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19th Annual Parnelli Awards

Kevin M. Mitchell • FeaturesFebruary 2020 • February 10, 2020

Michael T. Strickland with the Parnelli Visionary Award and Garth BrooksThe 19th Annual Parnelli Awards was well on its way to becoming a record-breaking, talent-heavy, memorable event. And then Garth Brooks showed up, surprising the more than 750 people who packed the Anaheim Hilton’s Pacific Ballroom during the NAMM show on Jan. 17. He was there to honor Bandit Lites founder and Visionary Parnelli award winner Michael T. Strickland.

Brent Smith, Garth Brooks and Michael Strickland

Brooks made his surprising entrance after Brent Smith, lead vocalist of Shinedown and the scheduled presenter, had already made a fitting tribute, and the video sent in by longtime Bandit client Alice Cooper had gotten the crowd laughing. And that’s when the audience was stunned by the announcement of Brooks, who took the stage and shared some insights and jokes. When the clearly overwhelmed Strickland finally took the stage, for one rare moment, he was at a loss for words. To Smith, he said, “I believe you’ve been upstaged!” Then, in Strickland’s version of “there is no ‘I’ in ‘team,’” he brought many long-time Bandit associates to the stage

Karrie Keyes and Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam

Paving a Rocky Road

Earlier in the star-studded event, guitarist and co-founder of Pearl Jam Stone Gossard came to the stage to present the Audio Innovator Award to Karrie Keyes. In addition to working with that band for 29 years, Keyes co-founded, 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, in a speech that was equally touching and funny. “It took a Karrie Keyes taking huge chances, displaying courage, resolve, wit, and 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 decide is cool? And thank God, because they will make it better.”


Stone Gossard and Karrie Keyes

When Keyes took the stage, she thanked friends, family, Dave Rat of Rat Sound who gave her her start, plus Pearl Jam members. But she also had a message to deliver: “To not acknowledge that much of the industry is a boys’ club would be a disservice. Tonight, there are 64 people nominated for awards, of which only seven are women…So I ask you, the leaders in our industry, to think about this and somehow bring and welcome more women into the industry.” Her speech moved industry members, and the push for diversity became a recurring theme throughout the night.

Mark (“Pringle? Spanky? Ringo?”) Spring and Charlie Hernandez

Top Ten List

Longtime Paul McCartney production manager Mark “Springo” Spring received the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement honor at the gala after some hilarious roasting by presenter Charlie Hernandez and a video tribute crafted by another former Parnelli Lifetime Achievement award winner, Jake Berry, riffing in his version of David Letterman’s Top Ten lists, in this case, “Jake’s Top 10 Reasons Why Springo Should Get the Lifetime Achievement Award.” They included Number 4, “Sir Paul [McCartney] told us to do this,” and while that claim remains dubious, Springo fan McCartney did send in a video tribute.

NextGen Parnelli award recipient Henry Bordeaux with PLSN editor and presenter Nook Schoenfeld

NextGen Award

The 2020 ceremony was also the first to present the NextGen award to recognize newer talent. It went to Henry Bordeaux, whose multiple hats include serving as tour manager for Tyler, The Creator’s Igor tour.

Springo (center) flanked by well-wishers Dale “Opie” Skjerseth and Jake Berry

Stars (and Backstage VIPs) Shine

The gala was hosted by bassist and vocalist John Waite (“I Ain’t Missing You At All”), and the first presenter was rock legend Carmine Appice (Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne). Indianapolis-based singer/songwriter Tim Brickley performed live before and after the show, and during the emotional In Memoriam tribute to those we’ve lost in 2019, when he sang Jackson Browne’s “For a Dancer.”

These artists joined other presenters including backstage VIPs (and Parnelli winners) LeRoy Bennett, Baz Halpin, Michael Tait, Tamlyn Wright and NextGen nominee Amanda Davis (Janelle Monáe, Tegan and Sara and Ella Mai). Then Timeless Communications founder and Parnelli executive producer and co-founder (with the late Patrick Stansfield) Terry Lowe once again took the stage to welcome attendees and thank the event sponsors while also paying tribute to longtime Parnelli Board Member and show manager Stephen Gudis, who passed suddenly a week before the show.

Host John Waite and Terry Lowe

“Every year it seems we hit a new level of excitement for the Parnelli Awards, and this years event will truly be tough to out do,” Lowe reflected after the show. “As we enter in to our 20th year for the Parnelli’s what gives me the most joy is how the artists are embracing the show to express their appreciation for the production community. This is at the heart of what the Parnelli’s are about.”

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 go to

And the Parnelli Winners Are:

Mark “Springo” Spring

Lifetime Achievement Award: Mark “Springo” Spring

Mark “Springo” Spring


Michael Strickland, Garth Brooks and veteran members of the Bandit Lites team

Visionary Award: Michael T. Strickland

Michael Strickland called fellow Bandits to join him and Garth on the stage


Karrie Keyes

Audio Innovator Award: Karrie Keyes

Karrie Keyes


Henry Bordeaux

NextGen Award: Henry Bordeaux

Henry Bordeaux

Solotech’s Martin Tremblay, Dean Roney and Lee Moro

Lighting Company of the Year: Solotech

LeRoy Bennett and Lee Moro


ECLPS president Bob Morrissey

Hometown Hero Lighting Company of the Year: East Coast Lighting & Production Services/ECLPS

Bob Morrissey


Sooner Routhier was delayed by some work with Coldplay, but she eventually made it to Anaheim to receive her award.

