Perhaps you have been to a trade show for cars or gardening, or at least seen one on HGTV for new kitchen or bath products. Every January, approximately 1400+ wholesalers and manufacturers and 10,000 potential retail buyers (+ famous people demonstrating the products) gather in Anaheim CA for a music trade show. It is one of the largest shows of the year and not only fills the enormous Anaheim Convention Center but several nearby hotels. Not open to the general public, this show is the pulse of the music manufacturers’ industry and take hope! business was good this year. Hall after hall featured the newest music publications, guitars, pianos, band instruments, synthesizers and music software, and in the basement hall, we explored the newest kids on the block – those start up companies with the unique idea and product that sometimes wow the crowds and start new trends.
Footgear is extremely important at this show; if you are making the daily rounds of the show, you may walk up to 5 miles a day or more on concrete floors thinly covered with carpet. The experienced attendee sits down at regular intervals at a product demo, takes a break at one of the coffee bars in nearby hotels, eats lunch sitting down instead of “on the go” and stands for a few moments within the product booths that possess 2 or 3 extra layers of cushioning under their carpets – ahhhhhhhhhhhh. . . . . .
This year, I got a blister on my foot and excruciating hip pain by the end of the first day, even though I was wearing my most comfortable low-heeled dress shoes. Day 2 looked grim until I reluctantly conceded fashion defeat and wore my incredibly comfortable but glaringly unfashionable walking shoes. The next few days were pain free and productive, but I became obsessed with what other attendees were wearing on their feet, and I was surprised! Most of the men wore sneakers or rubber soled shoes, though there was an occasional Italian leather loafer or strapped and studded motorcycle boot. What surprised me was that most of the women were also sensibly hoofed but usually in fashionable funky sneakers or low heeled boots. Only a few hardy (or fool hardy) ladies wore a high fashion statement on the foot, and most of those were working the booths with cushy carpets. Well, they were paid for their pain – one of them admitted that she kept Tylenol in the back for the last two hours of each day on the show floor but didn’t want to give up her high heels. Ah, youth.
Next year? I am determined to find supportive shoes that don’t look like it – “hip AND comfy” is my new motto. In the meantime, enjoy the little video (shot completely on my iPhone) that I put together of another year of walking miles for music at the NAMM Show. Bill Purse, who also performed at the show, graciously provided “walking music” for the video. Various well known and not so well known musicians and hundreds of feet make an appearance. Support live music!
Like the little concert teaser at the end of the video? To watch a high quality Live streaming broadcast archive of the Bootsy Collins concert at NAMM, visit the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, another great organization devoted to the support of creativity and music education. Read more about funk musician Bootsy Collins – he also has a foundation to support music education and opportunities for young people (links on his page).
Text and images of “Walking Miles for Music” © 2012 Lynn Emberg Purse, all rights reserved. Please do not reblog.