Trent Wolbe explores the floors of the music merchant industry’s biggest convention
Every year around this time the National Association of Music Merchants hosts an “industry-only” exposition at the Anaheim Convention Center. While other conferences maintain an air of stuffy exclusivity, NAMM prides itself on bringing its end users into the fold. Sure, there are regional sales representatives all over the place, but they look more like Jimmy Buffett than his square bro Warren. The majority of NAMM’s attendees in 2013 seem to be the humbly iconic riff-raff with “artist” badges: leather-clad axe gods, pimply gauged-lobed So-Cal post-pop-punk skins slayers, and aspiring divas in distressed graphic tees from the Juniors section at Target. I love them all: it’s a portrait of a passionate and un-jaded America that I rarely see anywhere else. Especially not on the internet.