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."
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.