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Nashville Drum Show 2012

Article by Sean Mitchell // September 08 2012
Nashville Drum Show 2012

This year marks the sixteenth year of the Nashville Drum Show. Part entertainment, part swap meet, part vintage drum show, the two day event promises once again to be crowd pleaser. Festival organizer George Lawrence took time from a very hectic schedule to dish the details on this year's show. Read on.


George, let’s talk a little about the Nashville Drum Show’s history. How did it get its start, and how long have you had the festival going?

Not So Modern Drummer founder, John Aldridge, started it in 1996 as a small vintage drum show, then he added the Snare Drum Olympics in 1998. It was an annual event that continued into the early 2000s until John moved to Oklahoma. It was not produced again in Nashville until 2009 when I bought the magazine. The 2010 show was held in Akron, Ohio, where my drum shop was. I moved back to Nashville in 2011, and we skipped producing the show because I wanted to wait until I was firmly entrenched in Nashville.

How long has Gary Forkum been with the show? How important has his contribution been to not only the Nashville drum scene, but to the event as well?

Gary and I have been friends since 1996 when I started teaching at his Fork’s Drum Closet. This is our first time to produce an event together. Gary is very influential with the drummers in the Southland, with the vintage drum collectors and with the drum manufacturing industry. I could not have thrown a show of this magnitude without him.

Tell us about the performers you have lined up this year.

Keith Carlock will perform Sunday evening with guitarist Wayne Krantz and bassist Nate Wood. My band, Poco, and Gary’s band, the Midnight Riders, will perform Saturday evening. Nashville drummer Ken Sanders’ band is playing, and Amedia Cymbals’ endorser Bob Harsen’s band is playing. Gary and I did not want to do drum clinics per se. October is clinic month at Fork’s. There were already lots of clinics scheduled right after the show so we chose to just do live performances. I personally think a drum show is not the right atmosphere for a drum clinic. Many attendees are not drummers and everyone wants to hear a great band and we have five great ones so far. We have two buildings at the Expo Center at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds: the Agricultural Building that will hold 150 booths for the drum show, and the Show Arena, a covered venue with bleachers for the evening performances.

Tell us about some of the events going on at the festival this year.

The Snare Drum Olympics snare drums will be on display for the public to play and judge. The drum set solo contest is based on a two minute performance. Anyone can enter. The Jam Session stage, an outside stage, will have a house band of pro Nashville cats that anybody can sit in with.

The NDS also has a swap meet and flea market aspect to it. How does that work and how can attendees sell/trade gear?

Those attendees who don’t want to rent a booth can bring their gear to the consignment booth and we’ll sell it for them for a 10 percent commission. Attendees can bring gear to trade as well.

There is of course a vintage aspect to the show as well, any insights as to what vintage collectors and fans can expect to see this year at the drum museum?

A big vintage component! Lots of vintage drum sellers and buyers. Brian Hill of On the Ropes is a well known antique rope drum collector and will be overseeing his display of really cool civil war and revolutionary war drums; some of my vintage drums will be in the museum, and we have a 1920s Ludwig engraved Black Beauty that was just donated to our actual Vintage Drum Museum. Many attendees are bringing a snare drum or two or drum sets to show off at the museum. Gary Forkum will have some of his huge snare drum collection there as well.

George your band, Poco, is going to be among the performers as well as performing some shows leading up to your event. How difficult is it to arrange an event of this size and still maintain your duties for this very successful act?

Well, I had to hire my own dang band to play so they wouldn’t book anything that weekend! J Really, they have been gracious about scheduling, though I have hired subs to fill in for me to attend the Chicago Drum Show before. I’m so used to running my business from a computer and a telephone no matter where I am, that I’ve not even thought about it.

Where can we get tickets?

Tickets are available online at www.nashvilledrumshow.com. Daily general admission is $15 which includes all the performances that day and a raffle ticket to win one of thousands of dollars worth of prizes from the exhibitors. The $30 reserve seat ticket adds a reserve seat up front at that night’s performance(s). The VIP pass gets you in both days, reserve seating, and early entrance during vendor set up on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

How can one rent an exhibit booth for this and future shows?

$200 buys a 10x10 booth and we are not limited to just drums—guitars, jewellery, insurance….drummers need insurance. We need to fill booths. They can call me at 330-338-6035 or email george@notsomoderndrummer.com

Are you looking for volunteers? 

Sure. If you want to do some manual labour for four hours I’ll give you free admission for that day. I’m not going to schedule volunteers for the whole day because I know they want to walk the show too. 

Thanks for the publicity, Sean. I’m a big fan of The Black Page.



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About the Author
Sean Mitchell

Sean Mitchell has been an active participant in the drumming industry for over 20 years. He has studied under Crash Test Dummies drummer Mitch Dorge and Drumming's Global Ambassador Dom Famularo. Sean is also a songwriter and regularly performs with his wife (and singer) Jill Mitchell. Sean proudly endorses Aquarian Drumheads.

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