Now in its 18th year, Musikmesse as usual provided fertile ground for finding the latest from accordions to bongos to plectrums (a device for plucking a guitar, if you didn't know). However, as the music played on in most areas of the Frankfurt convention center, February 26-March 2, entertainment technology took the stage in halls devoted to Pro Light + Sound, a division of the show now in its third year.

Pro Light + Sound drew more exhibitors to the German trade show this year, up to 541 from last year's 480, as did the entire show, which had an increase of 150 exhibitors up to 1,871. Besides getting bigger, show organizers report the show's professional profile has improved, judging from increased international presence (100 countries represented among the 95,000 visitors) and the success of stricter admission checks this year.

In the exhibit halls, sound equipment was an obvious draw, but the lighting sector caught some eyes with several product premieres and European launches. One of the more notable debuts was Martin's MAC 600 fresnel washlight, a drive-yoke mounted projector with 440¡ pan and 306 1/4 tilt, full color-mixing system, lightweight construction (68lb [28 kg]) and multi-attachment rigging. Also drawing crowds to the Martin booth was the Lighting Director, a performer-controlled show and followspot system.

Visitors to the transtechnik GmbH booth also heard big news; AVAB Niethammer, the Swedish lighting manufacturer's German trademark, changed its name to AVAB transtechnik to reflect its alliance with transtechnik. The change comes after transtechnik, a Holzkirchen, Germany-based company, assumed 80% share-holding in AVAB AB. The move was aimed at combining expertise (transtechnik's strength in the studio field and AVAB's in theatre) to develop new products.

High End Systems' Ecodome¨ made its German debut (along with Ecodome-shaped pencil sharpeners), and was featured with the Studio Colorª. Several new products also premiered to the German market via local distributor Lightpower Showtechnik, including Clay Paky's VIP projector series, Stage Scan luminaire, and Combicolor 575, and the CE version of ETC's Source Four Jr. Strand Lighting premiered its SN104 network mode and Act 63 dimmer pack, its GeniusPro OS console software, and also introduced its GeniusPro 520 console software to the German market.

Also new to Germany was Leprecon's LP3000 lighting desk, which uses DMX512 protocol and is equipped with 18 preset faders and channel configurations of 48, 72, and 96. Two new electronic controllers were also introduced by Coemar: the Manual System 6 0/+10V and DMX512, and DMX controller 8, the first directly designed and distributed by the company.

Setting up shop in a booth with their new distributor trendco, Wybron featured the Goboram, and Avolites showed its Diamond III console and a prototype of its Truss Splitter. Trendco was formed recently when owners of Camco, Wybron and Avolites' previous German distributor, amicably split; trendco now focuses on lighting equipment and Camco represents sound equipment and its own trussing.

Making its first appearance in Frankfurt, Optikinetics featured its K-4 projector series in a booth shared by its German distributor AHA! Diversitronics also joined its German distributor Feiner in a booth featuring its new 5,000W Ultra Strobe. The LSG Low Smoke Generator and G225 hazer were featured products from Le Maitre.

Other exhibitors had the advantage of showing their wares at the trade show while putting them to practice locally. A.C. Lighting, for example, showed its expansion wing for Flying Pig Systems' Wholehog II, which also received a tryout nearby on the Michael Jackson-produced musical Sisterella at the Offenbach Musicaltheater. Across from the convention center, Italian manufacturer Space Cannon also received some local attention, lighting up the Marriott with its new architectural series.

For more about the sights and sounds of Musikmesse, and a complete booth-by-booth rundown of both lighting and sound exhibitors, see the June/July issue of LD's sister publication TCI. And for those already looking toward next year, Musikmesse/Pro Light + Sound will take place March 11-15, 1998.