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PLASA Show celebrates successful 40th anniversary

This year’s PLASA Show reportedly saw an increase in visitor numbers, a sold out showfloor and a 25% increase in the number of audio companies exhibiting, signalling last year’s move back to West London has paid dividends.

In addition, there was a strong increase in the number of international attendees and positive feedback on the seminar programme and the number of new products exhibited.

“The quality of the people was bang on,” said Mick Hannaford from Robe. “The amazing thing from our point of view was the amount of lighting designers attending, especially on the Sunday, and not just from the UK, but mainland Europe, too. It was a really impressive. Undoubtedly, the move back to West London is making that happen. Every time I looked, there were lots of conversations going on around the showfloor. I think every exhibitor should be happy. It was magic!”

The increase in audio exhibitors was reflected in the number of new audio products launched at the show, which included Harman’s Vi1000 digital mixing console on the stand of its UK distributor Sound Technology, Adamson’s IS-Series installation loudspeakers and KV2 Audio’s VHD 2.18J subwoofer. On the SSE Audio Group stand there was a line-up of new products on display including the recently launched DiGiCo SD12 digital mixing console and Sennheiser Digital 6000 Series microphones, Speechline Digital Wireless conference system and XS Wireless 1 and 2 vocal microphone sets.

“We’ve been exhibiting at PLASA for around 10 years and have built our stand as an audio village,” said SSE Audio’s MD John Penn. “We feature a selection of the manufacturers we work closely with and they all bring their latest technology to the show. By sharing a big space and resources, we can display a good cross section of products. We show both competing and complementary technologies, allowing our customers to see the differences between them and no one feels they’re getting the hard sell. It works very well.”

New offerings in lighting included Robe’s MegaPointe multi-purpose moving light, City Theatrical’s new DMXcat controller, three new lighting essentials from CLF – the Yara, Ares XS and LEDwash XL – and the Maverik MK2 Profile from Chauvet. High End Systems launched its new SolaFrame 750 automated luminaire, Artistic Licence its DMX-Protect, and Elation Professional the Artiste Dali, a full-featured moving head with state-of-the-art LED / Laser Phosphor light engine and the Dartz 360, a full colour-mixing LED beam/spot fixture with gobos and effects.

“The show was genuinely good and there was a buzz there,” commented Chauvet’s UK general manager, Cliff Dounting. “From a UK perspective, it has been very positive. We certainly had a crowded stand and we hope the success of the launch of the new products brings the results we want. May PLASA continue for many more years.”

This year’s seminar programme included sessions from sound designers Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin talking about their work to build a shifting world of sound on The Encounter; ‘Video As Light’ hosted by award winning video and projection designer Nina Dunn; ‘Bringing the Rock n Roll experience to live events’ with renowned director and production designer Nicoline Refsing; the three original founders of Flying Pig Systems – Nick Archdale, Nils Thorjussen and Tom Thorne – discussing the creation of the Wholehog back in 1991-2 in ‘Can Pigs Still Fly?’; and ‘360 Degrees of Sound’, where an expert-led panel, hosted by industry journalist Phil Ward, discussed new formats that are blazing a trail for 3D audio. A one-day Dante training workshop also proved to be a highlight on the programme, with a 30% increase in attendance on last year.

“This year’s Show was a fantastic celebration of 40 years of PLASA and a real validation of our decision to return to West London,” said PLASA’s Christopher Toulmin, director of events. “The showfloor was extremely busy across all three days, there was a tangible atmosphere of urgency and engagement and we’re delighted with the feedback from both our exhibitors and visitors to the show. Work has already begun on PLASA Show 2018 and we look forward to it with great anticipation.”