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Prolight + Sound held its first virtual event on April 13. Event experts met online at BIZLounge to discuss topical items for the sector, such as restart strategies for pandemic times, sustainability and green events, the effect of Brexit and education of event professionals.
“Despite the corona-related cancellation of Prolight + Sound, the industry came together at the BIZLounge in the digital space for an immensely important exchange of ideas,” said Mira Wölfel, director of Prolight + Sound. “The event industry has shown that it can pull together when it comes to finding solutions for the way out of the crisis and to not lose sight of important goals for the future. We are very pleased about the insightful discussions with top-class experts – and also about the many international participants who followed the program from home and enriched it with their questions.”
Members of the “Forum Veranstaltungswirtschaft,” an alliance of authoritative trade associations, gave an overview of their Restart Manifesto. Drawing on recent model event such as ones put on in the Netherlands, they proposed a restart plan that involves strict requirements on hygiene and testing. The panel noted that the risk of infection is lower at events with a strict hygiene concept than at uncontrolled gatherings that escape official supervision. Additionally, testing before events is an important key to identifying infected persons and preventing further spread of the virus in private and professional contexts, panelists said.
Representatives of the industry associations VPLT (Germany), PLASA (U.K.) and PEARLE (EU) discussed the immediate effects of the U.K.’s exit from the European Union. They covered topics such as customs declarations, different marking requirements for technical products (CE vs. UKCE) and the high bureaucratic effort of applying for visas. Only when the pandemic-related travel restrictions are lifted, will the effects of Brexit really be felt, said the panel participants.
A panel on sustainability included representatives of the EVVC, the European Music Council and the UFI Sustainable Development Working Group. They noted that the event industry must actively drive the change towards more sustainability. The participants referred to a broad concept of sustainability that takes into account not only ecological but also social and cultural aspects. For example, they said, it is part of sustainable action to counteract market concentration and the associated loss of variety in the event sector, as well as a commitment to diversity and gender justice. They made the point that “green events” don’t have to be more costly.
Christian Allabauer of the Austrian Theatre Technology Association said that it is now up to the industry to take responsibility for sustainable action, with such actions as consciously using the most energy-efficient solutions possible, taking into account the required light spectrum, consistently switching off equipment that is not in use, using replaceable or repairable light sources, recycling and industry players actively keeping up-to-date with technological developments.
The speakers on education noted that while it is challenging to provide practical training when there are so few events right now, there are opportunities in learning the pertinent topics for the future, such as hybrid event, virtual productions and safety and hygiene. The digital transformation is forcing educational institutions to change, and not just since the outbreak of the pandemic, said the panelists. In addition, lifelong learning will gain in importance in the future.
The Prolight + Sound BIZLounge concluded with the presentation of two industry awards. The “Sinus — Systems Integration Award” honored the “Osram — World of Light” in Munich. The production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at the Seebühne Bregenz won the “Opus — German Stage Award.”
Prolight + Sound intends to keep the entertainment technology industry up-to-date on current developments digitally. The next edition of BIZLounge is planned for June 14, 2021.