The Middle East’s standing as a global destination for mega entertainment events is on the rise fuelled by Dubai’s ongoing commitment to venue investment and Saudi Arabia’s entry into the market. Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the staging of live events has given the Middle East market a significant boost with suppliers of professional lighting, audio and AV technology increasing their focus on the region.
Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA), which is responsible for the development and regulation of the Kingdom’s entertainment sector, is loosening the reins on live events as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 commitment to creating a more vibrant society.
“The commitment includes significant entertainment investments, including themed attractions, shows, culture, nature, digital, sports and sightseeing,” explained Dishan Isaac, Senior Show Manager of the Prolight + Sound Middle East exhibition which will run at the Dubai World Trade Centre from October 15-17. “The GEA has a stated ambition to become one of the top-ten global entertainment destinations and win back a share of the US$20 billion that Saudi nationals spend on the overseas sector each year. The result is that demand for AV technology in Saudi Arabia is rising with the Kingdom planning to invest US$64 billion in its entertainment industry.”
The signs of what is to come in Saudi Arabia began with Cirque du Soleil, the live entertainment brand, presenting its first performance, in the Kingdom and the forging of an agreement between Feld Entertainment, the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences with the GEA. The Authority has also struck up partnerships with other major event producers including National Geographic Encounter, IMG Artists and LuxuryKSA.
“These agreements will require new venues to be built for these entertainment programmes, fuelling increased supply opportunities in the country,” added Isaac. The Saudi expansion comes as Dubai continues to invest to retain its mantle as the region’s entertainment hub with the latest showpiece being the multi-purpose indoor Coca Cola Arena. “Dubai has set a new benchmark with this arena which can comfortably host 17,000 people in the region’s largest indoor climate-controlled venue. The bar has been lifted and the stakes are getting ever higher.”
The buoyant landscape will be reflected at Prolight + Sound Middle East, the region’s dedicated trade show for Professional Lighting, Audio & AV Technology. The fourth edition of the event this year will feature over 50 exhibitors from 10 countries and is expected to attract over 2,700 trade visitors and professionals. “The show is increasingly attracting some of the biggest names in the business who are looking to bring the very latest technological advancements into the region,” said Isaac.
LED manufacturer ROE Visual is attending the show to raise more interest in the ME market for its innovative LED products, which find their application in rental as well installation projects. With its production based in China and its sales and service activities in the US and Europe, ROE Visual is famed for their excellent customer service and engineering support. Furthermore, our presence at the show is aimed to play into demand for AV technology in Saudi Arabia said Marketing Manager Marina Prak. “The region is witnessing more demand for immersive environments and experiential branding which calls for high-quality, innovative LED products, like our fine pitch LED solutions and 4K platforms.”
Italy’s FBT Elettronica plans to roll out a wide selection of pro-audio solutions at the show and contractor products for low voltage installations. Its spokesman Roberto Mataloni says technologically induced product innovation is now a market essential. “The new product generations will include ultrafast data transfer networks as well high-quality streaming audio facilities. Probably the future will still have traditional transducers speakers to run professional audio applications, but these will be increasingly integrated with other systems in projects and live shows.”
“The new product generations will include ultrafast data transfer networks as well high-quality streaming audio facilities. Probably the future will still have traditional transducers speakers to run professional audio applications, but these will be increasingly integrated with other systems in projects and live shows.” International experts are preparing to share knowledge in the free-to-attend Events Technology and Entertainment Development Forum, which will run alongside Prolight + Sound Middle East.
“This will feature some of the brightest minds from around the globe sharing their insights and expertise through a number of tech talks, panel discussions and case study presentations,” explained Isaac. This year’s show will also feature the free-to-attend Sample Music Festival – a dedicated event with showcase and experience zone sessions for DJing, turntable expertise, control magic and live sampling for DJs, music producers and audio gurus. Well-known electronic music artists from Berlin, Paris and London will demonstrate novel sound tools and visual technology.
“The festival’s primary aim is to present equipment and encourage active visitor participation,” explained Isaac. “Show visitors can look forward to an exciting programme of workshops, showcases and competitions from the festival crew. Top brands will give visitors the chance to get their hands on the latest technology while product specialists, such as Ableton and Native Instruments, will host workshops and product demos.” This year marks the fifth instalment of the international network of Prolight + Sound events worldwide, and is co-located with Light Middle East 2019, the region’s dedicated exhibition, conference, and awards for lighting design and technology.