PLASA Focus Breaks All Records
Not even the rain could dampen the enthusiasm at the Royal Armouries this week as PLASA Focus: Leeds 2012 opened its doors for two days of unparalleled access to the newest and most innovative products on the market for the live entertainment industry.
Visitor numbers reached a record-breaking 2122 - an increase of 8.5% on 2011. In all, 2680 people attended the show over the two days and such was the confidence felt by exhibitors that an unprecedented number of exhibitors re-booked on-site for 2013.
As always, the combination of the Professional Development Programme which profiled the effective use of new products and explored areas of special interest through seminar and discussion, together with the dozens of new products for people to get their hands on proved a massive hit with visitors and exhibitors alike.
Among the many new products making their UK debut were Chauvet Europe's latest products including the MVP 12 modular video panels, Legend 412 pixel-mapping moving yoke, Q-Wash 560Z-LED moving yoke, COLORado 2 Zoom Tour and COLORado 1-Quad Tour wash fixtures; from MIDAS, the new Generation-II Software and the new XL48 'digi-log'mic preamp; Martin Professional introduced the new Viper family of MAC moving heads, Studio Spares gave visitors the opportunity to experience their new M1000 studio headphones; FBT Audio announced its new Installed Sound division; entertainment lighting specialist White Light showcased lighting solutions from their exclusive product line; Hall Stage premiered the new, innovative Chaindrive system for T60 and T70 track systems; Highlite International presented the UK launch of over 200 brand new products including the Pipe & Drape range from Wentex; Ambersphere brought new products from Clay Paky and MA Lighting; Sennheiser unveiled the XS Wireless Series. Leeds also saw the UK premiere of the Yamaha CL Series Digital Consoles, and a new acoustic solution for stages and venues from PLASA Focus debutante Showtex, while ETC showed the new Source Four LED and the LUCAS Nano 300 made its UK debut courtesy of JHS and HK Audio.
The expanded and enhanced Professional Development Programme proved more popular than ever with sessions being divided into Special Interest seminars and Exhibitor Driven training and demonstrations. The programme range extended from a six member panel of experts debating the future role of the lighting designer from the Association of Lighting Designers and Leeds University, to a demonstration of how and why loudspeakers produce what they do in 'Can You Hear Me At the Back?' from d&b audiotechnik, where there was standing room only.
For once, the sun refused to shine but this failed to stifle the enthusiastic atmosphere among visitors and exhibitors alike. Tony Hamer, a retired lecturer from Leeds College of Music was enthusiastic about the educational benefits of PLASA events as he chatted to representatives from the Backstage Academy: "I've been coming to PLASA Leeds and London for as long as I can remember. It is the place where students can see the most bang-up-to-date equipment, talk to the most knowledgeable people and get a real feel for what's actually going on."
There was a strong representation from the education sector from institutions as far afield as the University of Glamorgan to colleges in Cumbria. Departmental technicians were all here in force: "We knew we could come here to try before we buy; you can't do that online or talk to the experts at the same time," commented Nick Smith and Martin Guppy, Performing Arts technicians from Haslingden High School. "Everyone is so friendly and helpful; it doesn't matter if you are looking for a single radio mic or a whole PA system!"
This sentiment was echoed by freelance audio engineer, Ben Tarbard, enthusing about the special Leeds atmosphere, "There's not a better place to check out new products and catch up with friends and colleagues."
Exhibitors too, were clear about the benefits of travelling north to be here. Richard Morgan from JHS was a newcomer to the show: "This is my first visit to Leeds but it has a great vibe."
As Roland Higham, a consultant in audio and control software declared, "You can't over estimate the value of face time."
PLASA Focus: Leeds 2013 will take place at the Royal Armouries Museum and Saviles Hall on Tuesday 30 April and Wednesday 1 May 2013.
PLASA Focus: Leeds 2013 Show Contact:
PLASA Events Ltd, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Warwick Rd, London, SW5 9TA
Tel: +44 (0)207 370 8666
Fax: +44 (0)207 370 8660
PLASA Events Registered No: 5912979
Images available on request