I've been attending the NAMM Show for the past 10 years, and this was by far my favorite. Just like Julie Andrews sang about her favorite things in The Sound of Music, here are a few of my favorite things from NAMM 2013.
Change - Change is always good, and NAMM made some very wise changes this year. They moved the badge pick-up to the hotels, moved the badge check to the first entrance, cut down on the number of visitor badges and made the entire experience much more professional and business-friendly.
NAMM U - NAMM sponsors a morning breakfast every morning of the show. This year I finally attended the Best of Show breakfast on Sunday, and was so glad I did. Not only did they have an incredible buffet, but I got the chance to learn about the best products and the best companies to check out. Next year I'm going to add the Breakfast of Champions on Thursday as well.
Press Room - Staffed by the Lippin Group, the press room provides members of the press with a place to grab a cup of coffee and a danish and the latest happenings on the showroom floor. Lead by Jeanne O'Keefe, the Lippin Group was instrumental in connecting the press with all the vendors, and in providing a safe atmosphere for us to get the information we need to do our job. My hat's off to this most professional staff!
Sennheiser - While many booths have turned to artist autograph appearances instead of performances, Sennheiser consisistently has a full performance schedule of both local and major artists on its fully-loaded sound stage. Once again the stage featured several perennial favorites, like Debby Holiday, Nina Storey, Marcus Eaton, newcomers like Taylor Matthews and superstars like Raining Jane and Dilana, which not coincidentally brought out some of the biggest crowds Sennheiser has ever seen. Hats off to Jay Tinsky for his booking and to Tim Moore and soundman John for their professionalism.
Taylor Guitars - The other booth that consistently has great performances is Taylor Guitars, and this year was no different. With acts like Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers, Raining Jane, Allen Stone and the Japanese samurai phenom, Miyavi, Taylor set the bar for endorsed artist performances. Hats off to Tim Godwin, Artist Relations and Chalise Zolezzi, Communications Manager, for a superb show that provided some of my absolutely favorite moments.
The Women's International Music Network She Rocks Awards - This first annual event was absolutely amazing. From the incredible acoustical performance of Ali Handal to the rocking time with Orianthi and her all female band, the event truly shone the light on the role of women in the music industry. Hats off to Laura Whitmore, who put this entire event together in her spare time (she's also the Publicist for Peavey Electronics).
Live Music - This year NAMM expanded its live music schedule. Not only was there music Wednesday night through Saturday night on two stages each at the Marriott and the Hilton, but two other hotels, the Sheraton and the Hyatt also provided live music. Add to that the patio stage inside the showroom, the Venue Stage by the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and the Main Stage on the new Grand Plaza, and the 93,000+ attendees had many choices when it came to catching a live show. Among my favorite shows were Caleb Quaye (Elton John's first guitarist); Stanly Jordan, Muriel Anderson and Tierra Negra, of Verona, David and Devine and Jamey Geston. Speaking of Geston, I was truly impressed by the way she carried off a solo effort on the same stage that had played host to Tower of Power, the Legends of Rock and the California Transit Authority. She owned the stage and turned in one of the finest performances, making this NAMM the best ever for live music.