Prolight + Sound 2022 - Successful #Restart Reunites the Industry

3 May 2022

Between 26.04.2022 and 29.04.2022, Prolight + Sound 2022 occurred as a live trade fair. It marked the successful #restart of the entertainment industry. It also marked the beginning of the 2022 trade fair season for Frankfurt. The lifting of trade fair restrictions aided in promoting a jubilant atmosphere. The edition featured many new areas and presentation formats. This included the premiere Green Event Day. Around 20,000 visitors from 93 countries and 391 exhibitors attended the edition. The rendition featured a high level of internationality, with participants representing five continents.

Prolight + Sound 2022 occurred as a live trade fair. It featured relieved Covid-19 restrictions. This was due to the State of Hessen easing its domestic coronavirus guidelines on 02.04.2022. Such a step took place after extensive consideration of the current infection situation. As a result, many safety measures were no longer applicable to Messe Frankfurt. This included attendees not needing to present 3G documents before entering the fair. Messe Frankfurt also no longer had capacity restrictions in place. Attendees, additionally, were no longer obligated to wear mouth and nose protection. Yet, several precautions remained to reduce infection risks. This included all event spaces receiving a continuous supply of external air. Many areas, furthermore, featured disinfectant dispensers. Messe Frankfurt GmbH also advised attendees to wear a surgical mask during congestion situations. The lifting of the restrictions was quite welcome by all participants.

Prolight + Sound 2022 featured six themes, one of which was novel for the event:

  • ProStage
  • ProLight
  • ProGreen
  • ProMedia
  • ProEvent
  • ProAudio

ProStage focused on subjects and innovations related to stage machinery. ProLight once again concentrated on professional lighting topics and innovative technologies. This included projectors, spotlights, lighting control, laser and stage effects. The featured topics included:

  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • Digital transmission protocols
  • Intelligent light controls
  • Pixel/voxel mapping

ProGreen was a novel theme that reflected the mega-trend of sustainability. ProMedia once again highlighted the central theme of AV media technologies. It also focused on display/projection equipment and system integration solutions. This included showcasing the latest developments. One such example was digital/interactive signage. The theme also focused on AVoIP, projection mapping, UC&C and digital audio networking. The subject also featured exhibitors presenting their projects and best practices. For the task, they displayed them via live demonstrations.

ProEvent highlighted equipment, insights and topics of interest for event managers. This included innovative event technologies. The theme also offered the latest event safety/security insights, software solutions, and trend information. Among the discussed topics were ideas for hosting successful corporate and green events. They also featured the latest digitalisation innovations and post-corona crisis business developments. ProAudio once more presented the entire range of audio technology products. This included:

  • Live and concert sound reinforcement
  • Fixed installations
  • Broadcast/studio solutions

It also showcased PA systems in real-time conditions. Essential topics, such as immersive audio applications and technological innovations, were likewise presented.

The novel Main Stage featured ProAudio as a theme and showcase area. The central topic featured an extensive event programme. It focused on diverse subjects and included many new sub-events and zones. One of the novel additions was Studio Village. This was a display area where attendees could use affordable and well-resourced stands. These stands allowed them to present their latest products, such as:

  • Studio microphones
  • Mixing consoles
  • Signal processors
  • Amplifiers
  • Recording hardware/software
  • Furniture
  • Acoustic elements

It also incorporated a workshop area known as Studio Lab. The Lab was where participants could conduct product demos and attend seminars. The topics and demonstrations focused on music production, instrument mastering and mixing. This allowed attendees to experience the latest innovations in real-time simulations. It also allowed them to exchange ideas with leading manufacturers and product experts.

Another significant sub-event addition to the ProAudio theme was the Sound Experience Hub. This was a new presentation area that presented the latest sound reinforcement solutions. These were displayed in real-time conditions. This included a zone where attendees could examine the wares of leading exhibitors. Among them were Harmonic Design and KS Beschallungstechnik. The workshops also offered valuable insights on various topics. A leading speaker hosted each session. For instance, one demonstration featured Florian Herkert, a lead monitor engineer. He presented practical information for powerful and precise monitoring using multi-track recordings.

