November 8, 2023
The 2024 Calendar of Lighting Industry Events
Two dozen trade shows, conferences and other events are set to brighten the professional landscape of our beloved lighting industry
In the constantly evolving landscape of the lighting industry, 2024 heralds a year brimming with opportunities for professionals to congregate and cast a light on the latest innovations in lighting and lighting controls. With a rich schedule of two dozen events, the industry's calendar is ripe with opportunities for lighting people to network and grow. Here is an in-depth look at the scheduled and anticipated events in the lighting industry's year ahead.
Hot off the presses — Three Recently Announced Locations & Dates:
The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) announced days ago that its Enlighten Americas 2024 conference is scheduled to take place in San Diego's Rancho Bernardo from October 17 to 19, 2024. This professional gathering is an established forum for lighting designers and industry experts to converge and discuss best practices in lighting design.
The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) plans to host its Street & Area Lighting Conference 2024 at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia, from September 22 to 25, 2024. This event marks a “do-over” for the venue previously selected for the 2021 conference, which was ultimately canceled due to pandemic-related uncertainties.
Additionally, the IES has also anchor-bolted its 2025 dates for the Street & Area Light Conference. The 2025 rendition will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, from September 21 to 24, 2025.
Regional shows try to gain traction
Days after the Dallas Market Center wrapped up its most recent ArchLIGHT Summit in September, the group promptly began promoting its 2024 event, slated to be the fourth iteration. Despite a decrease in exhibitor numbers from over 80 in 2022 to 64 in the past year, the event continues to please attendees, while getting mixed reviews from exhibitors. The event struggles to gain full support from major local lighting agents such as Architectural Lighting Alliance and Texas Lighting Sales, but the education program and colocated NAILD Annual Convention has proven to be a crowd-pleaser for many who attend.
LightSPEC West is set to step into the void left by LightShow West, aiming to recapture the attention of Southern California's lighting community. With the dissolution of LightShow West due to bankruptcy amid the pandemic, LightSPEC West is also a biennial event, now strategically scheduled during non-Lightfair years.
The upcoming LightSPEC West is scheduled to take place in April, a month free from competing industry events. It will be hosted at the Anaheim Convention Center, the largest convention center on the West Coast, marking a significant relocation from its previous venue, the Magic Box in Downtown Los Angeles. The last LightSPEC West, held in September 2022, was seen by some industry insiders as a reiteration of the IESLA Product Show that occurs at the same location every February.
As it stands, LightSPEC West has confirmed agency partnerships with three regional agents: Forman & Associates, LIGHT, and Western Lighting & Energy Controls. However, it's notable that the three largest lighting agencies in the region — SCI Lighting Solutions, Performance Lighting Systems, and PLP SoCal — have not yet committed to the April event. Their absence could mirror the challenges faced by the ArchLIGHT Summit in securing local support. We’d bet a month’s income, but not a year’s income, that all three of those major agents stay on the sidelines.
Event organizers point out that exhibitors are securing space both independently and with the involvement of their agents. Janice Oliva, VP, Group Publisher Lighting & Digital Infrastructure for Endeavor Business Media shared, “While LightSPEC West welcomes formal agency participation, we anticipate some shift in the mix for 2024, with several companies that are affiliated with agencies exhibiting in freestanding booths rather than with agencies. We also are already seeing greater participation by companies that are not affiliated with an agency than was the case in 2022, as those companies see LightSPEC West as an opportunity to gain greater exposure to a broad attendee base.”
In the lead-up to LightSPEC West, Performance Lighting Systems, the Acuity Brands agent, recently organized a local event at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Furthermore, SCI Lighting Solutions, the longtime Cooper Lighting rep, is planning to host its very popular agent event in Irvine come June, two months following LightSPEC West. These individual events by major agencies seem to indicate a preference for hosting their own, focused events rather than participating in the broader regional show.
Some SoCal lighting people seem to like the Orange County location, while other locals wonder if Anaheim will be able to draw the design community from Los Angeles.
LEDucation: Record year ahead
LEDucation is gearing up for an unprecedented event in 2024. A month ago, Burt Grant, the co-chair of LEDucation, shared with inside.lighting that the organizers are setting their sights on over 10,000 attendees as LEDucation 2024 will feature more than 400 exhibitors at the New York Hilton Midtown.
In response to this anticipated surge that could provide and additional 25% of foot traffic, LEDucation will be introducing evening exhibit hours on Tuesday for the first time, providing additional networking opportunities. We wonder if continued growth will someday necessitate staggered attendance days in the future or result in sidewalk queues akin to those outside high-end Fifth Avenue retail stores during peak shopping hours.
Light + Building's Return
Light + Building, set to occur in Frankfurt, Germany two weeks before LEDucation, is navigating the post-pandemic event landscape with strategic changes and a strong exhibitor lineup. Although not all pre-pandemic exhibitors will return, the event expects to host over 2,000 exhibitors, indicating a robust recovery and a commitment to maintaining its status as a premier global lighting event. Adjustments to the layout of the Messe Frankfurt fairgrounds have been made to enhance the experience and logistics for both exhibitors and visitors, ensuring the event remains a key date in the industry's calendar. Light + Building's last event in October 2022 drew over 92,000 attendees.
Concurrent Events Pose Scheduling Dilemma for Some
In an unusual scheduling coincidence, two significant lighting events are slated for the same day: Thursday, June 20, 2024. The IES New York's Lumen Gala, a prestigious awards event, will take place at Pier 60 in Manhattan. Simultaneously, the Light! Design Expo will welcome approximately 2,000 industry professionals to the Embarcadero in San Francisco. While these events occurring on the same date may present a conflict for some national-level lighting professionals, the overall impact on the industry's networking and business activities is expected to be minimal, with each event mainly catering to its regional audience.
Awaiting LightFair 2025 Venue Confirmation
LightFair, traditionally an annual highlight for the lighting industry, has transitioned to a biennial schedule. As such, 2024 will not feature a LightFair event, a first in its storied history. The location for the 2025 edition is still under wraps, with the event's organizers and other co-owners, the IES and IALD, finalizing contracts before making an official announcement.
Inside.lighting's underpaid interns have been regularly cold-calling various U.S. convention centers to try to confirm the next venue for LightFair. Finally, thanks to a helpful staff member at one of the convention centers, we have learned the confirmed dates and location for LightFair 2025. However, out of respect for the show's owners — ANDMORE, IES, and IALD — we will keep the details confidential until all of their related contracts are signed and executed.