The 19th Annual Parnelli Awards, the Grammy’s of the Life Event Industry, was well-on its way to be a record-breaking memorable event … and then Garth Brooks showed up.
Surprising the more than 750 people who packed Anaheim Hilton’s Pacific Ballroom during The NAMM Show, the country artist came to honor Michael Strickland who was receiving a Parnelli Visionary Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering work in the lighting business. Strickland and his company Bandit Lights, believed in Brooks when as Strickland says, “He was a kid with a marketing degree and a couple of minor hits” when he came to Bandit and said he wanted a lighting rig as big as KISS – thus raising the production bar for all country music.
Brooks was not the only artist to come and give praise. Stone Gossard, guitarist and co-founder of Pearl Jam, came to present the Audio Innovator Award to monitor engineer Karrie Keyes, who in addition to working with that band for 29 years, co-founded SoundGirls.org, an organization that encourages and supports women interested in the industry. “Historically, the sound engineer position has been filled with guys [but] all that is changing,” Gossard said. “It took a Karrie Keyes taking huge chances, displaying courage, resolve, wit, resiliency to pave that road. Can we just admit now that women all across the world will not accept being shut out of anything that they decid is cool – and thank God because they will make it better.”
Longtime McCartney production manager Mark “Springo” Spring received the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement honor at the gala that also saw the presentation of the first-ever Parnelli NextGen Award to Henry Bordeaux, tour manager for Tyler, The Creator’s Igor tour.
The ceremony, staged during The 2020 NAMM Show, was packed to the brim with musical talent as well, with bassist and vocalist John Waite serving as host, singer/songwriter Tim Brickley performing and presenters included Brent Smith (Shinedown) and Carmine Appice (Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne).
These artists joined other presenters including backstage VIPs (and Parnelli winners) LeRoy Bennett, Baz Halpin, Michael Tait, Tamlyn Wright and Charlie Hernandez along with NextGen nominee Amanda Davis (Janelle Monáe, Tegan and Sara and Ella Mai). PLSN and FOH editors Nook Schoenfeld and George Petersen also stepped up to present awards.
Timeless Communications founder and Parnelli executive producer and co-founder (with the late Patrick Stansfield) Terry Lowe, whose flagship publication, PLSN, celebrates its 20th anniversary issue in February 2020, once again took the stage to welcome attendees and thank the event sponsors for shining the spotlight on all the backstage companies and crew members who live up to the excellence espoused by the award’s namesake, Rick “Parnelli” O’Brien for the 19th consecutive year.
Preliminary preparations are already being made for the 20th annual Parnelli Awards, which are set to take place Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, once again at the Anaheim Hilton during Winter NAMM. For more information about this upcoming event, and for links to videos that will be soon posted for the 19th annual ceremony, go to www.parnelliawards.com.
And the Parnelli Winners Are:
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Mark “Springo” Spring
- Visionary Award: Michael T. Strickland
- Audio Innovator Award: Karrie Keyes
- NextGen Award: Henry Bordeaux
- Lighting Company of the Year: Solotech
- Hometown Hero Lighting Company of the Year: East Coast Lighting & Production Services/ECLPS
- Lighting Designer of the Year: Sooner Routhier
- Lighting Director of the Year: Tony Caporale
- Set/Scenic Designer of the Year: LeRoy Bennett
- Sound Company of the Year: Sound Image
- Hometown Hero Sound Company of the Year: Blackhawk Audio
- FOH Mixer of the Year: David Morgan
- Monitor Mixer of the Year: Austin Schroeder
- Audio System Tech of the Year: Cameron Whaley
- Video Production Company of the Year: MooTV
- Video Director of the Year: Paul Becher
- Staging Company of the Year: G2 Structures
- Rigging Company of the Year: ARS/Atlanta Rigging Systems
- Set Construction Company of the Year: Gallagher Staging
- Pyrotechnic/Special Effects Company of the Year: Strictly FX
- The Patrick Stansfield Production Manager of the Year: Tim Rozner
- The Patrick Stansfield Tour Manager of the Year: Marc St. Louis
- Coach Company of the Year: Hemphill Brothers
- Trucking Company of the Year: Upstaging
- Freight Forwarding Company of the Year: Rock-It Cargo
- Lighting: Elation/Artiste Monet
- Audio: DiGiCo/SD/Klang: Technologies 3D Integration
- Video: ROE Visual/Vanish 8 LED Panels
- Staging: Stageline/SAM450 Portable Stage
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