Early February was the time for back-to-back industry get-togethers with SIEL 2000 in Paris and the Live! Show in London providing a chance to get the latest news from Europe, where the economy seems robust and everybody is busy. The "Chunnel" train provides almost door-to-door transportation, making it easy to attend both shows in the same week.

The 18th annual SIEL took place February 6-9 at the Parisian exhibition center at Porte de Versailles, with 295 companies exhibiting and 24,356 attendees. Great Britain was the country of honor, with Union Jacks on the aisle signs and a British-style pub called the George Hotel, next to the PLASA booth, offering a sanctuary for visiting Brits and Anglophiles alike.

Martin Professional had a major presence at the show, not only with a large booth but also with Martin-sponsored plastic bags given out at the entry to the exhibit floor. Martin cups and napkins were also served at the concession stands where the staff was appropriately dressed in snappy black T-shirts.

LCB Distribution, under the direction of Jean-Paul Querry, had a busy booth near the front of the show, with a wide range of lighting and sound products by such companies as MDG, Zero 88, ETC, City Theatrical, and Kupo. Marc Gringas of MDG was on hand to demonstrate several models of its Atmosphere and fog machines which were seen for the first time at SIEL this year. Recent European installations for MDG include the Royal Opera House in London and La Scala in Milan. City Theatrical's AutoYoke also made its French debut on the LCB stand.

Strand Lighting had its mobile truck unit on the show floor to support its latest range of products, as well as its new French office and showroom (located at 1 rue l'Arc de Triomphe, 75017 Paris), run by sales manager Alain Wisniewski. SIEL is also the perfect showcase for home-grown French products such as the award-winning Cyrano followspot from Robert Juliat, large-scale projectors from Hardware for Xenon, and E\T\C Audiovisuel's popular PIGI projectors. A complete exhibitor list and additional information can be found at the website, siel.reed-oip.fr.

The Live! Show was held on February 9-10, and took place for the second consecutive year at Alexander Palace in North London (hard to get to, but worth the ride). One of the most popular spots was the Bandit Lites Guinness bar, which offered "stout refreshment" in the West Hall. Clay Paky and Pulsar were among the sponsors of the show, providing lighting gear for the annual Live! Awards dinner held February 9 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel. Additional sponsors included Avolites, and Blackout for rigging and draperies.

The 2000 Live! Awards dinner is the highlight of the two-day event, a small but useful show for attendees. Among the winners in various lighting categories were: New Lighting Product of the Year, High End Studio Beam(TM) PC; Lighting Control Desk of the Year, Flying Pig Systems Wholehog II; Lighting Production Company of the Year, Neg Earth; Video Production Company of the Year, PSL; Lighting Designer of the Year, Paul Normandale; Live Video Director of the Year, Blue Leach; and Avolites Young Lighting Designer of the Year, Dave Gibbon. PCM won the Live! Award for Excellence in Training for the second year in a row, and also sponsored the Rigger of the Year award, which went to Ken Mehmed of Vertigo Rigging.

The Live! Show is produced by Nexus Music Division, which also publishes Live! magazine. For additional information, contact robin.johnson@nexusmedia.com.