Music industry professionals, music lovers and music stars from all over the world gather in Southern California in January every year to attend the NAMM Show. This year's show was held Jan. 13-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention was started decades ago as a place where the manufacturers and distributors of musical instruments, music books and related items could show their products and innovations to music store owners and dealers from all over the United States. It has since grown into a major international event attended by tens of thousands of musicians, educators, audio engineers, performers, students, technicians, DJs, rock stars, tour managers and others.
The recent four-day event was loaded with notable locals from the Studio City, North Hollywood and Toluca Lake areas.
Celebrity sightings included Stevie Wonder, Brian Culbertson, Ray Parker Jr., Brian Auger, Michael Boddicker, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and many more.
At the display booths, I was proud to note many of our own local area manufacturers showing their wares to the world, including: ESP Guitar Company on Vanowen Street, A&S Case Company on Vineland Boulevard, Coffin Case Company on Weddington Street, EVH (the Eddie Van Halen division of Fender, owned by the rocker, a longtime Studio City resident), from Studio City and the Everly Music Company on Atoll.
Everly Music sells guitar strings, straps, tuners and accessories to music stores everywhere. I spoke with proud North Hollywood local Jason Everly, who runs the company, along with his father and uncle, the famous Everly Brothers.
"This was truly a great show: Interesting people, great music, new products and lots of sales," Everly said. "I loved seeing so many old friends."
I agree with Jason.
"The feel of the show was very upbeat," said Mike Papa, division manager at American Music & Sound. Vendors said they felt a strong change in mood from the negativity of the past few years. "We seem to have turned the corner. Buyers are less afraid to purchase and dealers are willing to stock a little more inventory."
American Music & Sound, with offices here in the San Fernando Valley and elsewhere, is one of the largest music and pro audio distributors in the world.
This also may be one more bit of evidence that the economy is picking up.