Walking Miles for Music

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.

18 thoughts on “Walking Miles for Music

  1. Great post & blog; thanks for stopping by The Magic Bus Stop. I realize this is almost totally beside the point, but I’m going Pavlov over those Western boots with the skulls.

    • Thanks for the visit! You are not the only one liking those boots; they are handmade and I’ve gotten several hits from fashion blogs about them. Not only are they beautiful, the woman wearing them said they were also incredibly comfortable.

      I was completely intrigued by your participation in the newest Eric Whitacre project; if I would have been paying attention, I would have joined in. I can’t wait to see the final result; you must feel the same way!

  2. Even as a man, I would happily try high heels if that was the cost of being there.

    I was attracted to the blog because I happen to compose ‘classical’ music – and am a Garden Judge!

    • Dear Colonialist, thanks for visiting; your comment sparked a great laugh! Ah, the cost of being there is being part of the music industry, though as a composer, you might find a connection. It is an amazing experience, nothing else like it!

      Gardens and music go together, don’t you think? The longer I do both, the more connected they seem. What kind of garden judging do you do? I’ve been active in the American Hemerocallis Society but not much else. I look forward to visiting your site 🙂

    • Thanks, Terra. It was an outdoor concert in very chilly weather, and Bootsy did not appear until the last 20 minutes or so, but it was great. Once the music started, everyone forgot how cold they were (temps dropped from 70 day to 50 by 6 P.M. – few attendees were wearing jackets) and everyone started to groove to the music, which was both uplifting and fun.

  3. I loved the video! The music matched the action in the video perfectly.

    Sorry to hear about your foot problem. Have you thought about wearing a ballerina flat? They’re fashionable and comfortable.

    • Hi Dienna, thanks for commenting! Glad you enjoyed the video; it was a fun challenge to try and match the music to the visuals but not use the original sound from the video.
      My feet are fine as long as I wear my arch support inserts. I love the look of ballerina flats but don’t find them comfortable – not enough arch support – I’ll probably look for black sport shoes or some low heeled boots. Ah, fashion . . .

  4. Great video, Lynn. Nothing like a long day, or three, walking around on concrete floors.

    Ah, foot issues. At this point in my life, I play baseball once a year, at a tournament in Bradenton, FL. I’m right-handed, so my left foot is my “landing foot” when pitching/throwing and hitting. Every year I screw up the nail on the big toe of my left foot…like clockwork. I’m told that it’s a function of the fit (or lack thereof) of my baseball shoes but every wise guy who tells me this then checks the fit and pronounces them “fine.” I didn’t have this problem when I was still playing regularly in the summers. Coincidence? (I think not.)

    • Thanks, Kerry – I enjoyed capturing it all in a low key manner with my iPhone camera, though it took forever to download and edit!
      When I used to practice salsa dancing, my left foot – the pivot foot – would get sore. Now I never try on a shoe on my right foot unless it fits the left one first – drives shoe store clerks crazy (my left foot is a little bigger than the right.) On the advice of my podiatrist, I started using rigid arch support inserts from New Balance; they are much cheaper than custom orthotics and are more comfortable. The doctor told me to buy several pairs and throw out the insole cushion in every shoe I bought and replace it with the firm support of the NB inserts. They work great and are relatively inexpensive – they sell them online. Might help.

  5. 1) Great job of integrating music, video, and text to share your experience.

    2) Nothing like a good pair of shoes because he all have stories of sore foot from a bad pair of shoes.

    • Thanks, Frank – I had great fun putting this one together. I did manage to walk the show without further pain when I opted for my fabulously supportive walking shoes – nothing like sore feet to make you cranky. But now I am on the hunt for functionality AND good looks – every woman’s dream 🙂

  6. I sympathize! I know all about the footwear problem from attendance at the Society for Neuroscience convention, our own 5-day, 35,000-person trade show of sorts held each year in some huge convention center with endless concrete floors…

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