Last week, the European attractions industry descended upon Gothenburg, Sweden for The Euro Attractions Show 2015 (EAS).
Between the 6-8 October, over 7, 000 visitors from 96 countries attended the conference held at the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre, with a particularly high attendance from the Scandinavian region (30%).
By Ella Baskerville
Marieke Reuvers (Jora Vision) said ‘Attendance was a bit less than in Amsterdam as expected, but the key players and decision makers were here’. This was the first time the conference has been fully integrated with an attraction, and Liseberg amusement park across the street was a fun backdrop for education sessions and evening events.
The show was generously supported by Gold Sponsors Jack Rouse Associates and MACK Rides. Silver sponsors included accesso, Dynamic Attractions, Premier Rides, Vekoma, Sally Corp, and Scruffy Dog. Two forums were held on the final day, Waterparks – sponsored by Polin WaterParks and WTI; and FECs, sponsored by Lappset Creative.
Innovations and Interactivity
The show floor was its usual mix of activity, colours and sounds. Interactivity was a big trend of the show, such as WhiteWater West’s Slide Boarding that combines gaming and water slides; and Mack Rides use of VR on rollercoasters; both of which were showcased at the Innovation Technology Showcase Session on the first day. There were many product launches during the week, including Polin WaterParks latest ‘Space Race’ slide and Holovis’ Pocket RideView VR Design Suite.
I spotted a great concept model for a "Forbidden Island" attraction (above) on Sally Corp's booth and a neat bit of marketing on the Arihant booth, a world of water (below).
Over 30 hours of seminars complemented the tradeshow, focusing on customer feedback, innovation trends, guest in-park spending, marketing and emerging markets with fantastic speakers and moderators including Vekoma’s Har Kupers, Yael Coifman and Michael Collins of LDP; and Jora Entertainment ‘s Johnny Ruisch.
This was the first year EAS included two new conference tracks. Government Relations and Safety focused on security and political outlooks.
Theming and Storytelling Design was sponsored by the TEA and focused primarily on IP. Bart Dohmen of BRC Imagination Arts first introduced emotionalizing the brand, and then the middle session covered the IP Landscape. Paul Kent (Electrosonic) explained the complicated nature of copyright and patents; another key speaker was Ray Hole (Ray Hole Architects) who stated that “architecture is the intellectual creation of the mind” and therefore needs great consideration with IP choices.
Keith James (JRA) rounded off the session by saying, “IP is the flavour of the year in this industry” and went on to speak about the reasons for choosing a particular IP, and the challenges that brings. The middle and last session were moderated by David Willrich (D J Willrich). Pauline Quayle (The Juice Films) Steffen Kottkamp (Mack Creative) and Martin Barratt highlighted the use of IP from an operator’s perspective.
Thank you for the Music. And the Coasters.
The IP theme continued at the sell-out Leadership Breakfast sponsored by leading roller coaster and ride manufacturer Premier Rides. Keynote speaker Björn Ulvaeus, spoke about ABBA as a world-famous IP brand. The "Abba" brand was in fact established in 1838 and to this day specialises in pickled herrings. (In 1974 the Abba Seafood AB company very kindly allowed four young musicians to call their newly formed group Abba and the rest, as they say, is history.) Ulvaeus did acknowledge in passing that he was, “sitting on a few copyrights of his own”.
In addition to the seminars, Lunch and Learn sessions and the Young Professionals Forum were popular, as well as pre-show Liseberg Backstage Tours and a post-show Nordic region tours.
As with all IAAPA shows, there were some brilliant parties. Tuesday night saw the EAS Opening Reception at Liseberg where attendees had the opportunity to ride the fabulous MACK Rides Helix coaster (see video above) along with a handful of other high-octane thrill rides. We ate at a lively Austrian themed restaurant and listened to a pair of Swedes in lederhosen singing Joan Jett.
On the Wednesday Eleventh Hour had a drinks event and Barco sponsored a TEA function at Liseberg’s Ghost Hotel. We also were fortunate enough to get a tour round the Ghost hotel with its creator, British themed attraction designer Nick Farmer. Pushing twenty years old, this haunted house was as fresh, as, well, The Walking Dead.
Next year the EAS will move to Barcelona on the 20-22 September 2016.