The Performance + Production Hub was also a new addition to the ProAudio theme. It served as an interactive Experience Zone that featured diverse micro-events. It also displayed innovative sound tools. This included ones related to audio production, DJing, and digital live performances. The schedule featured product presentations, live performances, demonstrations, and artist/expert workshops. It also included live visual showcases. Among the discussed topics were live remixing and looping. They also incorporated the future of digital sound creation and controllerism. Leading brands presented at the Hub their latest equipment, such as:

  • Mixers
  • Controllers
  • Samplers
  • Sequencers
  • Workstations
  • Synthesisers
  • The newest mobile DJ equipment
  • Groove boxes and effects

The leading exhibitors included Ableton, ADAM Hall, Decksaver, and DJCity.

One highlight of the novel Hub was the Music Production Corner. This was a central sub-event for music producers, with Ableton as its cooperator. The Corner provided insights into the creative potential of innovative software, midi controllers and beat sequencers. Ableton-certified educators demonstrated the products. They also showed the potential of fusing production with live performances. One of the notable sessions was the Field recording station. It was where connoisseurs could learn about recording mundane object sounds and integrating them into mixes.

Another highlight was the Digital Live Performance Show Stage, an elaborate show stage. It allowed leading production specialists and artists to present their skills. It also enabled visitors to examine various digital live performances. These featured synergies between auditory and visual impressions via an LED wall. The artists showcased a wide range of creative playing styles. These ranged from beat-making through finger drumming to controllerism and syntablism. Among the leading artists that showcased their skills were:

  • Live beatmaker Gnarly
  • Live visual performer Arkaei
  • Finger drummer Pedro La Kraken
  • Turntablist Ray-D
  • Live remixer Hix Boson
  • Controllerists from the Soundadd agency

The Performance Hub also included the Live Sound Branding Experience Zone. It provided insights into the latest live sound branding trends. The Zone featured the leading speakers, Tim Kroker and Alex Sonnenfeld. They accentuated the creative potential of live sound branding. This included integrating trademark product sounds into music to increase brand recognition values. Another notable highlight of the schedule was the Mobile DJing Show Stage. It provided insights into the latest creative techniques related to mobile DJing. It furthermore showcased the newest lighting/sound solutions. These took place during live presentations and featured lecturers, such as:

  • DJ Cut Cake
  • Ray-D
  • Luke Traveltone
  • DJWorkshop Germany specialists

The Jam Boxes were also one highlight of the Performance Hub. These sessions allowed attendees to examine and study new sound tools. They could also learn to improvise live performances alongside leading experts. The most popular Jam Boxes were:

  • Music Apps & Scratching
  • Modular System
  • Syntablism

The Music Apps session showcased digital music applications and DJ hardware. The Modular System was a must-attend for connoisseurs seeking modules from leading manufacturers. Syntablism allowed attendees to learn about the art of using a modular synthesiser. In particular, it detailed using ones controlled by movements done on a DJ set-up.

The ProAudio Theme also featured as a highlight the Live Sound Area. It displayed the latest stage designs and sound systems via real-time simulations. Like many event zones, it featured a few novel additions. This included presenting large PA systems via live open-air site sound demonstrations. The Live Sound Area featured a special event that took place on 27.04.2022. The micro-event featured Christian Eigner from Depeche Mode performing a live 30-minute excerpt.

The ProStage Theme also took place at a new Stage known as Theatre + Light. Hall 12.0 served as its hosting location. It featured a presentation area for innovative theatre, stage and lighting technologies solutions. This included upper/lower-stage machinery, platforms, stands, lifting equipment, curtain and automation technology. It also featured special lighting and sound control console solutions. It included leading exhibitors, such as:

  • BEO Trekwerk
  • Gala Systems
  • Gerriets
  • HOF
  • MA Lighting
  • ROBE

The Theatre + Light Stage included a series of lectures and product demonstrations. These focused on the latest trends and important topics. Among them were sustainability, digitalisation, and stage-use show technology developments. This included how the newest digital standards will ease workflows. The subjects also featured energy-efficient solutions for venue event space illumination. A discussed topic was creating 3D visual effects via specialised projection materials.

