which the event industry will continue to face, this platform will be of even greater importance: we aim to stimulate purchasing propensity in the industry again and jointly spread optimism for the industry's successful relaunch.

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