The PMC is Committed to Inspiring the Next Generation of Drummers

The PMC is Committed to Inspiring the Next Generation of Drummers

The December 2018 issue of Music Inc. magazine interviewed the PMC's co-executive directors for the article “Seeding the Market: Percussion Marketing Council is committed to partnering with retailers and schools to inspire the next generation of drummers.”

Many thanks to the Music Inc. magazine publisher for spotlighting the work that the Percussion Marketing Council does to promote drumming and create new drummers.

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PERCUSSION TRENDS Q&A: Growing the Drum Market by Creating More Drummers

PERCUSSION TRENDS Q&A: Growing the Drum Market by Creating More Drummers

The November 2018 issue of Music Trades magazine featured a Q&A with the PMC’s co-executive directors: David Jewell, Stacey Montgomery-Clark, Brad Smith, and Karl Dustman on “Percussion Trends” and the work the PMC is doing to grow the drum market by creating more drummers.

Many thanks to the Music Trades magazine publishers for spotlighting the work that the Percussion Marketing Council does to promote drumming and create new drummers.

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Def Leppard Drummer Rick Allen Welcomes PMC’s “Roadie for a Day” Grand Prize Winner

 Roadie for a Day winner 2018 with Rick Allen, drummer for Def Leppard

CLEVELAND, OH — September 23rd marked the conclusion of the Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) 2018 International Drum Month promotion with the “Roadie for a Day” grand prize winner meeting legendary drummer Rick Allen of Def Leppard at the San Diego, CA concert. Contest winner Bradley Biggs from Anaheim, CA, spent the day at the Petco Stadium, meeting with Allen backstage, and experiencing what it’s like to be a professional touring drummer, including band sound-check and all-access Def Leppard concert.

Biggs was one of more than 1200 entries submitted online through the Percussion Marketing Council’s website. The PMC's International Drum Month promotion reaches beyond the music industry through targeted social media marketing to create excitement for drums and drumming, while helping drive new drummer-customers to local music stores or drum shops during the  month-long May campaign.

“This year the International Drum Month campaign and ‘Drum Roadie for a Day’ contest received tremendous interest and support from the entire percussion industry,” says PMC Executive Director Karl Dustman. “We had 125 participating retailers use the life-size Rick Allen standup in their stores to attract additional entries for the “Drum Roadie for a Day” contest. This year we more than doubled the number of entries that were received during the 2017 International Drum Month (IDM) campaign.  With over 1200 contest entries, this is the largest consumer participation in IDM history.”

The “Roadie for a Day” backstage experience started early in the day with a detailed tour of Allen’s drum kit with Def Leppard drum tech Jeff Diffner. He went in-depth on the inner workings of Allen’s drums as well as the Def Leppard live show. Allen surprised contest winner Biggs by showing up backstage earlier than expected. Biggs was floored when Allen walked up to him and said, “Hi Bradley, I’m Rick and it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Biggs commented after the concert, “While it’s music that makes a band, it is an enduring spirit of perseverance that makes Def Leppard. Rick Allen particularly embodies this spirit and serves as a fountain of musical and emotional inspiration in my life. While I have previously attended other Def Leppard concerts, but this year on behalf of the Percussion Marketing Council, I got to experience my favorite music in an entirely new way. It was truly an honor of a lifetime to be chosen as the winner of the PMC’s 2018 Roadie for a Day contest.”

Special thanks to Yamaha Corporation Marketing Communications Manager David Jewell and Yamaha Drums Artist Relations Manager Greg Crane for arranging this year’s backstage experience with Rick Allen. Allen is considered one of rock music’s most energetic and talented drummers on an international scale. A 1984 automobile accident severed Allen’s left arm, but he did not let that stop him. With the aid of acoustic-electric hybrid drum kit, Allen uses four electronic pedals for his left foot to play the pieces he used to play with his left arm. Allen plays Yamaha Oak Custom drums with a matching subkick, along with Remo drumheads, and Zildjian cymbals.  

Plans are already developing for the May 2019 International Drum Month campaign with the goal of recruiting more retailers and attracting even larger consumer participation.

KoSA 23 Drum Camp in Montreal was a smashing success!

