Well, I must say now that my visit to the Frankfurt Musikmesse is over, what a treat it was! I’ve been to many NAMM shows in California which is super exciting as well, but Musikmesse is an entirely different experience. First of all, the show is enormous! The show guide indicates seven halls, each of which are at minimum the same footage as a regulation size CFL football field, with several equaling the size of two or more. Not kidding! I expected it would be big, but I had no idea.
Roland’s booth was pretty slick in that it was laid out for lots of hands-on opportunities that were positioned in and around demonstration stages, so when a demonstrator got you pumped on a new technology you could turn around and test drive it right there on the spot. The new RC-505 Loop Station was a show stopper! It offers unbelievable creativity for any musician looking to enhance their performance or even use it to jam out ideas for composing. The smiles from the onlookers told me it was a hit!
Every part of the music industry was represented in their own hall, with every manufacturer proudly displaying their products using incredible imagery, and of course, the world’s best musicians! The difference I notice here from the NAMM show is definitely the musicians. In the western world, music and entertainment is of course huge, just as it is here. But musicians seem much more serious about their craft in all fields of music, from pop to classical. There is an intensity and a passion for the artistry which could be seen and felt.
I found myself in a huge area where all you could see in every direction were accordions, and every 10 steps you could be entertained with mind-blowing accordion chops. In this part of the world, musicians are very serious about the accordion and I heard a lot of buzz about how the Roland V-Accordion was opening many doors of inspiration for these musicians to go beyond the traditional instrument. A 7-piece saxophone group shredded out ABBA tunes, and string ensembles did neo-classical to speed metal versions of pop songs. Crazy!
The last day of the show I took it upon myself to try and find a few points of interest, one being pro audio and the Roland Systems Group division of our company. I soon found out that there were actually more than seven halls – two more that housed pro audio and stage lighting. For a few hours I wandered through this exhilarating section of the show being mesmerized by all that was there. I did find RSG in a great location with lots of opportunity to get your hands on all their technology; very cool things were happening there!
If ever you find yourself in Germany at this time of year and you have even the smallest interest in music, this show is a must see!