The winners were announced Monday for CMA’s touring industry honors known as the SRO Awards. The trophies were presented at an industry event at Marathon Music Works in Nashville hosted by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts.
“Our touring industry members are on the frontline, every day taking our music directly to the fans in small clubs, stadiums, and everything in between,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “Their hard work and many contributions to the success of the format deserve attention and a standing ovation.”
DeMarcus, Dierks Bentley, Hunter Hayes, and Cole Swindell presented trophies to members of their road families, while Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, Old Dominion, Chase Rice, Blake Shelton, Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, and Steve Wariner recorded personal congratulatory messages to celebrate the winners. The evening was a shining example of everything that makes Country Music tours among the most popular and profitable business center for the industry.
Swindell summed it up when he presented the SRO Award for Manager of the Year to Kerri Edwards: “We all know how hard she works on the team, but it is nice seeing her recognized by the industry.”
Brian O’Connell, who won the SRO Award for Talent Buyer/Promoter of the Year, spoke with passion about how this is the touring industry’s CMA Award: “This is OUR CMA Award for the guys and girls on the road who put it up and take it down.”
The winners in 15 categories were determined by CMA members in the following categories: Advertising/Public Relations/Media; Affiliated; Artist; Entertainment Services; Marketing/Digital; Musician; Personal Manager; Record Label; Talent Agent; Talent Buyer/Promoter; Touring; and Venue. Ballots were tabulated by the professional services firm Deloitte & Touche LLP.
CMA’s SRO Awards 2015 Winners are as follows:
CATEGORY 1 – BUSINESS MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Mary Ann McCready – Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc.
CATEGORY 2 – COACH/TRUCK DRIVER OF THE YEAR
Kelley Beck – Blake Shelton
CATEGORY 3 – FOH (FRONT OF HOUSE) ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
James McDermott – Dierks Bentley
CATEGORY 4 – LIGHTING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Philip Ealy – Kenny Chesney
CATEGORY 5 – MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Kerri Edwards – KP Entertainment
CATEGORY 6 – TOUR MANAGER OF THE YEAR
David Farmer – Kenny Chesney
CATEGORY 7 – MONITOR ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
Brad Baisley – Blake Shelton
CATEGORY 8 – PRODUCTION MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Ed Wannebo – Kenny Chesney
CATEGORY 9 – PUBLICIST OF THE YEAR
Ebie McFarland – Essential Broadcast Media, LLC
CATEGORY 10 – TALENT AGENT OF THE YEAR
Darin Murphy – Creative Artists Agency
CATEGORY 11 – TALENT BUYER/PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
Brian O’Connell – Live Nation
CATEGORY 12 – TOUR CATERER OF THE YEAR
CATEGORY 13 – TOURING MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR
Jenee Fleenor – Blake Shelton
CATEGORY 14 – VENUE OF THE YEAR
Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, Tenn.
CATEGORY 15 – TOUR VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Jay Cooper – Kenny Chesney
The SRO Awards were originally created by the CMA Board of Directors in 1990 to honor outstanding professional achievement within the touring industry. The first SRO Awards were presented at a black tie gala, hosted by K.T. Oslin and Roger Miller, during CMA’s Entertainment Expo, which was also known as the Talent Buyers Entertainment Marketplace. Ten SRO Awards were presented at the first gala and the number of awards swelled to 19 before the last were handed out at SRO ’97. In 2011, CMA brought back the Touring Musician of the Year Award. In 2012, SRO Awards in 14 categories were handed out in Nashville during the annual IEBA Conference and in 2013, the Talent Buyer/Promoter of the Year award was added bringing the total number of SRO Awards categories to 15.
About CMA: Founded in 1958, the Country Music Association was the first trade organization formed to promote a type of music. In 1961, CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame to recognize artists and industry professionals with Country Music’s highest honor. More than 7,400 music industry professionals and companies from around the globe are members of CMA. The organization’s objectives are to serve as an educational and professional resource for the industry and advance the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA’s core initiatives: the CMA Awards, which annually recognize outstanding achievement in the industry; the CMA Music Festival, which benefits music education and is taped for a three-hour TV special; and “CMA Country Christmas,” featuring Country artists performing original music and Christmas classics for broadcast during the holiday season. All of CMA’s television properties will air on the ABC Television network through 2021.