This year's instalment of the Prolight+Sound trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany, was the largest and most successful in the event's history.
More than 112,000 visitors attended this year's Prolight+Sound trade fair, ensuring the show consolidated its position as the world's largest pro audio, lighting and live staging production industry event.
"With 837 exhibitors from 42 countries, the show also set a new record in terms of exhibitor numbers," claims Detlef Braun, member of the Board of Management of event organiser Messe Frankfurt.
This year's event was arguably the most comprehensive to date in terms of its scope and enhanced service offering to visitors and exhibitors alike.
The Prolight+Sound Media Systems trade fair, which was staged in conjunction with the main exhibition, featured cutting-edge innovations from the media technology and systems integration sectors.
With approximately 35 lectures and panel discussions, the Media Systems Congress was the largest information event at this year's Prolight+Sound.
With this year's show registering a five percent increase in exhibitor numbers compared to last year, Braun suggested the event also attracted a larger number of event management firms specialising in every facet of event production, from planning and logistics to sourcing AV content and associated technologies.
This year's show also boasted an increase in the number of exhibitors and delegates travelling to Frankfurt from outside Europe.
In terms of individual countries, China posted the largest contingent of foreign participants with 74 exhibitors, followed by Great Britain with 59 exhibitors, the USA (51), Italy (54) and Taiwan (33).
With foreign exhibitors accounting for 59 percent of total exhibitor numbers, this year's instalment was the most internationalised in the event's history.
Braun attributes Prolight+Sound's growing profile internationally to its commitment to "sector integration".
"As well as audio and video segment digitalisation, the profitability of trades and services is becoming an increasingly important theme," he says.
"New developments in LED and LCD technology for example are impacting [various industry sub-sectors]."
A recent report commissioned by Germany's preeminent industry body, the Professional Lighting and Sound Technology Trade Association (Verband für professionelle Licht- und Tontechnik - VPLT), found the country's live events industry employed more than 10,000 professionals and enjoyed annual turnover of more than US$4.5 billion.
In a bid to tap this booming market, this year's show also featured for the first time a dedicated 'MICE [meetings, incentives, conventions, events] display area'.
The initiative proved a great success according to event organisers, attracting a cross-section of industry players including venue operators, event planners, managers and marketing executives.
"The MICE exhibition marked an important step aimed at rounding off the range of products and services at the fair," says Jürgen Kupczik, director of Prolight+Sound.
"Prolight+Sound is where the event sector gets together. The expansion of the fair to target venue operators is a logical step forward."
This year's Prolight+Sound remained a showcase for award ceremonies, lectures, workshops, symposia and training events.
The outdoor Pro Stage area hosted a series of seminars focusing on the technical and legal issues surrounding the construction and operation of a festival stage.
In addition to the lecture programme, the Prolight + Sound Media Systems Congress also presented a range of case studies focusing on issues relating to systems integration and event planning.
Following the success of this year's show, organisers are well-advanced in their planning for the 2009 event, which will be staged at the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre from 1-4 April.
Martin Professional debuted new moving heads including an extra bright version of the MAC 2000 Wash; new indoor and outdoor LED luminaires; new Mania flower and rollerscan effect lights; new Magnum and Jem brand smoke machines; new lighting control systems and more.
AKG previewed its new D40 instrument mic and Perception range of condenser mics, in addition to a new batch of professional headphones.
MA Lighting showcased its next-generation GrandMA 2 lighting console, while Allen & Heath unveiled two new additions to its ZED range of small-format USB mixers for live performance, recording and production.
The ZED-12FX (6 mono + 3 dual stereo channels) and ZED-22FX (16 mono + 3 dual stereo channels) retain the same professional feature set as other models in the range with the addition of a comprehensive section of in-house designed effects.
Klark Teknik introduced its Square ONE Splitter, which is the third addition to the popular Square ONE range.
Packaged in a road-worthy, 2U steel chassis, the Square ONE Splitter combines a simple eight-channel solution with a high-performance, Midas XL8-inspired pre-amp design, making it ideal for applications ranging from concert sound production to recording.
Beyerdynamic launched its new MCS 20 conference system, while Prolyte unveiled no less than five new staging technologies at the show, including its Mammoth Truss, Hybrid Coupler and PRO-Wheels truss dolly.