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NAMM Returns to the Anaheim Stage

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) has historically been the largest trade show on the books for the Anaheim Convention Center, but that appears to have changed as the event looks to reshape itself in the wake of the pandemic.

This month’s edition of NAMM drew a crowd of about 47,000, off from its pre-pandemic figures that topped 115,000 people. The 2020 show, held about two months prior to the onset of the pandemic, marked the organization’s largest show in history and was also the convention center’s last major event that year.

In 2021, the show went completely virtual with online shows and conferences for participants. It returned in-person to Anaheim in summer 2022 with 46,627 attendees.

This month’s attendance figures trailed Natural Products Expo West, also held in April with around 65,000 attendees, and neared March’s WonderCon which had expected around 50,000 attendees.

NAMM, which draws vendors and music fans from around the world to showcase the newest products of the industry, has been held in Anaheim since 1978.

The music association that hosts the show is comprised of 15,000 global member companies and individual professionals from over 100 countries, with international attendance growing 64% year-over-year.

OC on Stage

Exhibitors and attendees include retailers, manufacturers, producers, stage managers, educators and artists, among others.

Buena Park-based musical instrument and audio-visual company Yamaha Corp. of America is one of the largest companies on display at the event, returning to Anaheim for the three-day conference held April 13-15.

“With musical instruments being very tactile, it really helps our retail music dealers, customers and educators to experience them in person,” Yamaha President Tom Sumner told the Business Journal. “The show also gives us a chance to get feedback on our products.”

Yamaha was one of about 40 Orange County companies in attendance, with a total of 3,500 firms exhibited across all three floors of the 1.8 million-square-foot Anaheim Convention Center, displaying products, interactive set-ups, stages and equipment.

Neighboring hotels—including the Hilton Anaheim and Anaheim Marriott—set up entertainment spaces as part of the event, with artists taking to the many stages to play live music from morning to night.

Visit Anaheim, the destination marketing organization which represents the city’s base of hotels, restaurants and event spaces, projected an economic impact of $88.7 million from NAMM to the local community, up around 15% from last year.

Technology—both from the exhibitors and event organizers—was at the forefront of this year’s event.

The event touted an updated digital platform, NAMM Show+, which livestreamed events and performances to view during the event, and until May.

Comeback Year

NAMM is one of 150 conventions, meetings, and events booked for 2023 that will contribute to the $1.4 billion overall economic impact for the year, according to Visit Anaheim.

This year is a comeback year for the city with an expected 1 million visitors to the area during its fiscal year of events, the first time the city has seen that figure since 2019.

The marketing group is already ahead of its event expectations for 2023, officials noted.
NAMM is scheduled to return to its traditional dates in January 2024.

NAMM’s incoming Chief Executive John Mlynczak will take over the top role from Joe Lamond next month.

Mlynczak has noted that exhibitor reservations are already exceeding expectations for next year.

“The future of NAMM is bright due to the power of our global industry coming together, back at home in Anaheim,” he told the Business Journal.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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