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2020 Dilemma: Frankfurt or Houston?

Nook Schoenfeld • Editor's NoteMarch 2020 • March 9, 2020


Nook Schoenfeld

Note: This article was written shortly before Prolight+Sound was postponed from March 31-April 3 to May 26-29, 2020.

There are a few trade shows I like to attend each year. I love the Prolight + Sound show in Frankfurt every April. It’s the largest trade show in the world that caters to all lighting, video and audio manufacturers. It’s where a lot of new gear is displayed, six months before Americans get to see it at LDI.

Another show I like to attend is the USITT show, which caters towards students and classes and basically all things theater. I get to see costumes and wigmakers, scenic backdrops and 20 different ways to light them. Plus I get to meet theater designers for the first time. It’s quite relaxed and a good show for catching up on gear.

‡‡         Frankfurt, We Have a Problem

This year by some twist of fate, both shows overlap, time-wise. The smart move dictates that I should go to Frankfurt, as it’s a larger show and I need to report back on the latest and greatest fixtures on the market. But I need to look at reality here in this time of indecision. We have a potential global pandemic to consider.

Well, the boss of the USA tells us not to worry about the Coronavirus. “It’s just the flu, a common cold.” But with our current prez spouting seven falsehoods, on average, per day since taking office, I’m just not gonna take his word on anything. Especially since it’s killing 2 percent of the people that get the virus (about 20 times the average of the normal flu). So I weighed the possibility of getting ill in a country 5,000 miles from home and facing a quarantine versus catching the disease at USITT. I have opted for Houston this year.

2020 marks the 60th year for the USITT Conference and Stage Expo. They promote the event as one where all levels of experience come together in one location. I have spoken at several of these over the years, and it’s always a worthwhile experience. It also runs at various speeds. The opening of the show is wild, as thousands of college students in attendance race the aisles in search of the free swag being offered by manufacturers. Once their swag bags are full, they circle back for actual information from the vendors in attendance.

I look forward to the Stage Directions seminars. They always seem to have a nonstop run of top-notch speakers talking about the whole gamut of theater. There are setups on the floor where folks like Phil Watson of ChamSys teaches students his console all day long. The area is packed.

I apologize, as there will be no show report from Frankfurt this year, but we will be sure to let you know what we found at USITT in an upcoming issue. In the meantime, we have tons of action-packed info on some of the latest seasonal concerts as well as tours. We have a Buyers Guide with a topic we’ve never covered before — Disco and Nightclub products — on pages 58-59. So sit back and enjoy reading about Cher, Keith Urban, King Princess and a whole lot of other tours and events this month.


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