The 2020 NAMM Show—Lucky Number Three

By Barney Jameson

From Cicero to De La Soul, many of history’s greatest thinkers have described the number three as possessing a special kind of magic. So it proved again this January, as The NAMM Show delivered its third outing since professional audio was given a dedicated, purpose-designed home in the Anaheim Convention Center. Staying true to the rule of three or, as the Romans would have said, omne trium perfectum, this year’s show was easily the best yet.

In writing that I also need to confess a small bias: throughout those same years, it has been my privilege to play a small role alongside the phenomenally talented and hardworking NAMM Staff in delivering this new format for the exhibition. To put it mildly, it’s been an adventure.

I first realized how wild that adventure would be on Thursday January 25th, 2018—the day that ACC North became The NAMM Show’s new home for pro audio. I awoke that morning to the thought that if no one showed up to visit the new hall then I would be, as the Romans almost certainly didn’t say, usque stercore creek sine remus—up a particularly nasty creek without a paddle in sight. Thankfully, from the moment the show opened, ACC North was a hit and has remained so since.

Of course, the credit for that success actually belongs with the many companies who either moved into the new hall from the previous show floor or gave it a chance as newcomers to the exhibition.

The NAMM Show has always had a number of factors on its side—it’s fundamentally fun, full of music and it takes place at a time of year when rental companies are catching their breath, manufacturers are announcing new products and more than half the world is keen to escape the January blues for some good old Californian rock ‘n’ roll.

But the success of the last three years is still all thanks to the companies who have shown tremendous faith in the event. That was true in 2019, when NAMM introduced the Loudspeaker System Showcase and more people turned up to hear the line arrays than anyone had dared hope for. It was just as true in 2020, when ACC North was busier than ever and the Showcase hosted more systems and guests than ever before.

So to those companies, I offer my sincere and humble thanks. From mermaids at packed poolside parties to rock star product introductions that block already bustling aisles and the emotional impact of Joni Mitchell at the TEC Awards, it could all only happen at The NAMM Show, and The NAMM Show only happens with the support of a truly unique industry. Here’s to the last three years of meeting at the crossroads and all the years to come.