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CMA hands out tour honors

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 – The Country Music Association presented industry honors to country's top touring professionals Monday during the CMA Touring Awards in Nashville.

The CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement Award to Live Nation's President of Country Music Touring, Brian O'Connell.

"The CMA Touring Awards offer us an opportunity to celebrate all of our vital behind-the-scenes industry members," said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "They are true road warriors, who night after night commit themselves to bringing live music straight to country music fans around the globe."

"He's in the trenches with us every day," Dierks Bentley shared about O'Connell from the stage. "He's on the road. He understands us. He gets this. You are either on the road, or you're not. There's no in-between. You either get the road or you are not on it, and he is out there."

O'Connell developed the Country Megaticket, a season ticket to country shows at Live Nation venues across the country and is behind the Watershed, Faster Horses and LakeShake festivals.

O'Connell insisted his entire staff join him on stage to accept the award. "They don't give you a Lifetime Achievement Award without having a lifetime. And I have had a 52-year-old lifetime that is amazing, and the reason that it is amazing is because I am the luckiest human being on the planet. I got to come to this amazing town, and I got to work with amazing people."

Winners were:

BUSINESS MANAGER OF THE YEAR Duane Clark - Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc.

COACH/TRUCK DRIVER OF THE YEAR Danny Shelnut - Montgomery Gentry

FRONT OF HOUSE (FOH) ENGINEER OF THE YEAR Arpad Sayko - Chris Stapleton

LIGHTING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR Dave Butzler - Garth Brooks

MANAGER OF THE YEAR Clarence Spalding - Maverick

TOUR MANAGER OF THE YEAR Logan Kornegay - Thomas Rhett

MONITOR ENGINEER OF THE YEAR Marc Earp - Eric Church

PRODUCTION MANAGER OF THE YEAR John Garriott - Chris Stapleton

PUBLICIST OF THE YEAR Jake Basden - Big Machine Label Group

- TALENT AGENT OF THE YEAR Darin Murphy - CAA

TALENT BUYER/PROMOTER OF THE YEAR Louis Messina - Messina Touring Group

TOUR CATERER OF THE YEAR Center Stage Events

TOURING MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR Nathan Barlowe - Keith Urban

VENUE OF THE YEAR Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, TN

TOUR VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR John Breslin - Garth Brooks

Winners in 15 categories were determined by CMA members of the Advertising/Public Relations/Media, Affiliated, Artist, Entertainment Services, Marketing/Digital, Musician, Personal Manager, Record Label, Talent Agent, Talent Buyer/Promoter, Touring Personnel and Venue sectors.

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