Official Press Release:

The renowned KoSA International Percussion Workshop and Drum Camp celebrated its 23rd edition in Montréal, Québec Canada this past June at KoSA’s year-round music school:  the KoSA Academy. KoSA’s Co-Founders and Directors, Aldo Mazza and his musician wife Dr. Jolán Kovács  hosted a jam-packed room of eager participants who came from different parts of Canada and the United States to attend this uniquely inspiring and intense event.

KoSA prides itself in offering a total percussion immersion (40 hours of drumming in 5 days!) in a variety of world percussion instruments (congas, bongos, djembes, cajon, drumset) and a variety of styles (Cuban, African, jazz, funk, rock). This year’s theme:  “Play Better” was a fitting message about taking control in your life by studying with the top masters and applying what you are learning in achieving the ultimate goal of playing better and improving one’s self. The students this year ranged in age from 11-67 and had a diverse level of ability from merely one year of training, to advanced professionals, and yet despite these marked differences, an intense bond and camaraderie was immediately formed as of the first day.

The week kicked off with a very informative clinic on drumset techniques by Montreal jazz musician and Concordia professor Jim Doxas who was accompanied by his talented bass player Adrian Vedady.  Yves Cypihot who teaches at the KoSA Academy’s year-round music school shared his expertise in African drumming and gave a highly energetic class to all on African djembe techniques. Tuesday evening, participants had a lively discussion via skype with the multi- talented Joe Bergamini live from his studio in New Jersey.  Joe talked about the Sabian Education Network (SEN) and he covered the topic of drumming in broadway shows, explaining  the process of performing, and preparing to play in the broadway world according to his vast experience. The week continued with the legendary Cuban group Clave Y Guaguancó (the famed group that was formed in Havana, Cuba nearly 50 years ago)  and participants were transported straight into the Cuban culture of songs and rhythms .   Aldo Mazza’s classes in Cuban techniques promoted his own recent book on “Cuban Rhythms for Percussion & Drumset:  The Essentials” and he wowed his captive audience as he performed on his unique hybrid drumset. This hybrid performance practice mixes African drumming, Cuban drumming, hand percussion of all types, electronic percussion and looping live in performance. 

On Thursday, the KoSA camp was graced with the presence of Larnell Lewis of the Grammy-award fusion group Snarky Puppy.  Larnell spoke straight from his heart about his beginnings in music and what it takes to make it in the music world.   He was very touched to receive from KoSA a Lifetime Achievement Award for “his creative and innovative drumming concepts and techniques.”  All participants received a complimentary ticket from KoSA as part of their tuition to see Snarky Puppy and Larnell at the Montreal Jazz Festival that evening and were simply blown away with the mastery of the group!  

The week continued with the incomparable Glen Velez who taught Arabic frame drum techniques (this was his 23rd appearance teaching at KoSA) and hypnotized everyone with his interactive vocalization and Central Asian overtone singing.    First time KoSA Faculty member, Emmanuelle Caplette also shared her mega talent at KoSA on Friday morning putting participants through a grueling regiment of drumset techniques stemming from her own background in the drum corp world.  The participants then showcased their own passion for drumming on Friday afternoon. There were many memorable performances including various trios featuring participants on drumset accompanied by KoSA’s talented rhythm section:  Juan Carmona from Cuba on bass and the immensely talented Montreal artist who also is on faculty at the KoSA Academy:  Yoel Diaz.  

On the last day, long-time KoSA alumnus Faculty member Sergio Bellotti, spoke to participants about the importance of music education and gave an extremely inspiring clinic on musical application of the rudiments on the drumset .  Following this presentation, Sergio was joined in a round-panel discussion alongside Jim West (founder of Justin Time Records), Mark Guiliana (drummer for the late David Bowie), and Aldo Mazza in a vivid discussion of “Success in the Music Business World”.  The day and the camp wrapped up with Mark Guiliana who was invited for the second time as a member of the KoSA Faculty but who was also a KoSA participant for two years in a row when he was merely 16 and 17 years of age.  A fun fact and sheer inspiration for the current 16 year old participants to know!

