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The Premier Awards Show for the Live Event Industry


Garth Brooks Joins Record Crowd Honoring Parnelli Winners

January 19, 2020

Michael T. Strickland with the Parnelli Visionary Award and Garth Brooks

ANAHEIM, CA — The 19th Annual Parnelli Awards, the “Grammys” of the live event Industry, was well on its way to be 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.

Brent Smith, Garth Brooks and Michael Strickland

The top-selling country artist came to honor Michael T. Strickland, who was receiving a Parnelli Visionary award for his pioneering work in the lighting business. Strickland, founder of Bandit Lites, believed in Brooks when, as Strickland says, “he was a kid with a marketing degree and a couple of minor hits” — and huge ambitions. Brooks came to Bandit and said he wanted a lighting rig as big as KISS. The team at Bandit made it happen, raising the production bar for all country music.

Karrie Keyes and Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam

Brooks, who joined Brent Smith, lead vocalist in Shinedown, in presenting the honor to Strickland, was not the only artist to come and give praise. Stone Gossard, guitarist and co-founder of Pearl Jam, came to present the Audio Innovator Award to monitor engineer Karrie Keyes, who in addition to working with that band for 29 years, co-founded, an organization that encourages and supports women interested in the industry.

Stone Gossard and Karrie Keyes

“Historically, the sound engineer position has been filled with guys, [but] all that is changing,” Gossard said. “It took a Karrie Keyes taking huge chances, displaying courage, resolve, wit, 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.”

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

And while Bandit client Alice Cooper sent in a video jokingly skewering a portrait of Mike Strickland with a dozen thrown knives, longtime Paul McCartney production manager Mark “Springo” Spring received the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement honor at the gala after some equally hilarious roasting by presenters Charlie Hernandez and Jake Berry, the latter presenting a Late Night Top 10-style video on while Springo deserves the award for lifetime achievement — with the former Beatle himself driving the point home with his own video submission.

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

The ceremony was the first to present the NextGen award, which went to Henry Bordeaux, whose multiple hats include serving as tour manager for Tyler, The Creator’s Igor tour. It was hosted by bassist and vocalist John Waite, and Carmine Appice (Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne) joined Stone Gossard and Brent Smith in doling out the honors, with singer/songwriter Tim Brickley performing live.

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

These artists joined other presenters including backstage VIPs (and Parnelli winners) LeRoy Bennett, Baz Halpin, Michael Tait, Tamlyn Wright and Charlie Hernandez along with NextGen nominee Amanda Davis (Janelle Monáe, Tegan and Sara and Ella Mai). PLSN and FOH editors Nook Schoenfeld and George Petersen also stepped up to present awards.

Host John Waite and Terry Lowe

Timeless Communications founder and Parnelli executive producer and co-founder (with the late Patrick Stansfield) Terry Lowe, whose flagship publication, PLSN, celebrates its 20th anniversary issue in February 2020, once again took the stage to welcome attendees and thank the event sponsors for shining the spotlight on all the backstage companies and crew members who live up to the excellence espoused by the award’s namesake, Rick “Parnelli” O’Brien for the 19th consecutive year.

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 about this upcoming event, and for links to videos that will be soon posted for the 19th annual ceremony, 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

More Parnelli photos (Cocktail & After Party):