Welcome to 2002. I'm trying hard to think of something good to say about 2001. The best I can do: It's over. The horrors are all too familiar: the terrorism that turned our lives upside down, the economy that sputtered into recession, the fears of anthrax and God Knows What Else. However, there are some glimmers in the darkness:
First of all, the show went on at LDI. The numbers were strong, if not stunning: 7,000, virtually all of them serious buyers. Oddly enough, LDI2001 garnered some of the best exhibitor response in years. Matthew Griffiths from PLASA wrote, “All the feedback I have had about the quality of visitors has been excellent.” Anne Hunter from Apollo Design Technology said, “The show went very well for us.” Robert Partridge of Lighting & Electronics added, “The show was one of the best since 1995.”
By the way, our LDI coverage, in this month's issue, runs to several thousand words, but it only scrapes the surface of the show. Companies from Abrisa Glass to Tomcat are not mentioned, because we have adhered to a strict policy of reporting on debuts only. Read our expanded coverage at www.lightingdimensions.com for more information about products, a full list of exhibitors, and links to their websites.
There was plenty of innovative technology at the show. High End Systems' Catalyst combines lighting and video. ETC's Emphasis puts all design, record-keeping, and control functions in a single software package. Vari-Lite has made good on the industry grail of a low-cost but functional moving light. Martin's Viro features lighting and sound design — in one unit. There were interesting new products from MA Lighting, Coemar, and Avolites, to name a few. There was even a brand-new player, in Hubbell Entertainment, with a line of automated lights. You'll be reading about these and others all year long, as they roll out.
Also, there are hints of recovery in the industry, with concert tours lining up for the summer, and a full schedule of Broadway shows for the spring. Yes, there's plenty of room for improvement, but in certain markets at least, things are looking up.
There's another thing I can't stop thinking about. Check out Michael Eddy's story on page 34 about the Concert for New York and United We Stand, two benefit events that happened soon after the terrorist attacks. Each show was an emotionally raw experience, but what counts in retrospect is the way so many companies provided their gear, their staff, and their time. To see so many working together in unison for such a good cause is real cause for pride. If we can do that, then 2002 might not be so bad after all.