Graciously sponsored by : Ludwig/Musser, Sabian, Evans, Yamaha, Promark, Gretsch, Vic Firth, Alfred, Zildjian , and Sonor. The KoSA world is continuously in expansion with programs not only in Canada, the USA but also in Cuba ,Europe and in China.   For more information on all things KoSA, visit us at and at                                              -30-

Get a FREE drum lesson at Warped Tour 2018!


This summer at Vans Warped Tour, visit the Percussion Marketing Council's First Free Drum Lesson Tent at the following locations to get a free introductory drum lesson. Stay tuned for more cities to be announced!

Hosted by Cascio Music

Hosted by Long Island Drum Center

Hosted by Progressive Music Center



Any retailer wishing to get involved should contact Billy Cuthrell at to reserve your tour date and location ASAP.

PMC Announces “Last Call” for Retailers to Participate in 2018 Summer Vans Warped Tour, First Drum Lesson Campaign

Cascio Music tent-hosting with electronic drum kits, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

PMC Announces “Last Call” For Retailers To Participate In 2018 Summer Vans Warped Tour, First Drum Lesson Campaign

Since 2011 the Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) has offered retailers the chance to partner with Vans Warped Tour to promote the excitement and benefits of drums and drumming to the thousands of attendees that gather at each tour city. The PMC reports that the average annual first-free drum lessons provided by the local professional drum teacher has exceeded 850 free drum lessons per summer tour. 

“This is a tremendous opportunity for any percussion retailer to grow their customer base," says Billy Cuthrell, Percussion Marketing Council’s Vans Warped Tour Lesson Lab Program Director. “We have been collaborating with the Vans Warped Tours for over six years and encourage any educational-minded music retailer to host a PMC First-Free Drum Lesson Tent operation within their regional market.” The dates and venues are all posted on  as 2018 marks the Vans Warped Tour's final cross-country run.

The partnership between the PMC and Vans Warped Tour is founded on the PMC’s non-profit status, bringing an educational element to the summer concerts, while offering local participating drum retailers the opportunity to connect with the energized youth market to create new players and customers.  

Cuthrell says, “It’s a win for the retailer on all fronts. While getting your business's name out in front of thousands of loyal music devotees, you’re also supporting your local community. Just by bringing plenty of your store’s business cards, hanging your large store banner within the FREE DRUM LESSON Tent and having promotional/educational store materials to hand it out to all that come by the tent for that first drum lessons you are going to get attention and customers".

The PMC promotes that alliance to retailers as a free and simple process. Once the hosting retailer’s date and venue is confirmed the Lesson Lab pop-up tent is scheduled to ship directly to the store free-of-charge along with supporting collateral materials to help make the day successful. The local hosting percussion retailer provides free first-five-minute drum lessons to any attendee that signs-up during the day at the Lesson Lab tent. The hosting retailer collects the beginning drummer contact information so that the retailer and the PMC can then follow-up with each individual that experienced his or her first drum lesson during the Vans Warped Tour event. The number of drum lessons given in one day could range from seventy to over a hundred.

Cuthrell says, “There’s plenty of cities and dates on the Vans Warped Tour schedule still available and retailers should check for current 2018 US tour dates." 

Any retailer wishing to get involved should contact Cuthrell directly as soon as possible at to reserve your tour date and location. Once confirmed you will receive a confirmation and planning tips/FAQ sheet for information on making your date successful. Cuthrell will also guide you through the steps to take at the event to ensure your success and answer any questions you have.

Lesson Lab tent hosted by Rhythm Traders Drum Shop, Portland, Oregon

Yamaha hosted Lesson Lab in Pomona, California

PMC "Roadie for a Day" Contest Provides Experience-of-a-Lifetime for Contest Winner

“The February 16th, 2018 Roadie For A Day event was a huge success”, according to Sarah Hagan, the Percussion Marketing Council’s Advisory Board Member overseeing the grand finale event from the 2017 International Drum Month campaign contest.  Hosted by international drummer celebrity Matt Greiner, drummer with the August Burns Red Band, and Zildjian’s Director of Artist Relations, Sarah Hagan, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The twenty-five year-old winner Bobby Laflamme of Winchendon, MA witnessed a day-long event that culminated the search and review of over five-hundred contest entries for the PMC’s  2017 Roadie Contest.

