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In focus: PLASA Focus Leeds

PLASA's head of events, Sophie Atkinson, gives us insight into this year's upcoming show

The 11th edition of PLASA Focus Leeds is about to kick off, taking place from May 14-15 at the Royal Armouries Museum and bringing the world of live entertainment technology to the north.

Spanning two sold-out halls, the show provides a platform for 175+ leading brands showcasing new products and innovations.

Here, we caught up with PLASA’s head of events, Sophie Atkinson, about this year’s show….

How will this year’s show differ from last year?

This year, PLASA Focus Leeds is venturing into its second decade and continues to attract leading brands from around the globe. We look forward to welcoming many of the most recognisable names in pro audio, including Bose, Funktion One, Shure, Sennheiser, Martin Audio, d&b audiotechnik, Adam Hall, Sound Technology and many more.

New for this year, we are pleased to welcome Wharfdale Pro, Cambridge Sound Management, TFG Stage Technology, Virgin Voyages and Pirate Crew for the very first time. Plus, we are welcoming back JHS Pro Audio.

The show has become renowned as a UK launch pad for new products, following international launches, and this year is no exception. Visitors can get the first glimpse of Funktion One’s Vero VX and KV2 Audio’s ESD Cube, both of which are raising the bar for pro audio. Also debuting at the show is Trantec’s S5 Rack’n’Ready wireless system. 

Further audio products on show include the ArenaMatch loudspeaker from Bose, the GEO M12 line array by Nexo, the BlacklineX series from Martin Audio and the Axient Digital wireless system from Shure.

What are the highlights of the show?

The show programme boasts plenty of audio sessions, from major creative projects, to the latest technical updates, each one led by seasoned professionals who really know what they’re doing.

My top picks include: ‘More than a Venue’, in which the Royal Albert Hall’s Ollie Jeffreys and d&b audiotechnik’s Steve Jones team up to reveal the venue’s record-breaking installation; ‘The Stormzy Mix’, which welcomes audio engineer Raphael Williams to discuss the grime star’s upcoming Glastonbury headline set; and ‘Delivering Immersive Audience Experiences’ presented by Tony Szabo of L-Acoustics who will delve into L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology.

Furthermore, Audinate are back with its Level 2 Dante Certification, offering intermediate training for those already familiar with Dante looking to create more advanced systems. Always a popular session, early arrival is highly recommended to guarantee a seat!

How is PLASA Focus navigating the trade show market?

11 years and counting, PLASA Focus Leeds continues to grow in both diversity and popularity. In fact, the show is so popular that over 80 per cent of last year’s exhibitors rebooked and this year’s show sold out months ago.

The relaxed format of the show really seems to work, with friendly, pressure-free networking happening across the show floor. This is helped by the capped stand size which levels the playing field for all exhibitors and creates an intimate and informal atmosphere for visitors.

What is the focus of this year’s show and of PLASA Focus in general?

As the leading trade association for the live entertainment technology industry, PLASA works hard to provide relevant content through our events, working with industry members and developing our offerings in response. This year’s PLASA Focus Leeds is testament to that, with a series of seminars addressing the very latest technical and legislative updates, mental health in the workplace, and the launch of our National Event Lifting Training programme.

PLASA’s events portfolio is always exploring new ways for brands to participate, whether that’s through exhibiting, hosting training or presenting sessions. Furthermore, we continue to develop ideas for future Focus events, searching for fantastic venues and brainstorming content ideas.

Looking towards the future, we can’t wait to build on the success of last year’s PLASA Show in London in September, and we return in March 2020 with a revived PLASA Focus Glasgow. 

PLASA Focus Leeds runs from May 14-15 at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds. To browse the programme and register for your free ticket visit