Lighting Designer of the Year: Sooner Routhier



Tony Caporale

Lighting Director of the Year: Tony Caporale

Tony Caporale


LeRoy Bennett

Set/Scenic Designer of the Year: LeRoy Bennett

LeRoy Bennett


Sound Image’s Jesse Adamson

Sound Company of the Year: Sound Image

Presenter Michael Tait with Sound Image’s Jesse Adamson


Blackhawk Audio’s Rick Shimer

Hometown Hero Sound Company of the Year: Blackhawk Audio

Rick Shimer


David Morgan, pictured here at FOH for Fleetwood Mac with P.A. tech Chris Fulton, was mixing a gig for the band on the same night as the Parnellis and could not attend.

FOH Mixer of the Year: David Morgan

David Morgan, always prepared, provided the Parnelli crew with a selfie video to accept the honor in case he won.


Austin Schroeder

Monitor Mixer of the Year: Austin Schroeder

Austin Schroeder


Cameron Whaley

Audio System Tech of the Year: Cameron Whaley

George Petersen and Cameron Whaley


Moo TV’s Scott Scoville and Jason Rittenberry

Video Production Company of the Year: MooTV

Scott Scoville, John Waite and Jason Rittenberry


Paul Becher

Video Director of the Year: Paul Becher

Paul Becher


Jim Brammer accepts the award, joined by Nevin Kleege (left) and Greg Hareld (right).

Staging Company of the Year: G2 Structures

Jim Brammer, Carmine Appice, Greg Hareld and Nevin Kleege


Atlanta Rigging Systems’ Neil Montour

Rigging Company of the Year: ARS/Atlanta Rigging Systems

Neil Montour


Gallagher Staging’s Dan Broadhead

Set Construction Company of the Year: Gallagher Staging


Strictly FX’s David Kennedy and Grant Sellers

Pyrotechnic/Special Effects Company of the Year: Strictly FX

Strictly FX’s David Kennedy and Grant Sellers accept the Parnelli from Carmine Appice


Tim Rozner

Patrick Stansfield Production Manager of the Year: Tim Rozner

Tim Rozner


Marc St. Louis

Patrick Stansfield Tour Manager of the Year: Marc St. Louis

Marc St. Louis


Hemphill Brothers’ Joey Hemphill and Mark Larson

Coach Company of the Year: Hemphill Brothers

Joey Hemphill


Upstaging’s Chanon DiCarlo, Robin Shaw and Evan Lawrence

Trucking Company of the Year: Upstaging

Michael Tait and Upstaging’s Evan Lawrence, Robin Shaw and Chanon DiCarlo


John Waite and Rock-It Cargo’s David Bernstein

Freight Forwarding Company of the Year: Rock-It Cargo

David Bernstein



Elation’s Eric Loader and Matthias Hinrichs

Lighting: Elation/Artiste Monet

Eric Loader and Matthias Hinrichs


Accepting DiGiCo’s IT Award are James Gordon, CEO of parent company Audiotonix, and Phil Kamp, sales manager, Klang.

Audio: DiGiCo/SD/Klang:technologies 3D Integration

James Gordon and DiGiCo’s IT Award


Cody Buffington and Neil Abel accept the IT award on behalf of ROE Visual

Video: ROE Visual/Vanish 8 LED Panels

Stageline’s Pierre-Luc Rompre

Staging: Stageline/SAM450 Portable Stage

Pierre-Luc Rompre



Parnelli Awards executive producer Terry Lowe with Visionary winner Michael T. Strickland and surprise presenter Garth Brooks


Terry Lowe

Terry Lowe and John Waite


Garth Brooks, Michael Strickland and presenter Brent Smith from Shinedown


Garth Brooks


Brent Smith from Shinedown


Host John Waite

Host John Waite


Parnelli host John Waite, Michael Strickland and Garth Brooks


Presenter and Pearl Jam co-founder Stone Gossard


Carmine Appice

Carmine Appice

Carmine Appice


Presenter Charlie Hernandez


Presenter Nook Schoenfeld


Presenters Baz Halpin and Tamlyn Wright from Silent House Productions

Baz Halpin and Tamlyn Wright

Tamlyn Wright and Baz Halpin


NextGen nominee Amanda Davis presented awards with FOH magazine editor George Petersen

Amanda Davis and George Petersen

George Petersen and Amanda Davis


Tait Towers founder Michael Tait (presenter) and PLSN’s “Designer Watch” columnist Debi Moen (Awards Presenter Wrangler)

Michael Tait and Debi Moen

Presenter Michael Tait


Singer/Songwriter Tim Brickley

Singer/Songwriter Tim Brickley



Show supervisor/writer Marshall Bissett with Terry Lowe and John Waite

Deidre Prestidge (Teleprompter) and Kevin M. Mitchell (Producer/Writer)


The Parnelli team

Photo Credit: R.P. Getz




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