Hagan reported, “The event took place at the Palladium in Worcester, MA which was the venue for the evening concert.  Matt was a gracious host to Bobby Laflamme and I.  After the usual introductions, we went backstage to meet Matt Greiner and the entire August Burns Red band, and to present Bobby with his PMC Grand-Prize Package assembled from the many PMC Membership companies.  After that it was time to for Bobby to start experiencing a day in the life of a professional high visibility drummer.  They spent time together talking about drums, the music industry, and life on the road with Matt and the band. The full-scale on-stage sound check experience was next   which included a special invitation to sit behind Matt's massive  kit and play a favorite ABR song under the lights."

“Immediately following was the photo session with the band onstage, followed by a snack on the band’s tour bus and sitting in on a drum lesson conducted by Matt. Shortly thereafter there was a meet and greet with fans and the final preparations to watch the entire concert from sidestage. The day culminated with Matt Greiner showcasing his amazing drumming talents in front of a packed house of happy fans!  Contest winner Bobby Laflamme was at a loss for words in trying to describe the event and experience”.

The PMC has been conducting the Roadie for a Day contest as part of the annual International Drum Month public awareness initiative for six consecutive years. Each year the number of participating percussion retailers and drummer “Roadie” contest entries increases significantly. International Drum   Month remains one of the PMC’s flagship market development efforts to grow the marketplace   for all percussion instruments, accessories and educational opportunities.  By creating consumer and local percussion retailer connections the all-volunteer nonprofit percussion industry trade association continues to create more drummers, customers and interest in learning and playing drums.

KoSA Cuba One-Week Study Program & The “Fiesta Del Tambor” was a trip of a lifetime!

Press release:

Montreal, March 28, 2018 – The KoSA Music directors – Aldo Mazza and his wife- Dr. Jolán Kovács - just returned from Havana, Cuba high on emotion after celebrating its 17th annual edition of their drum and percussion camp and festival:  KoSA Cuba.   This week-long drum and percussion camp and festival in collaboration with the “Fiesta Del Tambor” festival puts a spotlight on the immense talent of Cuban musicians and dancers and provides an insight on this countries rich history and fascinating culture.  This year’s trip took place March 4 – 11, 2018.

KoSA Cuba was an experience like no other for the lucky participants coming from all over the U.S, Canada and even Switzerland this year and raging in age from 19 to 87 years young. The program offered intensely fulfilling days of hands-on classes, workshops, concerts, lectures, cultural visits and the exciting activities of the Havana’s Fiesta Del Tambor (Havana Rhythm and Dance festival). Conga, bongo, timbales, bata, drumset and other instruments were studied as participants were immersed in Cuban rhythms, and seminars on Cuban music (given by the renown ethnomusicologist Dr. Olavo Alin . All instruments were provided, and participants studied, and played along Cuba’s top international artists such as Amadito Valdes (Buena Vista Social Club), Enrique Pla (Irakere), El Peje (Chucho Valdes), El Panga (Havana top studio musician), Adel Gonzales (Afro Cuban Allstars), and Miguelon Rodriguez .

The capital city of Havana where the workshop took place, is scenic, historical and renowned for the richness of its Cuban culture, folklore and music. An incredible variety and depth of knowledge has been passed through the generations, maintaining centuries old African-based traditions. Havana is also the cultural Mecca of the Caribbean and a hotbed of new and contemporary creative music. All of this—and more—was seen, felt and heard during the week.  An added bonus for the KoSA Cuba participants was the VIP access to the Fiesta del Tambor, a growing national percussion competition with associated clinics and concerts spearheaded by Giraldo Piloto (Klimax) in honor of his late uncle Guillermo Barreto

The KoSA Cuba experience culminated each evening with electrifying concerts in Havana’s classic theatres.  These concerts featured the unparallel talent of Cuba’s top artists in music and dance.

Special guest artists joining Aldo Mazza in Havana this year were Jim Riley, Antonio Sanchez and Nanny Assis whose talent were also featured in the jam packed Fiesta del Tambor concerts as well as a special evening concert, “Sabian Night” featuring SABIAN artists.  A welcome surprise was the “Recognition Award” bestowed upon Aldo Mazza and KoSA Music for their tireless efforts in promoting the music and culture of Cuba for nearly two decades.  A further highlight of the week was  the spectacular “Nights in Brazil” concert which featured the mega talent of Nanny Assis, Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer), and famed Brazilian artists Joao Donato and Fabiana Cozza.

