With the annual Summer NAMM conference around the corner, the Nashville music community, which has recently banded together in support of local flood victims, will host music industry from around the globe beginning Friday, June 17, at the Nashville Convention Center. Summer NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), which runs through Sunday, June 19, presents an opportunity for the musical products industry to mingle and do business before the busy holiday season.
While the Winter NAMM show, held every January in Anaheim, California, teems with new electronic product and tech announcements, the Summer show is perhaps more a reflection of the laid-back atmosphere of Nashville. “I always enjoy any reason to come to Nashville,” says Collings Guitars’ Steve McCreary. “Over the many years of visiting here, I’ve discovered countless great restaurants, stayed in a variety of nice hotels and experienced some great musical moments. What more can you ask of a town?”
Many of the major acoustic guitar companies will exhibit, including Martin Guitar Co., Taylor Guitars, Santa Cruz Guitar Co. and Collings. Each manufacturer typically has new models to announce at the show and will often surprise attendees with special performances by signature artists. In 2008, Martin announced the Steve Earle OM-27 Signature Guitar and Mr. Earle made an appearance at the Martin booth to discuss the design of the guitar, along with collaborator Matt Umanov of Umanov Guitars in New York, and also play a few songs on his new guitar.
Other exhibitors create special promotions to attract dealers and distributors, as well as media, musicians and fans. Elixir (R) Strings will host the Elixir (R) Cables Comparison Challenge, where the company’s instrument cables will be placed in a side-by-side comparison with a comparable industry setup. Retail employees who are able to spot the difference will even be able to take home an Elixir (R) patch cable.
Sunday will also mark a first for NAMM, when the show opens its doors to the public for Wanna Play Music Sunday. Looking for a way to make Sunday a more exciting day at the show, conference organizers hatched the idea for Wanna Play. In addition to the regular exhibitors whose booths will be open, there will be a number of education sessions and contests throughout the day. For the “Get Endorsed” education session, Bob Borbonus of Taylor Guitars and Dick Boak of Martin Guitar, will discuss networking with artist relations reps and securing endorsement deals. In “Setting Up a Home Studio,” a leading home studio installation professional will walk attendees through the best techniques for getting professional sound quality out of a home studio.
NAMM will also join American Songwriter, Next Big Nashville, MusicCares and Nashville Music Association to co-sponsor “The BIG Gear Giveback: An Evening for Music City Flood Relief” on Friday, June 18, 2010 at the Hard Rock Cafe. This special concert event will be free for all NAMM badge-holders. The event is made possible by ASCAP, SESAC and Zehnder Marketing, and will feature NBN alumni The Apache Relay, Megan McCormick, Blackfoot Gypsies with beverages provided by Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. Non-NAMM attendees who donate $10 or more at the door will receive a wristband to attend “Wanna Play Music Sunday” during Summer NAMM. For more information, please visit www.namm.org/wannaplaysunday.