The Parnelli Awards and NAMM: Industry Convergence

by Kevin M. Mitchell
NAMM CEO Joe Lamond and Parnelli Executive Producer Terry Lowe
NAMM CEO Joe Lamond and Parnelli Executive Producer Terry Lowe

As announced last month, NAMM is expanding their January Anaheim trade show to further include the proproduction industry, and a big part of that strategy is bringing the Parnelli Awards to it. Recently Anaheim Convention Center finished a 200,000 square foot expansion, which will allow pro audio, lighting, staging, video, and all related manufacturers to have space available to them to exhibit at an international trade show that already pulls in over 100,000 professional registrants.

I sat down with Parnelli Producer & SD Publisher Terry Lowe and NAMM CEO Joe Lamond to discuss this exciting alliance.

SD: Let’s start with why?

Terry Lowe: This partnership is putting in perspective the convergence of production and performance. Now more than ever it will be under one roof, as it should be. The Parnelli Awards joining with NAMM to make that convergence happen means providing the opportunity for all the people involved in all aspects of performance to be together.

Joe Lamond: I think that the convergence of music and live entertainment has been coming for a very long time. Terry nailed it, the most important thing is the recognition that the vital role that each part contributes to the whole. I can tell you that the music and sound products industry that NAMM represents has a tremendous respect for the production community so to me this is a natural evolution and extension of the many professionals already at the show. We’ve worked with the Timeless [SD is a Timeless publication] folks for many years now on various projects. To me this is the next step of a strong and trusted relationship, and in response to how The NAMM Show has developed.

SD: Why now?

TL: We flirted with the idea of bringing the Parnelli Awards to NAMM six years ago, but the timing was not quite right — for one there was a lack of trade show space. Today with the Anaheim Convention Center’s expansion there is an opportunity to do a lot of things at NAMM with the proproduction industry. Also, over the years the Parnellis have grown exponentially, and we have outgrown our situation [running in parallel with LDI]. Now is definitely the time to bring the Parnelli Awards, our sponsors, and manufacturers in our industry to be part of NAMM.

JL: So much has changed in just the last few years. The entertainment experience is diverse, technology-driven, and crosses all lines—shatters them, really. From musical performances in the school auditorium, to houses of worship, to theatres, to the largest tours and festivals, the worlds have converged. Audiences are expecting a lot these days and our respective communities are eager to deliver with innovative products and production services, and can learn from each other. 

SD: What are the key benefits to production professionals considering coming to NAMM?

TL: NAMM has always brought top artists to their show—all the endorsers come. Now there’s an opportunity for our production managers, lighting designers, scenic designers, [etc.] to be part of that. There is an increased opportunity to meet those who decide who to hire, and those who decide what products and services to purchase. It is a unique opportunity to reach so many decision-makers in our industry.

JL: As I mentioned, the world is changing so quickly. Very few things in our lives are the same as they were even five years ago, including the NAMM Show. I believe the production community will be pleasantly surprised and ultimately glad that they made the decision to attend.

SD: Also Terry, I believe your commitment to education will also be part of this, correct?

TL: Both Timeless and the Parnellis are absolutely committed to education. A little history: The Parnellis were at one-point part of a Pro Production Show in Long Beach which we held in January for a few years. During that show, we put on a lot of workshops, panel discussions, and seminars. When we moved the show to be at the same time as LDI, we set up a scholarship fund with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and everyone who bought a ticket to our award show was contributing to helping kids interested in proproduction get financial support.

NAMM is well-known for their ability to understand what is needed in seminars and workshops and we look forward to contributing to that for the proproduction attendees. With our editors, I’ve already put together almost 20 educational ideas and together we will be fine-tuning those with the NAMM team. These will be a real incentive for production personnel to come, and manufacturers who want to be there when they do.

SD: NAMM has a long-storied history. What do you want production professionals to know about it?

JL: Most technological breakthroughs do not happen from within an industry, but on the periphery. For example, early in the NAMM show history many of Thomas Edison’s inventions debuted here, including the phonograph. NAMM more than ever is creating this broader ecosystem for conversation, exchange of ideas, and the happenstance of unexpected discovery. A music theater person might have a conversation with the manufacturer of a moving light that leads to a whole new line of lights. That is what happens at NAMM.

TL: The live entertainment, proproduction industry needs to know that NAMM is the place to be. I would not have moved the Parnelli Awards there if I thought otherwise. NAMM is where the conversations and decisions happen that lead directly to the productions and work that we celebrate at the Parnelli Awards.

SD: This does feel like a partnership whose time has come…

JL: We at NAMM have great respect for the professionals reading PLSN, FOH, and Stage Directions; for the Parnelli Awards; and for the hard-working folks who make their living in the live event industry. This is a brotherhood of kindred spirits. Let’s provide a better gathering for all of us: better education, better networking, and better products. This is about serving the entire industry.

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Also be sure to also read these additional NAMM / Parnelli Awards / AES / ESTA announcements:  Parnelli Awards Relocate to NAMM and AES to Join NAMM Show and ESTA and NAMM Team Up