Music China 2006
(Shanghai, Oct 18-21, 2006)


Music China 2006 was thoroughly exciting. It is not yet as big as Musikmesse Frankfurt or Winter NAMM, but like most other things in China, it is growing fast and anxious to catch up.

There were sound level problems the first two days, with some of the larger booths being so loud that it was nearly impossible to do business. But business was there to be done, and would not be denied. By the third day, show officials began to gain control of the sound, and the show became workable. Still loud, but workable. Trade show warrior Gary Mobley, unruffled by the often deafening cacophony, was usually able to conduct substantive meetings amidst the chaos.

Linda Zheng

Linda Zheng was indispensable, not only as our excellent booth helper and interpreter, but also in guiding us around Shanghai and helping us to adjust to Chinese culture and protocol. This show would have been impossible without her expert assistance. Thank you, Linda.

The day before I flew to China, I got a call from Richard Keldsen of Saga. He'd just learned that their usual banjo man was not making the trip to Shanghai and invited me to join them for the two daily shows at their booth.

The sets we played ranged from impossible to really fun, depending on the noise level in the room at the time. In either case, we always drew a crowd of curious people, many of whom were probably hearing (or at least, seeing) bluegrass music for the first time. Cameras snapped nonstop, and many new fans posed with us onstage between songs; sometimes even during songs.

tora bora boys

Energy was high, business was brisk, and attendance was good. There are still many kinks to be worked out: sound levels (louder than Musikmesse!!); the air conditioning shutting down in the afternoon (it was hot!); dozens of sleazy guys aggressively trying to sell you a cheap watch (get with it, security); insufficient local transportation (over an hour to get a cab after the show); some dropped communication with booth suppliers, and a few other details. It is not as smooth as a NAMM show, by any means.

But I am confident that they will work out these kinks. They're really still just getting started, and they have help from Messe Frankfurt. All things considered, it was a positive experience, and we accomplished a good deal. Music China promises to eventually assume a place alongside NAMM and Musikmesse Frankfurt as an essential annual showcase, and a window on the East.


For three days following Music China, Gary and I visited Seoul, Korea. I had a few of hours' worth of business to do there, and the rest of the time was for fun. Our good friend, Mr. Paul Kim, was a gracious host as he and his charming wife, Micaela, showed us around and gave us a taste of Korea. We enjoyed the food, the culture, and the people there very much. We had a wonderful time, and will treasure the memory always.

back row: performers from a traditional Korean dance.
front row: Paul Kim, Rick Shubb, Gary Mobley


pictures and wraps from...

2010: Winter NAMM 2010 |
2009: Winter NAMM 2009 | Summer NAMM 2009 (Nashville)
2008: Winter NAMM 2008 | Musicmesse Frankfurt 2008 | Summer NAMM 2008 (Nashville)
 Winter NAMM 2007 | Musikmesse Frankfurt 2007 | Summer NAMM 2007 (Austin) | Healdsburg Guitar Festival | Music China '07 |
Winter Namm 2006 | Musikmesse Frankfurt 2006 | Summer NAMM 2006 (Austin) | Music China 2006
Winter NAMM 2005 | Summer NAMM 2005 (Indianapolis) | James Burton Guitar Festival 2005 |
2004 and earlier:
Summer NAMM 2004 (Nashville) | Summer NAMM 2003 (Nashville)  | Musikmesse Frankfurt 2003
past Winter NAMM shows |