The dates are set for next year’s KoSA Cuba & Fiesta del Tambor- March 3-10, 2019

For more information on KoSA Cuba, please visit or call 1-800-541-8401.,

KoSA Cuba 2018 and Fiesta del Tambor was graciously sponsored by Sabian, Gon Bops, Ludwig and Evans.


PMC Announces 2018 International Drum Month Celebrity Drummer


February 28, 2018 - Cleveland, OH

 This year’s annual Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) All Member Meeting and Percussion Industry gathering held during the January NAMM convention provided a record attendance audience with a snap shot of what’s in-store for the organization’s market development initiatives for 2018 and beyond. The highlight of the meeting and social atmosphere was the announcement of international drum celebrity RICK ALLEN of Def Leppard as the PMC’s spokesperson for the May-2018 International Drum Month (IDM) campaign.  

 PMC Executive Officer David Jewell introduced Allen by stating,   “Rick Allen is one multi-talented individual encapsulating the Human Spirit as a Photographer, Artist, Musician and Humanist”. Allen attended the entire duration of the meeting and spoke briefly during the PMC’s Board presentation.  “Music is a gift we’ve all been given and now we’re able to share it and inspire other people to pick-up an instrument. Everyone in this room does their part to pass that on”. commented Allen.  During the informal meet and greet Allen conveyed his excitement in being selected to work closely with the PMC during the May 2018  campaign. In additional he will host the Roadie for a Day grand prize contest winner for an all-inclusive full-day back stage concert experience, band sound-check, and all access Def Leppard concert attendance while Allen and the band tours throughout 2018.

Born in the United Kingdom, Allen has been Def Leppard’s drummer since he was 15 years old. Surviving a 1984 automobile accident that resulted in losing an arm, he continued all drumming responsibilities on an electronic drum kit which eventually become a blend of acoustic and electronic drums.  As an  Artist, Photographer, Humanist and Musician,  Allen possess the finest qualities of a professional drummer to impact all young drummers and wanna-be drummers, encouraging everyone to experience how he continuously connects his body and mind creating a massive energy on every performance stage. 

At the annual meeting the  PMC Board  unveiled the life-size in-store cardboard stand-up of Rick Allen.  This stand-up will be provided to the first 150 participating percussion retailers that sign up   as official IDM merchants. The May month-long public awareness campaign will be promoted   via the website.

International Drum Month, now in its 23rd consecutive year, has created broad audience awareness campaign impact, bringing the enjoyment and educational value of drums and drumming to existing players,..while growing the market through accessibility to everyone interested in playing drums.

Retailers are encouraged to register for participating in the 2018 campaign, at  Individuals entering the Roadie for a Day contest can register on the same website, starting May 1st through  May 31th.

 Rick Allen drummer for Def Leppard - International Drum Month 2018

Rick Allen of Def Leppard named 2018 International Drum Month Celebrity Drummer and Spokesperson

The twenty-third annual International Drum Month (IDM) campaign announced Rick Allen, drummer with Def Leppard, as the 2018 annual campaign spokesman and Celebrity Drummer for the in-store Roadie for a Day Contest. Once again, the PMC will connect hundreds of wanna-play and existing drummers with the PMC mission and nationwide retailer network, through a contest that has grown consistently over the past five years. The annual national public awareness-campaign encourages drummers of all skill levels to visit percussion retail stores and enter to win. Stay tuned for more info on this year's Roadie for a Day Contest!


How to Get Featured on the Website & Instagram!

We here at and the Percussion Marketing Council support drummers of all ages, experience levels and styles, and we want to give you your time in the spotlight! When you post a drumming video on Instagram, tag your post with our hashtag #PlayDrums for a chance to be featured. Chosen videos will be reposted on our Instagram account as well as featured on the home page. Be sure to follow us! >> @playdrumsdotcom

Check out some of our latest featured drummers below.

- Happy Drumming!


 PMC - Percusison marketing council First Freee drum Lesson Lap - vans warped tour 2018

Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman announced that 2018 would be the 25th and final Vans Warped Tour now in planning for the summer of 2018.

