Former Total Production International editor Mark Cunningham (pictured) is the primary force behind the liveculture expo2012 and accompanying liveculture awards2012 gala dinner.
Described as a new technology showcase and business networking opportunity for live event producers, technicians, technology providers, designers and scenographers, liveculture expo2012 will take place from 29 April to 1 May at Wembley Stadium.
Replacing its 1923-built predecessor, the new Wembley Stadium has placed a considerable emphasis on being a multi-disciplinary venue. Alongside its sporting capacities, it offers 9,400sqm of exhibition space including seminar rooms, VIP boxes for meetings and demos, and extensive catering areas. These facilities are complemented by a choice of nearby hotels, good transport links and parking for 4,000 vehicles.
“It is a privilege to be promoting a genuinely game-changing trade expo which for the first time presents a practical demonstration facility for new audio, lighting, video and scenic technologies — a pitch-side stage in the Stadium bowl itself,” said Cunningham, who left his long-running position at TPi last month and will now serve as CEO of liveculture media. “It is particularly appropriate that the debut of this show coincides with the 40th anniversary of the first concert ever staged at Wembley Stadium [1972’s The London Rock & Roll Show].”
Cunningham highlights the careful scheduling – “immediately before the live industry embarks on its summer events schedule (and London Olympics)” – and extensive programme of discussion forums, keynote seminars and training workshops. The event will culminate with a gala awards dinner for 1,000 guests on the second night (30 April) celebrating 40 years of industry achievements.
“The industry is ready for a fresh approach to real world systems presentations,” said Cunningham. “Historically, demonstration environments available at most of the standard trade events have been so removed from the realities of what these products were designed for, that they are rendered virtually meaningless. The inaugural liveculture expo2012 will change all of this.”
Inevitably, many industry observers will wonder what the launch of this new event means for the traditional high-point of the London pro-AV calendar – the PLASA Show in September. While declining to respond directly to some of the points raised by Cunningham’s statement, PLASA director of events Nicky Rowland gave PSNE the impression that it was very much a case of business as usual.
“It is fair to say that all our energies are currently focused on delivering the best possible B2B trade events and conferences for our customers, and to ensure that they meet the needs of the industry,” she says. “There are some exciting new developments which we are currently working on for our existing events as well as some new ideas.”
Whether or not London can support two major pro-sector exhibitions – particularly in a period of depressed economic development – remains to be seen. And while many will echo Cunningham’s sentiments about the paucity of good-quality demo facilities across the trade show scene in general, the cavernous spaces of Wembley may not constitute everybody’s idea of the best possible solution.