PLASA 2018 'busiest' in years
Tuesday, 25 September 2018
showfloor-5PLASA 2018 - the 'busiest and most vibrant’ in years
UK - PLASA has said the 2018 edition of the PLASA Show has been ‘the busiest and most vibrant’ show since it moved to London Olympia in 2016.
PLASA 2018, which took place on 16-18 September, saw a 4% increase in visitors with a palpable atmosphere that was reminiscent of its popular Earls Court days. The show welcomed a stream of exhibitors and attendees from around the world, primed to explore the leading edge of live entertainment technology.
The expo also confirmed its importance for networking and trade, with 63% of visitors being final decision makers or specifiers, and a quarter being business owners, managers and directors.
Jonathan Walters, UK sales and purchasing director from A.C Entertainment Technologies comments: “This third year back in West London has really confirmed PLASA’s decision to relocate to Olympia, each show here has worked consistently well, but this year has been one of the best shows of PLASA’s history. Sunday was busy for us, but Monday surpassed all expectations. There have been many discussions over the past four years that trade shows do not generate hard sales success: Monday’s result proved that is a misnomer.”
Leisuretec’s marketing manager Charlie Hendon, adds: “The atmosphere’s been lively and exciting with plenty of opportunities to establish new business relationships and socialise with existing clients.”
Meanwhile, platinum sponsor Robe revealed the first of a trilogy of stand designs, its PLASA stand incorporating its latest lighting fixtures used to light its show-stopping production featuring a dynamic dance troupe, rain, fire and a ‘Godhead’ cave. “We decided to create a ‘Lost World’ trilogy,” explain design duo Nathan Wan and Andy Webb. “We drew inspiration from Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones and The Goonies, creating an epic fire VS water battle. We always go big, and this year saw a 22-meter wide curtain of rain!”
Major comeback for audio
The show reported a 17% increase in audio exhibitors on last year. Immersive audio was high on the agenda, with the show seeing the return of L-Acoustics as an exhibitor after several years of absence. The French manufacturer showcased its L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology. Elsewhere, d&b audiotechnik demonstrated its Soundscape technology, and Out Board highlighted its spatial reinforcement and immersive platform TiMax.
First time exhibitor Holoplot, creator of the Orion sound system, took home a PLASA Award for Innovation and also hosted two seminar sessions exploring the application of wave field synthesis for 3D sound and challenging environments. Roman Sick, Holoplot CEO comments: “The show offered the opportunity to demonstrate our product in a more intimate way, be it at our booth or at one of the seminars we conducted. The overall high quality of the visitors was convincing and we believe it was a successful event.”
Yamaha and Nexo recreated a Japanese garden theme on its stand as it showcased its latest audio solutions. Chris Irvine, Yamaha’s product manager, explains: “Rather than bringing loads of gear we built an aesthetically pleasing stand and chose a few key products - the legacy PM5D digital mixing console which is out of production, and the modern, cutting edge PM7. This has allowed us to engage with visitors regarding which products they have used over the years.”
The audio demo rooms were busy throughout the show, where KV2 Audio, OHM, Aura Audio, Shermann and RCF all demonstrated their products. Pro audio enthusiasts could also see the latest from the likes of Bose, Adam Hall, Adamson and Peavey across the show floor.
Meanwhile, at the SSE Audio Group stand visitors could experience mixing desks from Allen & Heath (dLive S5000), Avid (Venue I S6L) and DiGiCo (SD5). Drawing much attention was the custom range of microphones created by Sennheiser and Rebel, which was inspired by Star Wars characters. SSE sales director Alex Penn commented: “We’re enjoying a good amount of footfall meeting with lots of engineers and freelancers who are visiting off the back of a busy working weekend.”
Dazzled by the lights
Chauvet opted for a full LED backdrop on its stand and showcased the PLASA Award-nominees Maverick Storm 1 and COLORado Solo Batten. The 2018 show also marked an important milestone as Michael Brooksbank, European general manager, explained: “We’re celebrating our 30th year at the PLASA Show and are having a great time - it’s always a great event.”
Other lighting products on show were the Prolights Panorama IP WBX LED; the Chimp range from Infinity; Astera’s PLASA Gold Award winner, Titan Tube; Elation’s Smarty Hybrid lighting fixture; the Synergy 5 Profile from DTS; and the modular KNV LED system from GLP. Simon Barrett from GLP commented: “We’ve enjoyed a busy stand… and seen a diverse range of visitors. It really is the UK show.”
Debuting at the PLASA Show was Epson with its powerful PLASA Award-nominated EB-L1755U projector. Sales manager Sharon Head remarked: “I’ve been delighted by our first time at the PLASA Show - it has exceeded expectations. Footfall came quick and fast and we’ve met interesting new potential partners.”
Engaging seminar content
Over 2,200 people took advantage of the varied programme of panels, workshops and talks, led by industry experts from all sectors, says PLASA. The Show’s new Rigging, Production & Structures Theatre was a popular destination, with design engineer Scotty Stewart’s talk on Simple Rigging Calculations drawing a large crowd of aspiring and professional riggers.
The queue was out of the door for Creating a Mix, hosted by sound engineer Simon Hodge, and the SoundGirls were also welcomed by a full house keen to learn about the latest immersive sound systems and live mixing apps.
Another well-attended session was Giudizio Universale - Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel (see LSi June), presented by Ric Lipson of Stufish and lighting designer Rob Halliday, where visitors were taken on a visual journey through the making of the show and were treated to a demonstration of a tungsten SVOBODA light by ADB. On the following day, the Royal Shakespeare Company revealed the secrets of their ambitious production of The Tempest (see LSi March 2017) which utilised cutting edge immersive effects, including a motion capture suit worn by the lead character which allowed for an ethereal avatar to appear on stage.
Award success and charitable triumphs
The PLASA Awards for Innovation, which recognise pioneering product designs, saw a staggering 47 entries judged by a carefully selected group of industry professionals. The judges awarded all eight trophies and one Gold Award. The winners were: the ProPlex IQ Tester by TMB; EdgeMax by Bose; the Relevé Spot by ETC; SpotMe by Robert Juliat; matisse dmx by Artistic License; Synergy by Avolites; Spaceframe by PRG; and Orion by Holoplot. The Gold Award was presented to Astera’s Titan Tube.
Backup, the technical entertainment charity benefitted from £2,000 donated by LSi from the PLASA Awards for Innovation entry fees and a £10,000 donation from the Lightpower Collection photography exhibition which inspired visitors throughout the show.
A gruelling 100-mile charity-bike ride from Chippenham to the PLASA Show in London, which included PLASA MD Peter Heath along with nine colleagues from across the industry, has so far raised £1,600 worth of donations. Also during the show, Ambersphere Solutions unveiled its new scheme to donate a percentage of its training fees to Backup – back-dating the donations to the start of 2018 - and promote the charity with a short, airline-inspired video.
Next year’s show will take place at London Olympia from 15-17 September 2019.

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