Photo courtesy of the Music City Center

Magic in Music City

Grab your sunscreen and cowboy boots and get ready for Nashville — Summer NAMM is here! Check out the latest and greatest, from noteworthy gear to sweet demos and informative idea sessions to rock-star performances, all to be held July 13– 15 at the Music City Center.

"I see Summer NAMM as a critical component [for music retailers] to set the direction for the second half of the year, meet with their vendors, and make sure that they're set for those really important second-half-of-the-year months," said Joe Lamond, NAMM's president and CEO.

It's true that Summer NAMM is one-tenth the size of Winter NAMM, but the opportunities are just as endless. The slower pace of the summer show allows retailers to connect with their vendors, network with industry experts, and recharge their batteries — all while bringing new ideas and passion back to their stores, according to Lamond.

"Winter NAMM is an incredible gathering of all the tribes," he pointed out. "[Summer NAMM] is about music stores; it's about the community of music dealers."

But don't worry. Even though this year's show is jam packed with events, it's not all business here in the Music City.

"Nashville is a hybrid city that is just alive with music right now," Lamond said. "I leave there feeling more confident about music and the future of music than I ever could by staying at home."

Before the show officially starts, retailers can sign up for Retail Boot Camp, which begins Wednesday morning. This year, Retail Boot Camp will feature two different tracks, offering an intensive one-day training for everyone involved in music retail. Speakers include Alan Friedman and Daniel Jobe, CPAs with Friedman, Kannenberg & Co., and destination business expert, Jon Schallert.

As per tradition, Lamond will kick off the 2017 Summer NAMM show bright and early at the Breakfast of Champions Session with this year's topic of discussion, "The Retail Store of the Future." Lamond will sit down with Doug Stephens, founder and CEO of Retail Prophet, and discuss the future of retail.

Throughout the three-day show, more than 30 sessions will be presented by industry experts at the NAMM Idea Center. TEC Tracks will be back for its third Summer NAMM and will feature sessions on topics ranging from lyrics and song structure to preservation techniques.

And let's not forget about those nighttime events.

"The Top 100 Dealers [Awards] is a fantastic event on Friday night," Lamond noted. "The Top 100 Dealers — and all music dealers — really represent the inspiration, dedication and passion that is found in our industry. On Thursday night there's a neat opening event — The American Eagle Awards featuring the likes of Crystal Gayle, Patti Smith and Harry Shearer and some other great country artists, which all attendees are welcomed to attend, and then Saturday night is Muriel Anderson's All Star Guitar Night Unplugged."

Concerts and networking opportunities aside, if you're still on the fence about attending Summer NAMM, Lamond said retailers can justify making the trip down to Nashville for the education aspect alone.

"Getting together one time at Winter NAMM is not enough," he said. "If you want to see where retail is going and you want to wait until January, a lot is going to change between now and then. But if you go to Summer NAMM, you'll see the clues happening right now and make your business more successful." MI