For those of you to whom NAMM is a fabled event, full of mystery and wonder…you are somewhat correct. NAMM is like MACWorld/CES for the music related industry. It’s where new products are released, companies get to show off their products, dealers look for, umm, deals, and where the famous people who are sponsored by the companies have to pay their dues and show up. All the big music companies spend what I can only assume to be hundreds of thousands of dollars on booths, publicity, models and personel aimed at getting people to buy what they’re selling. From the smallest of companies (the reason I’m going) with 10×10 booths, to Fender, Gibson, Steinway and Yamaha with their own rooms in the Anaheim Convention Center. The fact that we are right across the street from Disneyland is not lost, as it is a musical Disneyland. Basically every piece of gear you’ve ever heard of is there, and every company that matters is there.
That’s a lot of stuff, and speaking of stuff, here’s some random facts about NAMM 2009 I learned reading the 45 page exhibitor’s manual:
If your booth cannot be assembled in 30 minutes by one person, you must hire union labor.
You may not have performances, only “Demonstrations”.
Demonstrations can only be 5 minutes.
Those 5 minute demonstrations and all demonstrations cannot exceed 85 Decibels.*
If you know you are going to exceed 85 decibels, you must have a sound booth.
If you have a soundbooth, a notice must be posted, warning people of the loud noises.
All 2 story booths (There are plenty…Dean Markley, Sennheiser, Kaman music) must be approved by building engineers by December 12th.
No one gets a building permit on site, so if you mess up your booth, you’re outenze.
If you have more than 900 square feet of indoor booth, you must install a smoke detector.
You are not allowed to talk in the aisles.
There is a special area for exhibitors and dealers to talk in private. There is a receptionist, copy machine and beverages.
You are not to have food brought in. Food may only be supplied by the hired union food specialists on site.
Brochures with an adhesive inside constitute stickers, and are prohibited.
No one under 16 is allowed at NAMM, at all, unless they are an artist or registered, documented employee accompanied by parents at all times.
*Having been to NAMM, I know for a fact no one pays attention to this. Ambient noise in the place probably hovers near 90 decibels. Try selling acoustic guitars when your in the same isle as a drum manufacturer.
Those are just a few of my favorites. There is a whole lot of legal going on at NAMM. People are building house-sized structures inside of a convention center, and they have to have real contractors build it up. Not only that, but they have 4 days to do it. The floor opens on monday, and the show opens thursday. The whole thing is just insanity. I’d love to be there from when the floor is blank to when the place turns into a circus.
I am going to be there this year as an exhibitor (I think…I hope my boss got me an Exhibitor’s pass) attempting to sell things in a time of economic downfall. It’s going to be an odd atmosphere, and despite the fact that i’ve been hearing some companies are closing up shop, the show is about 98% sold out in terms of booth space.
And for the good stuff: The things at NAMM i’m looking forward to.
Ibanez 17 MM Super Wizard neck.
Actually, any new Ibanez things.
Paul Gilbert is going to be there every day.
Whatever Ernie Ball does.
Whatever Charvel doesn’t do.
Bernard Purdie performing.
Whatever Suhr does.
The Blackbird Super-OM…read their description in the pamphlet…yikes.
Trem-king’s new bridge.
Schaller’s new bridge design.
And basically everything new. I look forward to meeting/seeing famous industry people like Rick Turner, Thomas Nordegg (techie to the stars), Seymour Duncan, Bob Taylor, Dick Boke (of Martin), Dean Markley, Ed Roman, and damn near anyone else. Not to mention the famous people: Kerry King, Paul Gilbert, Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, Terry Bozzio, and basically everyone else who is sponsored by a big company.
It’s going to be insane this year. I hope all goes well and billions of dollars are made, and that all of the cheap overseas knockoff companies don’t show their poorly made guitars. I want them to just sit there and wait for the big companies to hire them to produce their budget models in a room marked “Outsourcing”.