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‘Acquiring the show felt like returning to our roots’: Peter Heath on BPM Show 2024

Having acquired iconic DJ show BPM Show earlier this year, PLASA recently announced details of the highly anticipated 2024 event. Taking place at Cranmore Park on November 9-10, it promises something for the entire DJ community, from the latest new gear and innovations, to masterclasses, seminars, and educational sessions. PLASA managing director Peter Heath sat down to discuss all things BPM Show 2024, including its new partnership with Headliner, and why this year’s show is not to be missed.

For those unaware, how did the acquisition of BPM Show by PLASA come about?

There are many factors. We were looking to grow our portfolio of products and acquiring BPM Show felt like going back to our roots. When the PLASA show wasn't called the PLASA show it was run by the British Association of Discotheque Equipment Manufacturers, and this was back in the ‘70s. So, it feels like going home on many levels because the DJ community was very much part of PLASA shows up until the early 2000s. Then there was a breakaway where BPM started an independent show and off it went.

It feels like a community that we're closer to than we think we are, because if you look at the artists in the DJ sector, a lot of them look at the production and equipment that goes into their events. It is very similar to a touring artist, whether that be a theater touring or a rock ‘n’ roll band touring, so there's a lot of synergy and we felt that it was a good opportunity to try and re-engage with that synergy.

So, what is BPM Show 2024 all about?

We decided we would use the first year as an opportunity to replicate what had happened in 2023 but with a fresh approach. BPM Show over the years has been a number of things for a number of audiences, so it cuts across a number of different genres. It could be a B2C show for some, a B2B for others, an opportunity for education in terms of the content that's delivered. It’s also an opportunity to see and get hands-on with new gear that's available for DJs, whether that be decks, speaker systems, or lighting control.

How does it feel for you personally to be getting involved with another major show on top of the PLASA shows in London and Leeds?

It's exciting because the community is different to the one we normally serve, but like I say, it has a lot of synergy, so getting into that and understanding what drives people to come to a BPM show is fascinating. It's also an opportunity for the community as well because we can bring something different that maybe they haven't been brought before.

BPM Show has also partnered with the Headliner Group on a content level for this year’s show. What was the thinking behind bringing a media brand into the fold?

I've known Headliner since its inception and when we were acquiring BPM Show it felt like a no-brainer that we should talk to Headliner because of the work you do, the communities you serve, and how you go about delivering the content that you produce. It seemed a perfect partnership that PLASA should go to Headliner and say, ‘can you come on board and help us deliver this’. It’s the start of something that will hopefully go on into the future as well.

Headliner’s heritage and the quality it brings is undeniable and for something like BPM Show we feel like it is part of the refresh programme for this year. It’s an opportunity to have a look at BPM Show in a slightly different way.

Another recent development is the date change, with the show now taking place on November 9-10. How will this benefit the show and its visitors?

Traditionally, BPM Show has been held in October and we planned to do exactly the same thing this year. However, there is another show called PBX, which is being held in London and the dates changed for them and they landed on the same dates as ours. I felt after much consideration and looking at the response from the markets, that we had a responsibility to the DJ community to find alternative dates, so we didn't have to make people make a choice.

Also, we didn’t want exhibitors to have to choose one show to support that weekend. I felt that the right thing to do for BPM Show and the DJ community is to give it a separate date.

Now, whichever date you choose, it's never going to be right for everybody, so Sunday, November 10 is Remembrance Sunday and we're very aware of this and we've already seen some negative feedback on some of the social media about this. We're very aware that it is Remembrance Sunday, so we intend to approach that Sunday in a very respectful manner in order to recognize the day appropriately.

It’s an opportunity to see and get hands-on with new gear. Peter Heath, managing director, PLASA

How are things going with PLASA post-pandemic?

PLASA post-pandemic has been an incredibly busy place as most businesses are within our sector, but we continue to focus on the core values of what PLASA is - we are a trade association and we're here to serve our members. We have such a vast array of members, so we focus heavily on acquiring skills certification which we're expanding at the moment. We continue to look into the technical issues that impact our industry and make sure that we've got specialists who can report back to the membership and the wider industry on that.

As for member benefits, we have just launched something called the Skills Hub, which is aimed currently at our premier members but will be put out to our other members very shortly. It is an opportunity where you can go online and, via a video app, gain new skills that contribute to your continued professional development. They come with a PLASA certification, so this is whether you're trying to get new young employees to understand anything about some of the CRM systems you have, marketing, HR, finance. Whatever it is you can go there and you can get some benefits and that's free to our premier members.

We also work with other organizations, whether that be European organizations in order to serve our European members, or organizations based here in the UK.

What trends have you been seeing in the pro audio and lighting markets of late?

The things that we all hear about - and it's not just our industry - is the shortage of skills and experience. This is largely because of the migration of people during the pandemic and the shortage of young people coming into our industry. The young people who are coming into our industry may have come out of university and aren’t equipped to go straight into the workforce, so more training is needed.

Another situation is that grassroots venues are being really challenged, as well as festivals, especially independent ones. We're losing a lot of those independent festivals, or they're being scaled down, because of rising costs in the supply chain, which is a global thing for everybody but it's certainly impacting our industry in a negative way. Our industry provides so many things for so many people, so apart from what it brings to us culturally, there's also the stuff around education, wellbeing, and the impact our industry has on the nation's happiness. If we are to lose all these things or they're scaled down, then nationally and globally we're in big trouble.

For everything you need to know about the 2024 BPM Show for DJs visit