Last weekend in Anaheim, California, one of the biggest events for the music products industry took place. The National Association of Music Merchants, commonly known as NAMM, held their annual convention, at the Anaheim Convention Center, over the course of four days. Closed to the public, the event allows musicians and industry personnel from around the globe to walk freely among the nearly 7,000 vendors and 1,800 exhibiting companies. Product demo’s are also put on by musicians that have deals with various companies. Joe Lamond, President and CEO of NAMM, said, “The NAMM Show gathers our industry as a global community, which in turn drives opportunity. This event once again proved to be a stable, reliable platform for growth, both in business and in professional development, as well as in solidarity to share our common vision in creating a world of more music makers.”
The show is so gigantic that it’s impossible to see everything over the four days. 125 countries were represented and over 100,000 people attended. Attendees included retailers, media, artists and endorsees, and exhibitors, as well as guests, college music students of NAMM GenNext, school music teachers and administrators involved with Music Education Day, and NAMM member buyers.
Each day brought new opportunities for attendees to check out the “Breakfast of Champions,” featuring various industry speakers that kicked off each day’s events before doors opened to the convention. TEC Tracks sessions were available all day long, where attendees could learn more about sound, studio, and stage topics. Speakers during these sessions included Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison, Aerosmith engineer and producer Jack Douglas, and surprise guest panelist Joe Perry, co-founder and lead guitarist of Aerosmith.
On Saturday night, Perry was recognized at The NAMM TEC Awards, which acknowledged the best and brightest in professional audio and sound production. Actor and musician Johnny Depp presented Perry with the Les Paul Award, which is presented annually to a remarkably-distinguished and accomplished individual from the music industry. In honor of him receiving this award, songs and recognizable riffs from Aerosmith could be heard throughout the weekend at various events.
Musical events that filled the weekend included Richie Sambora and Orianthi, former centerfielder for the New York Yankees Bernie Williams and his All-Star Band, with special guests Poncho Sanchez and Keb’ Mo’, and Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes.
One of the hardest invites to come by was for the Bob Weir VIP event put on by D’Angelico guitar. The event featured Guns n Roses’ Matt Sorum, The Rascals’ Gene Cornish, The Doobie Brothers’ Jeff Skunk Baxter, and soul-rock sensation Robert Randolph. “Only A River,” “West L.A. Fadeaway,” “Jack Straw,” The Beatles’ “Come Together,” “The Other One,” and “Touch of Grey” were among many of the songs featured on the set list for the evening.
The rare, and much needed, rain that fell during the convention did not keep people away from the events that filled the days. Many people experienced sore feet from endless hours of walking, hunger due to long lines at the food booths, and late night evenings filled with musical events and hours of catching up with industry friends not seen in a year. Drum circles, ukulele circles, and many more inviting musical moments were shared with attendees throughout the weekend. With so many musicians in the same place, magical moments were bound to happen. Check out the moment that Stevie Wonder surprised a NAMM attendee as he jumped on stage unexpectedly. NAMM is known to have the unexpected happen.
The following video courtesy of Grayson Erhard, the musician Wonder joined:
Words by Sarah Bourque.
Photography courtesy of Paul Citone Photography, and Jesse Grant/Getty Images.