Equipson on the value of tradeshows

Juan Jose Vila, Equipson COO, AFIAL President, and BikeFest member, shares his optimism for the future of the live entertainment sector post-ISE 2023.

Juan Jose Vila, Equipson COO, AFIAL President, and BikeFest member, reflects on the success of ISE 2023.

What were some of your goals going into ISE 2023?

“We had several important goals for ISE. These included: Equipson’s new brand strategy. We have been building a strategy based on vertical independent brands (WORKPRO for audio, LightShark for lighting control, FANTEK for lifting and staging, etc.) for some time. At ISE 2023, we were able to highlight the final structure by showcasing the various brands, as well as renewing Equipson’s own brand. We believe these developments and the new image for our WORKPRO brand were well received by our customers and visitors. This revamped image was also received well. 

“In addition, we launched the LS-CORE iO, the first lighting console designed for integrators, which received a lot of attention and was even noticed by the King of Spain who visited our booth. The debut of SYNTHEA amplifiers were another draw to our stand as they offer built-in DSP managed by an integrated web server and the new Integra DSP matrix systems, as well as to highlighting the completion of the WORKPRO range of outdoor loudspeakers with IP65-rated subwoofers, and the new NEO Marine for sea waterproof situations.”

How does it feel to have ISE hosted in your home country? 

“Obviously, it is very good for us as it is much easier to attend a show in your own country. The only downside is that we attract a lot more visitors, so we need more space on the stand and more staff to cope with that. This year, we brought our entire national sales team, but it was worth it. Of course, having the show in Barcelona was even more special to me because I rode there from Valencia on my bike to raise money and awareness for BikeFest.”

Tell us more about this year’s BikeFest experience…

“I’ll just mention two numbers: 22 riders and over £50K raised. If you had told me this would happen when we started planning it last September, I would not have believed it. I can’t explain in words what it means to me to witness the commitment that all the riders and donors made to this project, which I co-founded with Nicky Greet and all the #WeMakeEvents team. Once again, we had good weather, and we all felt we were helping to raise awareness about our industry and raise funds for the charities involved. We also enjoyed a great cycling route and built strong relationships with the other riders. I hope next year we can attract at least 30 riders and, of course, I hope we can raise even more money for charity projects that the industry needs so much. I am really satisfied with how it went.”

What are your thoughts on the year ahead?

“I believe 2023 will be a fantastic year, particularly for the live events sector, as many rental companies that I have spoken to are saying they are already booked for almost the entire year. However, we also need to address challenges like the lack of components crisis, which is still alive, the effects of the war in Ukraine and the incredible inflation levels that most of Europe is struggling with. There are too many variables to predict what 2024 will be like, but for now at least I can say with some certainty that 2023 is looking good.”

Has this year’s show reaffirmed the importance of tradeshows? 

“I have always believed tradeshows are important – that’s why we never stopped exhibiting at ISE, and why we even supported ISE in 2021 when only a few companies and attendees made it to the show. We all know how to have a meeting via video call, but you still need the in-person interaction. I have seen many situations when it takes ages to close a deal until you sit down with the customer face to face – then you close it in minutes. There are things you just can’t do with a video call, and that’s why it is so important to have tradeshows.”