2022 NAMM Show: Report From The Floor

Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for NAMM

By Junkman

After a two-year absence, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) returned to the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, for what would ordinarily be the “winter”   NAMM Show. Usually held in January with a second, “summer” NAMM Show in Nashville, Tennessee, the two were combined for 2022 for the first time in the first week of June after being, just like everything else, shut down for most of 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 crisis (though a small summer NAMM show did take place in 2021 in Nashville).

A slightly streamlined NAMM convention was still widely attended, although many of the major guitar-oriented companies, such as Fender and Gibson, as well as major electronics behemoth Roland Electronics decided to sit this year’s event out. Many of the booths and exhibitions that were there were smaller than in years past, and spaced farther apart in many instances. As a matter of fact, Hall E of the convention center, as well as the arena portion, where completely closed to attendees. Hall C was about one-third full of its usual capacity. The convention was also shortened from four days to three — Friday through Sunday.

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for NAMM

But, in spite of half of the representatives of the normally 7,000 plus brands of instruments, sound, and lighting gear not being there, it was still a successful show for vendors and attendees alike. As a matter of fact, many found the smaller, less rowdy crowds to be a refreshing change, especially on Saturday, traditionally the events busiest day. Many exclaimed that it was easier to speak with representatives, buyers and product specialists.

Gone were the long lines of overly enthusiastic attendees waiting for autographs and photo opportunities with their favorite rock star. They simply were not there. Many of that set spent their time at the various hotel bars, such as the adjoining Anaheim Hilton, where they could drink and party and let it all out, as the vendors took care of business in the convention hall. The large outdoor plaza stage, outside the convention center, located between the Hilton and Marriott hotels provided constant entertainment as did a second stage outside the arena, and there was a lot to see. I particularly enjoyed a set from New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for NAMM

For me and many others, it is also a great time to see friends as well as the latest musical products. I have worked in many aspects of the music industry, and I always look forward to catching up with those that live far away from my Southern California home. Hotels and restaurants were all at capacity as well since, besides NAMM, it is also prime-time for vacationers to visit Disneyland, which is located just across the street from the convention center. It’s always a treat for me to observe the different “walks of life, especially at night, when the mix of weary conventioneers and families sporting Mickey Mouse ears converge on the city’s sidewalks and hotel lobbies.

It was announced that next year’s NAMM convention will take place in April in Anaheim, once again foregoing Summer NAMM in Nashville, and combining them as one for 2023. As I have for every year since the early 1980s, I plan on once again attending and filing a report.

Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for NAMM

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