Several means showcased the novel ProGreen theme. This included displaying the wares of manufacturers that can improve event operation sustainability. They received a ProGreen exhibitor label marker. Additionally, the event schedule featured guided tours. During the sub-event, attendees could learn about sustainable event technologies. They could also observe such innovations in action. The edition showcased the theme via the Future Hub and its novel exhibition area. Sustainability via 100% green electricity and recyclable materials enabled the area's creation. ProGreen was also the central topic of the premiere Green Event Day that debuted on 27.04.2022.

The Green Event Day featured a diverse programme that focused on sustainability. This included discussing topics such as how the EU Green Deal affects the industry. Representatives from many associations and various companies debated such issues. Additionally, the participants and leading speakers discussing such subjects included venue representatives. This included Düsseldorfer Congress GmbH. Members of tourism boards, communication and event agencies also took part. One highlight of the programme was the presentation and Q&A lecture held by Stefan Lohmann. During the lecture, he detailed the 16 Steps Initiative. He also accentuated the importance of ecological actions to better competitiveness.

The Opus–German Stage Award once again lauded the latest innovations. This included its novel 2022 category - the Opus AVantgarde. "Woodkid @ ZDF Magazin Royale" received the Special Award due to its technological breakthrough. It featured the creation of an AR version of the artist for the joint appearance with RTO_Ehrenfeld. For the task, specialists implemented complex photogrammetry processes. This included a combination of recording the artist in a France-based green studio. They then processed the 3D model as a virtual scene via the Unreal Engine. The process also featured merging the VR scene with the image produced in Cologne via AR. The winner of the main Opus category was the Dionysos Stadt Open Air project. The Munich Kammerspiele and director Christopher Rüping hosted it in July 2021.

Innovations were likewise honoured through the new Next Lightshow Award. This was a novel sub-event and competition that lauded young creative trainees. The transitional educational platform EventCampus aided in hosting the micro-event. The competitors showcased achievements in the practical aspects of light show/light design. They had to present a 90-second lighting show video in one of the four categories. The divisions were live, fixed objects/exhibition, theatre, and visualisation. The election of the winners took place in two phases - Public Voting and Expert Voting. Public Voting featured participants electing a choice project. The second phase included the jury of experts voting for a select submission. The award received by the winners comprised a trophy and 500 euros.

Prolight + Sound 2022 also showcased the themes and leading topics via the conferences. For instance, the Prolight + Sound Conference detailed post-pandemic business development. It also discussed the shortage of skilled workers. It additionally over-viewed the current status of the industry. The International Event Safety Conference or I-ESC also examined essential topics. Among them were:

  • Safe event operations
  • Ventilation/hygiene concepts
  • Crowd management
  • The latest occupational safety standards

The Manufacturers Forum also contributed to the presentation of the themes. It presented the latest innovations and practical applications. Leading companies such as NTi Audio showcased the solutions. Among the notable sessions were:

  • Transform An event room Into a dynamic architecture
  • Energy-efficient lighting for venues
  • LIGHT - NOISE - AIR event rooms with a focus on sustainability
  • Overview of Generation Z's desire for attitude and sustainability
  • Sustainability in lighting: The Robe Transferable LED Engine Concept
  • STAGE IN MOTION - A behind-the-scene overview of on-stage kinetic installations
  • One Fixture format for all—An introduction to GDTF
  • Digital collaboration and paperwork management
  • Communication SUSTAINFESTIVAL: Continuous, authentic, transparent and credible
  • Entertainment Technology–DigitaliSation: Innovative Formats, Products, and Approaches for a More Sustainable Future

Prolight + Sound 2022 featured a high level of internationality and executive presence. Participants represented five continents, including Europe, Asia, Australia, and the two Americas. The countries with the highest participation rates were:

  • France
  • The Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Great Britain
  • Italy

A total of 391 exhibitors attended the edition alongside 19,121 visitors. The visitor nations totalled 93 while the number of exhibitor countries totalled 32. Attendees were quite satisfied with the edition. Around two-thirds of the attendants expect the situation in the sector to improve as well.