NAMM 2022: The Ultimate Survival Guide

NAMM 2022: It’s the music industry’s biggest trade show, and it’s almost ready to make its grand return. But before you touch down in scorching California, take some time to refresh your memory on how to navigate the show – and learn some of the key do’s and don’t’s if this super-sized NAMM is your first.

NAMM 2022 - Survival!

A strange symptom of emerging from a global pandemic, is that the ominous clutch of months prior to 2020’s unexpected public health crisis are seemingly harder to remember than the entire previous year. One thing that we remember vividly however, is January 2020’s NAMM show. It would be the final consecutive in-person event, since 1946’s post-war returning show. While Nashville’s Summer NAMM re-started in July of last year, this year’s merging of both Summer and flagship Winter events promises to result in a double-headed trade-show like no other. And a full-fledged reinvigoration of NAMM for 2022.

Once more taking over the Anaheim Convention Center from June 3rd to June 5th, the show will certainly feel a little different, not least because of the new post-Covid health and safety guidelines which will be in effect, prioritising safety above all else. Beyond that, after two years of quiet, the array of new products on show from the names wanting to make the biggest splash, will undoubtedly leave mouths agape.

At the best of times, NAMM can be an overwhelming experience (particularly if you’ve planned on a rigid schedule of meetings and events), and while this year’s promises to be a double-headed, bumper-sized extravaganza, it’s more important than ever to prepare yourself – both mentally and physically – for what you’ve got ahead. That’s where we come in.

As regular NAMM veterans, we can offer some of our tried-and-tested best approach advice for those of you looking forward to getting back out there, and in particular, we want to look out for those of you who might be jetting into the blistering sun of Anaheim for the very first time.


Firstly, let’s get a handle on the logistics of the show itself. Getting to Anaheim from LAX is a 35 minute car journey – Though you should really give yourself at least an hour for this drive, as traffic can be pretty intense. You should also bear in mind that airport customs and baggage claim can really eat into your time. So at a minimum, you should give yourself around two hours after landing to get yourself to the thick of it.


NAMM 2022 - Exterior


The Anaheim Convention Center is located at 800 West Katella Avenue, if you get lost however you’ll undoubtedly encounter the hordes of music-looking people heading that way on show days. Unless you’re exhibiting yourself, the show opens at 10am until 5pm. However, on Saturday and Sunday, exhibitors can escort a non-exhibitor on to the show floor from 8am to conduct business. Worth keeping in mind if you want to get ahead of the day.

The ever-useful interactive floor plan can be found here

The majority of the action takes place within the main convention centre building itself, with four halls (A-D). While Hall A and B house the all-purpose tech, DJ, instruments and lighting brands, Hall C specialises in guitar, drums… and noise! Hall D, often regarded as the ‘weird’ hall, plays host to some startling innovations, as well as more guitars than you could ever possibly need. Importantly for us audio-angled bods is the North Hall, which opened in 2018, this swish hall is pro audio-oriented and contains the likes of Sony, Antares, Dolby, Spitfire Audio, Focal and all the major players of that ilk.


While we can explain the topography in the abstract, it’s recommended that you plan out some time early on to just have a roam and get a feel for the place, particularly if you’ve got a fair few meetings planned over the course of the week. You don’t want to waste vital business-doing time squinting at a map, and walking down the wrong corridor.

What’s also recommended are the following, critical pieces of advice – some of which were learned the hard way. Take it from us, preparation is key, and looking after yourself is central to retaining both your objectives and professional sanity.

1: Give yourself an acclimatising day – and get to know the show

While we’ve mentioned scoping out the venue on day #1 and figuring out the lay of the land yourself, prior to that you should think about your own physical and mental wellbeing. Don’t spring straight off an 8 hour-ish flight and go straight to meeting one. Give yourself a day or two to adjust to the time difference, enjoy a little of California’s golden sunshine. You’ll feel brighter, more alert and sharper come the NAMM kickoff. Once you do get going, set aside some time to wallow in the general vibe of the show. Outside of your specific business objectives, a few casual chats with interesting exhibitors could open up fruitful new partnerships.

2: Plan meetings within the same hall

Planning on blazing through back-to-back meetings and appointments? Well, make sure you’re not darting between halls every half an hour by structuring your days so you’re seeing multiple people within the same space. NAMM 2022 will be big, and hectic, so if you’re having to constantly traverse the halls and punters you’re going to start running late, your feet are going to hurt, and you’ll become seriously antsy.

3: Wear comfortable walking shoes/trainers

Again, your physical well-being affects your psychological well-being, and your psychological well-being affects your decision-making in those all-important meetings. You don’t want aching, tired feet at the start of day two, and, while a suit and brogues might give off a certain message, is it really worth compromising your comfort?

NAMM 2022 - Show floor

4: Take a few pairs of earplugs

It’s not just your feet you need to worry about. NAMM’s volume gets fairly intense, and it’s all the more notable when you’re trying to shout above the din to seal a deal at a stand, or learn about a new product from the unlucky exhibitor pitched next to a drum peddler or DJ booth. When you don’t need to be listening carefully you should regularly squeeze in some earplugs to protect your eardrums from the aural assault of the show floor.

5: Get some fresh air (and wear sunscreen)

It’s such a shame that your potentially limited time in California will be spent largely within the auspices of a convention centre, so when you get the chance, take your clients/meeting attendees or colleagues outside to chat in the sun – a change of location will be appreciated by all, and the opportunity to wallow in a bit of soul-warming sunshine will certainly give you a Vitamin D boost. Just remember to apply a touch of sunscreen if you’re heading out to the sun for long periods – you really don’t want to be sporting that embarrassing (and painful) lobster-skin the next day.


NAMM 2022 - Enjoy it!


6: The show isn’t over…

While you might be ready to kick back after a long day traversing the show floor, for our money it’d be foolish to lock yourself in your hotel room until the following day. Some of NAMM’s best action happens in the evenings. From official events, such as the super-important TEC Awards, The Top 100 Dealer Awards and snazzy product launch events, to the memorable informal meetings which might devolve into drinking, laughter and hair-letting-down. The meat of NAMM has always been in its after-hours social activity. From forging new relationships or re-establishing the old, sealing the deal over jolly times is something that NAMM has long excelled at. We’ve recently published a feature that details some of the local area’s more notable spots to take out those you value. Just remember to pick up the tab – and not to plan anything serious too early the next day!

7: Enjoy it!

It might seemingly go without saying, but’s it’s really all too easy to get swept along by the intensity of NAMM 2022, tunnel-visioning your way through it to meet your scheduled objectives and see everyone you’ve planned to see. It’d be wrong though to not take the time to just take in the thrilling buzz of the show, and realise how lucky you are to be in attendance. Particularly after the tribulations of the previous years. Enjoy it. You’ll certainly remember it down the line.