Heading to The NAMM Show? Here's Some Pro Tips For You!

Definitely one of the best places to network and learn all about musical products and upcoming innovations in pro audio and event technology, hands-down.

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The NAMM Show is well underway! The 2019 NAMM Show is currently located and being held at the Anaheim convention center in Anaheim, CA and will run from January 24-27.

What the is the NAMM show anyways? Well, my curious friend, here’s a description, taken directly from their website:

“The NAMM Show is the definitive platform for the music, sound and event technology communities to unite, featuring more than 7,000 brands, cutting-edge industry education, as well as exclusive special events, concerts and experiences. Last year, a record 115K attendees explored products from more than 1,700 exhibitors showcasing over 7K brands. Plus, attendees are able to choose from 400+ educational sessions and more than 150+ networking events.”

If that description wasn’t enough to hook you in or pique your curiosity, add special live performances, amazing after parties and did I mention networking with people who matter in the industry? That’s right, a who’s who in the music industry will be in attendance and you will have first perspective contact with some of the most important people in the music and tech industry. Everyone pretty much walks freely around the convention because they know that it’s mostly all industry folks. Dealers and Distributors will be doing actual work btw so try not to intrude or be rude for that matter but if you really need to get a hold of someone, say a rockstar, insert yourself and assert your intentions. It may go funny or it might be gold.

Which brings me to my next point, the NAMM show is not open to the public.

Yup, unfortunately, to get into this convention, you will either have to be an owner, supplier, employee, be an endorsed artist or is a guest of one of the NAMM member companies.

What does this actually mean for the public or people that want to go? It’s exactly what it means, its restricted with super tight security. Does this mean you can’t get in? Probably. But if you have friends in any NAMM member company, this is your best bet in getting a badge and getting in. NAMM member companies get badges depending on the size of the company or how many employees they have. Don’t know if your friends are part of the NAMM member company list? This can give you a good idea: NAMM Show Directory. Now is the time to brush up with your friends and see who your real friends are. For more info on membership, go here.

By the way, NAMM stands for National Association of Music Merchants. Don’t be fooled by the acronym though, NAMM has evolved from a national retail association into a national association that includes commercial companies, distributors, affiliates and manufacturers. The NAMM show is basically that biggest trade-only event for music products, pro-audio and the event tech industry. It’s truly a sight to see and an experience to be had!

The NAMM show convention hours are 10am to 6pm, Thurs.-Sat. and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.

And as someone that has been lucky enough to attend a few NAMM’s, here’s some pro tips for you!

You will walk. A LOT.

Think about the Anaheim Convention Center. It’s huge. Now think bout 1700 exhibitors promoting 7K brands. Add the walk from parking lots (map below), to places to eat, to bars, the Marriott, the Hilton and other spots that line the convention center inside and out. It’s a lot and believe me, even just one day of walking is enough to question whether you want to see the next 3 days. I’ve gone from wearing boots the first year to wearing running shoes the last. Nothing is a short walk from where you are, not even the concession stands. Wear comfortable shoes!

Have business cards, take business cards

Having business cards ready is just smart. Taking business cards saves you headaches. Hand out your business cards to anyoe and everyone you happen to come across or meet, especially if they are possible business prospects. Taking business cards is the smarter option than having a bag full of swag you may not need. Sounds harsh but carrying a bag around is kind of cumbersome. Having business cards in your pocket, not so much. Roll with taking business cards.

The after parties at the Mariott and the Hilton are great.

When the convention ends at 6pm, the after parties begin. Although there are after parties happening all over town in each and every bar, restaurant or what have you, I’m going to suggest the most obvious ones because….it’s right in front of the convention center. Book a room wwwwaaaayyyy ahead of time and stay at one of these hotels. If you do, you can be sure not to get kicked out or asked to leave from the lobby when the party begins. Besides, they’re great hotels and if you get a room at one of the top floors, the sound will be Vegas minimal. But really, there’s usually a shit load of people in the lobby so if you want to not get a room and just hang at the lobby, you can, at least for a time. My suggestion is don’t set up camp and work the room. This is where you can really have some fun, network over drinks, meet new friends & rub elbows with rockstars.

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Bring cash

It’s just always a good call to carry cash. Although there are ATM machines inside the convention center, it’s going to be a walk to get to it, especially with everyone walking around. It’s for convenience’ sake.

Bring a jacket

Bring a jacket! Very important! You may have to do that long walk back to your ride or to a restaurant and it’s going to be cold. Like 49 degrees cold. I know its a drag walking around with it during the day but when you step out, that chill’s going to bite. And after a long tiring day, ya just might need a jacket.

Bring a phone charger

This is probably one of the most overheard questions I hear when I’m at NAMM. “Got an iPhone charger?” Please, people, bring one. if you look hard enough you will find somewhere to plug or charge. Even if they have charging stations, bring yours. There will be many people so having your own just makes it easier.

Map out your day

If your experience is going to be a one day affair, you defnitely need to map out your day. It’s a big place with lots of things to see, hear, experience and take in. I don’t suggest doing one day, do two at least. But in any aspect, map out your day. It’s busy and there’s an innate amount of hustle and bustle going on so you don’t want to be caught up “trying to look for…” while everything is happening around you. Map out your day and you’ll have a better chance at catching sessions, networking events, imromptu jam sessions and signings.

Eating Situation

If you are going to be at the convention for a few days, these are the best places to dine within walking distance. But if you’re only going to be at the convention for one full day, then you’re going to have to eat lunch inside the convention. It’s merely a race against time if you’ll only be at the convention for one full day as it definitely takes a lot of time to visit all the exhibitors you want to visit. It won’t happen in one day. It’s also going to be pricey to have lunch inside the convention but again, time is of the essence. Besides, you can always take advantage of the best places to dine around the convention center during dinner time, where some of you will most likely head home as it’s definitely a tiring event.

All photos: The NAMM Show official site.

Got some tips of your own? Comment below!