Annual CMA Touring Awards Takes Place Monday, Jan. 22 at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works, Hosted by Kristian Bush

The Country Music Association has proudly announced Live Nation’s President of Country Music Touring Brian O’Connell as this year’s recipient of the CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement Award. The CMA Touring Awards, which highlights vital behind-the-scenes members of the industry, will take place Monday, Jan. 22 at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works. CMA Awards winner Kristian Bush will host the ceremony.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award from the CMA,” O’Connell said. “This is absolutely not a reflection of anything I have done on my own, rather my incredible team in Nashville, Michael RapinoBob Roux and the rest of Live Nation giving us the latitude and guidance to achieve lofty goals, and most importantly the artist community, including the agents, managers and road warriors who make it all possible.”

“CMA is proud to have Brian as such an instrumental and influential voice on the CMA Board,” said CMA Senior Director of Awards and Industry Relations Brandi Simms. “His ability to think outside the box with touring while also expanding festivals in Country Music is inspiring, and he has no doubt made an impact on the genre that will live on for generations to come. He represents his artists with passion, commitment and insight, and we are all proud to know him.”

For more than 25 years, O’Connell has revolutionized Country touring while contributing to some of the most successful careers in Country Music. His growing legacy includes tours with artists Jason AldeanDierks BentleyBrooks & DunnLuke BryanFlorida Georgia LineToby KeithLady AntebellumMiranda LambertTim McGrawBrad PaisleyRascal FlattsThomas Rhettand Keith Urban. O’Connell developed the hugely successful Country Megaticket, a season ticket to the hottest Country shows at Live Nation venues across the country, and continues to grow a vibrant festival division within the company including Watershed, Faster Horses, LakeShake and more.

The CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement Award is for an individual who has accomplished the highest level in the Country Music field of touring. The Award was established to recognize an individual who has achieved both prominence and stature at the highest level. The individual receiving this Award has positively impacted and contributed to the growth of touring throughout a course of years that have proven to have an unprecedented historical impact on Country Music fans and the industry alike, and whose presence will have a long-term positive impact on Country Music and CMA for generations to come.

CMA members in the following membership groups were eligible to vote on the 15 categories up for awards: Advertising/Public Relations/Media, Affiliated, Artist, Entertainment Services, Marketing/Digital, Musician, Personal Manager, Record Label, Talent Agent, Talent Buyer/Promoter, Touring Personnel, and Venue. Each category contains five nominees, up from three used to determine winners in previous years. Ballots are tabulated by the professional services organization of Deloitte & Touche, LLP.

Final nominees for the 2017 CMA Touring Awards are as follows (in alphabetical order):

CATEGORY 1 – BUSINESS MANAGER OF THE YEAR


Duane Clark – Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc.
Cheryl Harris – O’Neil Hagaman, PLLC
Lou Taylor – Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group
Rob Taylor – Wiles + Taylor & Co., PC
Dwight Wiles – Wiles + Taylor & Co., PC

CATEGORY 2 – COACH/TRUCK DRIVER OF THE YEAR


Caleb Garrett – Luke Bryan
Jerry Martin – Darius Rucker
Larry Phye, Jr. – Chris Stapleton
Danny Shelnut – Montgomery Gentry
Kavin Spears – Eric Church
Dean Tubb – Charlie Daniels Band

CATEGORY 3 – FRONT OF HOUSE (FOH) ENGINEER OF THE YEAR 


Jared Blumenberg – Florida Georgia Line
Dan Heins – Garth Brooks
Arpad Sayko – Chris Stapleton
Frank Sgambellone – Luke Bryan
Chris Stephens – Jason Aldean

CATEGORY 4 – LIGHTING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR


Dave Butzler – Garth Brooks
Scott Cunningham – Florida Georgia Line
Philip Ealy – Kenny Chesney
Justin Kitchenman – Luke Bryan
Gavin Lake – Eric Church

CATEGORY 5 – MANAGER OF THE YEAR


Bob Doyle – Bob Doyle & Associates
Clint Higham – Morris Higham Management
Jason Owen – Sandbox Entertainment
John Peets – Q Prime South
Clarence Spalding – Maverick

CATEGORY 6 – TOUR MANAGER OF THE YEAR


Todd Bunch – Eric Church
David Farmer – Kenny Chesney
Tracy Greenwood – Garth Brooks
Logan Kornegay – Thomas Rhett
Mark Sizemore – Luke Bryan

CATEGORY 7 – MONITOR ENGINEER OF THE YEAR


Marc Earp – Eric Church
Juan Gomez – Florida Georgia Line
Ed Janiszewski – Luke Bryan
Phillip Robinson – Kenny Chesney
Martin Santos – Garth Brooks

CATEGORY 8 – PRODUCTION MANAGER OF THE YEAR


Drew Brown – Jason Aldean
Gary Chrosniak – Luke Bryan
John Garriott – Chris Stapleton
Todd Ortmeier – Florida Georgia Line
Brian Petree – Garth Brooks

CATEGORY 9 – PUBLICIST OF THE YEAR


Jake Basden – Big Machine Label Group
Tyne Parrish – The GreenRoom
Jessie Schmidt – Schmidt Relations
Nancy Seltzer – Nancy Seltzer & Associates, Inc.
Jensen Sussman – Sweet Talk Publicity

CATEGORY 10 – TALENT AGENT OF THE YEAR


Rob Beckham – WME
Joey Lee – WME
Darin Murphy – CAA
Kevin Neal – WME
Nate Ritches – Dale Morris & Associates

CATEGORY 11 – TALENT BUYER/PROMOTER OF THE YEAR


Ben Farrell – Lon Varnell Enterprises
Patrick McDill – Live Nation Nashville
Louis Messina – Messina Touring Group
Brian Traeger – Live Nation Nashville
Ed Warm – Joe’s Bar

CATEGORY 12 – TOUR CATERER OF THE YEAR


Center Stage Events
Concert Kitchen
HSG Catering
Knoxville Catering
Mike Maxwell + Co. Motion Picture Catering

CATEGORY 13 – TOURING MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR


Nathan Barlowe – Keith Urban
Wyatt Beard – Kenny Chesney
John Thomasson – Little Big Town
Lee Hendricks – Eric Church
Jimmy Mattingly – Garth Brooks

CATEGORY 14 – VENUE OF THE YEAR


Ascend Amphitheater – Nashville, TN
Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion – Gilford, NH
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
Grand Ole Opry House – Nashville, TN
Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO

CATEGORY 15 – TOUR VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR


John Breslin – Garth Brooks
Houston Creswell – Dierks Bentley
Milojko Dobrijevich – Jason Aldean
Chris Jones – Eric Church
Ryan Rushing – Luke Bryan

The CMA Touring Awards, originally called the SRO Awards, were created by the CMA Board of Directors in 1990 to honor outstanding professional achievement within the touring industry. The first awards were presented at a black-tie gala hosted by K.T. Oslin and Roger Miller during CMA’s Entertainment Expo, also known as the Talent Buyers Entertainment Marketplace. Ten awards were presented at the first gala and the number swelled to 19 over the years before settling at the current 15. The SRO Awards were renamed the CMA Touring Awards in 2016.

For more information, visit CMAworld.com.