There are times when the optimistic fervor (and a certain downright silliness) that are staples of the annual Winter NAMM Show get a bit tiresome.
Not this year - spending a few days immersed in the “what me worry?” vibe proved a welcome diversion in this uncertain economic time.
It’s not that the more serious issues of the day weren’t on the minds of many of the people I had the opportunity to talk with over the course of the show; rather, it seemed that any time the conversation started down a dark corner, up popped another of the seemingly endless episodes of whimsy that mark Winter NAMM.
There’s nothing like a bit of the theater of the absurd to take your mind off your troubles.
Typical NAMM Show conversation:
“Hey Joe, how’s it going?”
“Great, although business really slowed down in the fourth quarter.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard the same thing from several… wait a minute. What’s that?”
Joe turns and both stare for several seconds.
Then Joe turns back: “Do you think her mother knows she dresses like that?”
“I dunno… Uh… Wow.”
“Wait, is that a she or a he?”
Heads turn again.
“Huh… I can’t quite tell.”
“Not that there’s anything wrong with that…”
“So anyway, things are going OK. Could be better but sure could be worse.”
“Good to hear. Have a great show.”
Both return to staring while walking away, bumping into others also staring in the same direction as they navigate the aisle…
I mean, just look at this photo taken as I went from one booth to the next:
Scan it in total, take it all in - including the expressions of the guys at far left and right. And then create your own humorous caption(s)...
Scenes like this, recurring every couple/few minutes, really do tend to take your mind in interesting directions.
Besides the theatrical aspects, there’s also the fact that music itself is indeed a healer of the soul, invariably helping to lighten life’s various loads at opportune times. This year being no exception, there was plenty of outstanding live music of every type and stripe to be heard from sun-up to well beyond sun-down.
We may not make as much money, but it’s sure a lot more fun than working in the banking industry. Particularly at this point in time…
When it was all said and done, NAMM reported 85,799 registrants, a three percent decrease from last year. Not too bad, all things considered, although note that this is referring to “registrants” rather than “attendees”.
The majority of those who like to opine on these matters assured me that attendance was down significantly; however, a minority actually said they thought it was solid, maybe even up a bit.
What I do know is that there was a great deal of optimism among many manufacturers, excited about their new products. Read my ongoing Winter NAMM Show ‘09 report here.
Also be sure to have a look at Barry Rudolph’s report on his top product picks from the show.