NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess) The CMA Touring Awards, hosted by Jerrod Niemann, were handed out at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works Jan. 23, with Live Nation’s Brian O’Connell receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award and Louis Messina getting Talent Buyer/Promoter of the Year.
There were 15 categories overall. O’Connell received his award from CMA Board member Kix Brooks with remarks from Dierks Bentley and WME co-head (and sometimes golfing buddy) Rob Beckham. O’Connell can take credit for helping build the careers of several artists from Rascal Flatts to Luke Bryan, launching Live Nation’s country music “Megaticket,” and building more than a dozen country music festivals from Faster Horses to Watershed. The list also includes Las Vegas’ Route 91 Harvest Festival. Artists including Jason Aldean, Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts and Cole Swindell, as well as CMA Board members Tony Conway and Mike Moore, recorded video messages to congratulate BOC.
“He’s in the trenches with us every day,” Bentley said. “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.”
“They don’t give you a Lifetime Achievement Award without having a lifetime,” O’Connell said. “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.”
Brooks presented the Manger of the Year Award to his partner of 25 years, Clarence Spalding, with Thomas Rhett presnting Tour Manger of the Year to Logan Koregay (who got presented a green jacket a la the Masters).
Chris Stapleton presented two awards to his touring family: Arpad Sayko got the Front of House Entingeer of the Year Award and John Garriott got Production Manager of the Year Award. Angie Gentry, widow of Montgomery Gentry’s Troy Gentery, made a surprise appearance to give the Coach/Truck Driver of the Year Award to Danny Shelnut.
Video tributes throughout the night came from Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Danielle Bradbery, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Terri Clark, Vance Joy, Kid Rock, Jeremiah Fraites of The Lumineers, Reba McEntire, Midland, Eddie Montgomery, DeMarcus and Rooney of Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Ed Sheeran, Blake Shelton, George Strait and Keith Urban
The full list of winners follows:
CATEGORY 1 – BUSINESS MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Duane Clark – Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc.
CATEGORY 2 – COACH/TRUCK DRIVER OF THE YEAR
Danny Shelnut – Montgomery Gentry
CATEGORY 3 – FRONT OF HOUSE (FOH) ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
Arpad Sayko – Chris Stapleton
CATEGORY 4 – LIGHTING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Dave Butzler – Garth Brooks
CATEGORY 5 – MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Clarence Spalding – Maverick
CATEGORY 6 – TOUR MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Logan Kornegay – Thomas Rhett
CATEGORY 7 – MONITOR ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
Marc Earp – Eric Church
CATEGORY 8 – PRODUCTION MANAGER OF THE YEAR
John Garriott – Chris Stapleton
CATEGORY 9 – PUBLICIST OF THE YEAR
Jake Basden – Big Machine Label Group
CATEGORY 10 – TALENT AGENT OF THE YEAR
Darin Murphy – CAA
CATEGORY 11 – TALENT BUYER/PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
Louis Messina – Messina Touring Group
CATEGORY 12 – TOUR CATERER OF THE YEAR
Center Stage Events
CATEGORY 13 – TOURING MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR
Nathan Barlowe – Keith Urban
CATEGORY 14 – VENUE OF THE YEAR
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
CATEGORY 15 – TOUR VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
John Breslin – Garth Brooks