LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Parnelli Awards Board of Directors have announced that Gerry Stickells, one of the pioneers of the touring and production industry, will be honored with the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Parnelli Awards. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with LDI show in Orlando, Florida, at a lavish event staged on November 16.
“In establishing the award to honor Rick ‘Parnelli’ O'Brian, Gerry L. Stickells was never very far out of the circle of attention,” says Patrick Stansfield, Executive Chairman of the Parnelli Advisory Board. “As he was Rick’s principal mentor and a great friend of his, it has always been our intention to honor Gerry with the Lifetime Achievement Award. We are pleased and proud that Gerry’s many profound moments and facets of his wonderful work will now be honored.”
Stickells was born one of ten children in the small town of Lydd Kent, England, in 1942. At the age of 14, he became an apprentice mechanic at a local garage at a time when cars and event electricity were scarce commodities. By the early 1960s, he found was driving bands around when he got a call from local musician Noel Redding, who said he was going to play with an American guitarist named Jimi Hendrix, and they needed a roadie. But all their gear was stuck in customs at Heathrow Airport, and if Stickells could get it out, he could have the gig.
He did, and this launched his long career in the live event business, the low point of which was when he was called to a hospital to identify Hendrix’s remains after his tragic death in 1970. Stickells would run Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios for two more years, when he left to work for Queen. With them, he put on some of the most audacious and imaginative tours in rock history. He organized the first Freddy Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, and wrote the book, Queen on the Road: The Authorized Story, published in 1995.
In 1977, he partnered with Chris Lamb and formed GLS Productions. Through the 1980s and 1990s, he set the bar for live concert production with GLS’s work with Elton John, Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, and Madonna, among many others. His love of travel and adventure had him staging concerts all over the world; he was particularly fond of South America, where he staged many great concerts, including “Rock in Rio” in 1985. Stickells has also worked with The Pretenders, Eric Clapton, Guns & Roses, Prince, Paul Simon, David Bowie, Bon Jovi, among others. Most recently, Stickells worked with Paul McCartney.
His amazing attention to detail and his refreshingly irreverent attitude has earned him the respect and admiration of all who work in the live event industry. Also appreciated is his sense of humor, which was on display when he was told of receiving this award: “Since people who know me are familiar with my rants on rules, regulations, committees, organizations, and awards, and how they are the ruination of our business, I'll just say thank you!” Stickell said.