2020 Winter NAMM Show – Anaheim

Signage is seen outside of The 2020 NAMM Show Opening Day on January 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM)

BY ROBERT A CHADWICK | Go Venue Magazine 

This was the first time I had ever been to NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants). The NAMM Show is held every January in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Convention Center, and that its organizers describe as “the world’s largest trade-only for the music products, pro audio and event tech industry.” The convention began 4-day long starting on Thursday, January 16th through Sunday, January 19. I picked up my media pass on late Thursday afternoon, walked around the convention quickly to give me some ideas what their floor layouts, etc. before I headed back there on Saturday the 18th. I did not realize how big this convention was, and it was certainly massive … honestly.

On Saturday morning, I went over to the Entertainment Technology area to chat with some representatives of the different companies about adding the closed-caption (or subtitle) on the large monitor screens that deaf/hard-of-hearing patrons can enjoy watching the concerts with it instead of having the arenas to hire the ASL interpreters to interpret during the shows. To my surprise, they already have the equipment for that, mainly putting the software in their equipment. Each rep told me their equipment already installed at the churches around the Los Angeles area without any issues however it would be a little bit challenge if it’s for the rock concerts because they would need to collect the lyrics from the bands and putting the information into the software. I thought it was a bit challenging for me because I would have to contact EACH band management to provide their lyrics into the software. Time-consuming, right?!? I felt disappointed, kind of. So I kept walking around until this guy saw me wore the Whisky a Go-Go T-shirt that got him so excited and told me he worked there installing some lighting, etc. We chatted for a while then I brought up about the closed-caption thing, explained him my perspective why we need then he suggested that I should go over to the ESTA (Entertainment Services and Technology Association) booth which I did. And I thanked him. I immediately walked over to the ESTA booth, there I met a tired-looking rep guy, started to explain about my idea and all a sudden the rep lady nearby overheard my idea, rushed over to us and told me she liked my idea and thought that it should become normal practice for all concerts. She handed me some business cards, told that I should make some calls to one of their board members that possibly will help me pushing to make this happen. I haven’t done so but soon.

After I left the Entertainment Technology area, walked around, and bumped into some people I know such as Bruce Miyaki of Monsterman Records, bassist DieTrich Thrall, formerly with Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, now with Lords of AcidDean Agencygroup of The DNS Agency, an entertainment group based in Los Angeles and just to name a few. I met some rockers such as professional drummer Carmine Appice, guitarists Alex Skolnick (Testament), Phil Demmel (Machine Head, Vio-lence), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Rob Caggiano (Volbeat) and a quite few more. I was supposed to meet vocalist/guitar Jesse Dean and guitarist Rich Johnson of Omaha’s rock band Narcotic Self at the Peavey booth which they represented the company but missed them a couple of times. Well, oddly enough I met them on the plane headed back home.

Overall it was a wonderful experience for me attending this event. I am looking forward to returning there soon.

All images © Robert A. Chadwick
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