With the Performance + Production Hub, the audio production area at Prolight + Sound 2022 will have a new interactive experience zone for companies and visitors. In cooperation with the makers of the Sample Music Festival, product presentations, demos, live performances and workshops by artists and experts from well-known brands will be bundled here. In the run-up to the fair, we spoke to Alexander Sonnenfeld from SampleMusicFestival about the new Performance + Production Hub.
You will be co-hosting the Performance + Production Hub with Prolight + Sound. Tell us what visitors can see and experience there?
First and foremost, the Performance + Production Hub is an exhibition area to find out about technologies and the latest trends in DJing, music production, live visuals and analogue systems. Current products from brands such as LD Systems, Panasonic, Ableton, Native Instruments, Arturia, Doepfer, PioneerDJ, Denon, AKAI, RANE, Tascam, Ortofon and many more will be presented and demonstrated here. Our exhibition concept differs from the classic trade fair environment. The equipment will not be presented independently, but will be part of a huge Experience Zone. For this purpose, about 20 artists and product specialists will stage an innovative supporting programme on several action areas.
So visitors can expect an exciting constellation of manufacturers. Sound technology from LD-Systems, for example, will provide the right sound. The stage elements come from HUMPTER as well as LiteConsole and all logo placements of our partners will be impressively staged on a 5x2m wall by LEDitgo.
Music equipment from up to ten different manufacturers can be found on a single Jam Box and everything is interconnected. Thus, the interaction of the individual systems or the hands-on experience of the visitor is in the foreground. Our product specialists accompany this and are on hand with advice and support.
This also applies to the so-called Music Production Corner, which this year will focus on the topic of field recording – i.e. the recording and processing of sounds into music. In a special Isolation Booth, you can record these sounds with a TASCAM field recorder and then turn them into music on an ABLETON workstation including applications from Native Instruments & IZOTOPE. In this way, we connect the product with an experience through a concrete application idea. This even goes so far that our audience can change the lights of the show stage in real time while the daily programme is running. The visitor becomes part of the performance and takes away much more than a printed burlap bag.
As Prolight + Sound is a trade fair, we have also developed a concept to directly address the corporate environment. With Live Sound Branding, for example, our artists use modern possibilities of entertainment technology to advertise companies. For this purpose, the visual or acoustic logos of the brands are remixed or pure product sounds are transformed into tracks. All this happens live on stage and we are looking forward to performing showcases for our partners LD Systems or Radisson Hotel Group for the first time.
At a separate Experience Zone, you can also try out different methods and technologies of live sound branding yourself. For this purpose, we are working together with Soundadd from Berlin – the world’s first agency of this new kind of live marketing.
For more information, go to https://soundadd.com/.
Part of Prolight + Sound will take place in the new Portalhaus this year. Can you tell us something about the layout of the Hub?
The Performance + Production Hub is about 400 square metres in size and is located directly in the new Portalhaus of Messe Frankfurt. Visitors enter the impressive entrance hall and then take the escalator directly to our area.
On the first show stage, we will present the topic of digital live performance, and on another stage, it’s all about mobile & event DJing. Here we are working together with DJ Workshop Germany, who have a great network and have prepared interesting programme items. Visitors can expect not only spectacular showcases on controllerism, live remixing, finger drumming etc., but also lectures and workshops on lighting control, DJ techniques or business coaching.
For the first time, we will also focus on analogue systems and realise an exciting Jam Box with top brands together with the Modular Community Frankfurt. The whole thing will be rounded off by various community events such as the ABLETON User Group from Frankfurt, Modular&Synth Meet Up or Germany’s biggest networking event of the club DJ scene – the DJCity LinkUp.
All meetings will take place directly in our area on April, 28th. This will be followed by an evening event where artists, manufacturers and interested parties can meet to network – including free drinks from our partner KRAVT Signature-Drinks.
How did the idea for such an interactive Experience Zone come about?
In my opinion, a trade fair should not only be informative but also stimulating. Symbioses of different brands and technologies can help here – especially if the resulting application areas are creatively staged. Equally, it is necessary to adapt to the digital age. This applies not only to the exhibition of products and the design of the area, but also to customer contact. Visitors are already well informed in advance of the fair through reviews. That’s why many people intuitively trust the opinion of the influencer rather than the sales tactics of a sales professional. This is exactly why we focus on a relaxed hands-on experience – we only inspire and the customer extracts the best for himself. Many modern companies can identify with this.
In addition, you have to consider that the traditional image of a musician or instrument has changed decisively in the course of technological innovation. A good example is the development of DJing. In the past, people simply mixed other artists’ songs together. Nowadays, a DJ controller is almost like a complete digital audio workstation through which one’s own tracks can be remixed and sometimes even visualised in real time. The classic record player becomes a multimedia artist who can instrumentalise almost anything by hand.
In the past, manufacturers of midi controllers and software had to decide whether their products belonged at Prolight + Sound or the Musikmesse. Now that the Musikmesse has been officially discontinued, this consideration is superfluous. The challenge now is to appeal to Beethoven lovers through the exhibition concept ;-).
That’s why the Sample Music Festival is the right partner to realise the concept of the Performance + Production Hub. We are the flagship for modern styles and always strive to create interfaces with traditional music. It’s not without reason that popular music genres such as hip hop or electronic music have emerged from DJing, and in 100 years this will probably be called “classical”. So in a way, we are always in the Neanderthal of possibilities that technology will still bring us.
Many fairs have not taken place for two years. What significance do trade fairs, especially Prolight + Sound, still have now?
After this dry spell in the event sector, I see a great opportunity for Prolight + Sound to position itself even more strongly as Europe’s most important trade fair. We are making a contribution to this with the Performance + Production Hub. The Portalhaus and, in particular, Frankfurt as an international trade fair city are perfect prerequisites for opening a new chapter. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that somehow it doesn’t really work without personal contact. That’s why trade fairs and industry meetings remain an important part of social interaction.
How have you experienced the past two years, what has shaped you personally during this time? Have you perhaps even taken something with you for the future?
The last two years have of course been an enormous challenge. We had to cancel the Sample Music Festival and the cooperation with Prolight + Sound five times in a row. In return, I had much more time for my daughter and was able to work intensively with the team on the conceptual orientation of the SMF. Now we are stronger and better than ever before. Many good ideas always come out of necessity – this is especially true for the arts.
We are optimistic about the future and assume that Prolight+ Sound 2022 will take place. What expectations do you have of the fair?
My expectations are directed more towards our cooperation partners in the industry and visitors. Let’s make this event a great success together!