Was PL&S ME just Palme by another name?
UAE: It is very difficult to categorise the success or otherwise of the inaugural Pro Light & Sound Middle East. A look at the scale of the floor plan with only 43 booths would suggest that little has changed from the final Palme show. Indeed, the question was raised on the show floor of how many laps you could do with a gentle 10 minute stroll around the aisles.
There were also clear frustrations about the cost of floor space at the event. One of the constant comments from both exhibitors and those who decided to give it a miss this year concerned whether the show could deliver a return on investment for those who decided to take part.
Those visitors who had contemplated exhibiting no doubt left DWTC convinced they had made the right decision. Curiosity drew people to the show, but there was little evidence that visitors stayed for long or indeed that they would miss anything that meant they had to come back for a second visit.
Yet despite this, there was a sense of positivity amongst many exhibitors. The show never felt busy, but it was the right kind of people who were in attendance. There was a diverse crowd from across the region and despite taking place during the busy period for the live sound crowd who the show is aimed at, there were a few members of the rental community walking the show floor.
Optimism could also be drawn from the people who had decided to take stands. The end of the Palme show was categorised by a number of unfamiliar brand names blazing out across the show floor. At Pro Light & Sound there was only a small contingent that would match this criteria amongst some well-known manufacturers including Sennheiser, Bose, Genelec, Adam Hall and Penn Elcom as well as local distributors GSL, Martin Pro ME, Aaviss, AVL Electronic and Echo Beats.
Praise too has to be given to the organiser for a number of initiatives such as the outdoor loudspeaker demo area that gave attendees the chance to listen to systems from Electro-Voice, dBTechnologies, Dynacord and Z Sound and the broad education programme with sessions from the likes of RME’s Joost Bullens and Jan Leerschool from Pan Acoustics. But it was the business match scheme that seemed to be drawing the most satisfaction from exhibitors as they were able to prearrange meetings with visitors who were actively seeking solutions.
It would be easy to brand this show as Palme by another name, and there are distinct echoes of the dearly departed gathering. Yet this has the feeling of an event that has been stripped of some of the negativity. There is no doubt the brand has encouraged some visitors and exhibitors to give the show a chance. But it will need more than just a strong brand name if it is going to grow into a successful and important regional tradeshow.
Pro Light & Sound continues at the Dubai World Trade Centre until November 2nd.