(Anaheim, CA) The crazy, colourful annual celebration of all things music business, NAMM 2016, opens Thursday at the Anaheim Convention Centre, across the street from Disneyland. Today was Press Day, a pre-opening day set aside for journalists to see demos of new music technologies and instruments, maybe catch a glance of a rock star (Dr. John was the only star in sight, hanging out in the John Lennon Education bus), and stroll the convention floors watching thousands of people working full tilt to have their booths open by tomorrow. There will be a lot of all-nighters, but they will make it.
NAMM 2016 brings together about 90,000 musicians, manufacturers, instrument makers, retailers, and others in a giant trade show/concert venue dedicated to the $11 billion a year music industry. NAMM 2016 occupies all of the Anaheim Convention Center plus several hotels, filling them with booths, stages, event spaces, concerts and displays. There are dozens of performances all day long on the stages and at individual booths. Performers include Dr. John, the Young Dubliners, Chemical Z, Doña Oxford, Lanita Smith, Jessica Lynn, Don Wilson, Lauren Alexander and many others.
But as fun as the concerts and music will be, the heart of NAMM 2016 is merchandise — the products and services that make making music and distributing it possible in today’s music market, from rock to classical, from middle school bands to symphony halls and stadiums. And, NAMM 2016 is a global gathering of musical artists, with entire hotel floors vibrating until the wee hours of the morning with impromptu jam sessions of artists who may not speak each other’s language, but all play a common language.
Press Day at NAMM focused on the NAMM Idea Center, a combination stage and demonstration laboratory for new ideas and the dreamers that are bringing them to reality. Among the demonstrations were instruments crafted from aircraft grade aluminum and carbon fiber by 660 Degree Guitars, VimylMachine.com equipment to make vinyl records at home from digital recordings, TribalTools’ Kadabra instrument that turns touch and movement into music, IK Multimedia’s IKlip broadcast mount and pocket broadcast system, Fender Guitar’s new in-ear monitors, Wilson Guitars new Ventures guitar series based on Don Wilson’s designs, and Yamaha’s exquisite new electric violins.
The NAMM Show is also an international marketplace, with companies from around the world bringing their latest products and technology to the floor. More than 100 countries and territories are represented —the halls are filled with exhibitors and products from different countries and there are six nations featured in international pavilions throughout the show: Argentina, Brazil China, Germany, Spain and England, each with dozens of booths filled with merchandise ranging from fine guitars to miniature guitar pedals to microphones and recording studios.
A highlight of NAMM is the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a non-profit outreach program established 18 years ago to give young people a chance to learn and express themselves through music, video and broadcast. It is a travelling audio and video recording studio, classroom and living legacy to John Lennon. The Bus is parked at the entrance to NAMM with Dr. John and young musicians who have been trained by the Bus on hand.
We will cover NAMM 2016 from top to bottom, posting notes, stories, photos, performances and videos throughout the day and night, plus interviews with artists and music executives.
Patrick O’Heffernan. Music Friday Live.