Educational minded percussion retailers are invited and encouraged to make plans and commitment for hosting the Percussion Marketing Council's "First Free Drum Lesson Lab" Tent operations in for next year. 

All dates and locations will be on a first-come first served basis. Contact the PMC's Vans Warped Tour Program Director Billy Cuthrell for more info and to reserve your city and date.

Billy Cuthrell, PMC Vans Warped Tour Lesson Lab Director

The PMC has been actively supporting and participating at select Warped Tour venue locations for the past six years reaching thousands of young people all wanting to learn to play drums through this positive first-time drumming experience. This is a FREE collaborative effort available to percussion retailers in venue cities across the U.S.

Warped Tour 2018 Dates
June 21 - Pomona, CA
June 22 - San Diego, CA
June 23 - Mountain View, CA
June 24 - Ventura, CA
June 26 - Phoenix, AZ
June 29 - Las Vegas, NV
June 30 - Salt Lake City, UT
July 1 - Denver, CO
July 3 - St. Louis, MO
July 5 - Bonner Springs, KS
July 6 - Dallas, TX
July 7 - San Antonio, TX
July 8 - Houston, TX
July 10 - Nashville, TN
July 12 - Virginia Beach, VA
July 13 - Camden, NJ
July 14 - Holmdel, NJ
July 15 - Hartford, CT
July 16 - Pittsburgh, PA
July 17 - Toronto, ON
July 18 - Cincinnati, OH
July 19 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH
July 20 - Detroit, MI
July 21 - Chicago, IL
July 22 - Minneapolis, MN
July 23 - Milwaukee, WI
July 24 - Indianapolis, IN
July 25 - Darien Center, NY
July 26 - Scranton, PA
July 27 - Mansfield, MA
July 28 - Wantagh, NY
July 29 - Columbia, MD
July 31 - Charlotte, NC
August 1 - Atlanta, GA
August 3 - Orlando, FL
August 4 - Tampa, FL
August 5 - West Palm Beach, FL


Yamaha Drums celebrated their 50th Anniversary with an exciting event in Los Angeles, CA featuring several prestigious Yamaha artists.  Held at Musician's Institute, this invite-only event gave drummers the chance to sit down behind every Yamaha drum kit on the market as well as learn from the legendary clinicians- Tommy Aldridge, Dave Weckl, and Larnell Lewis. 

→ Follow Yamaha Music USA ←


This September in St. Paul, Minnesota, PMC and Klash Drums helped create a whole new crop of young drummers who attended the first LET BE THERE DRUMS Festival on Harriet Island.

Drummers of all ages assembled their personal drum kits covering four football fields in size for the all-day event, registering to play along with Paul McCartney's Abby Road Medley and Aretha Franklin's Rock Solid.

Drummer celebrities attending included Bernard Purdie, Jimmy Paxton and Jay Williams. The festival was founded by Minnesota Music Hall of Fame inductee, Mick Sterling and the 30 Days Foundation to set a new Guiness Book of World Records for "the most drummers to play with the band".

Klash Drums founder and owner Jeremy Krueth invited the PMC to get involved by providing the PMC's Lesson Lab Tent and Klash Drums instructors provided free first-drum-lessons to anyone looking to start playing and learning drums.

Festival spectators of all ages became instant-drummers for the first time...through this positive educational experience of sitting behind a drum kit and learning to play basic rhythms and four-way coordination. Complimentary novelty branded products and educational materials were provided by PMC Membership firms,...and Klash Drum Shop suppliers to make this an exciting once-in-life-time opportunity.

Plans are already developing for an even large event next year. For further details, please contact: Klash Drums, Minneapolis, MN; 612-208-5716.


Rich Redmond's 5th Annual "Drummers Weekend" is this weekend November 3-5, in Nashville! Many of his graduating students have gone on to successful positions in the music business.

The event includes THREE 8-hour days of hands-on training with these talents, door prizes, a hotel package, catered meals, boutique transportation and the perfect opportunity to create and foster lifelong relationships in the music business.

This is the INSANE world class teacher lineup:

  • Keith Carlock (Sting/John Mayer/Steely Dan)
  • Rich Redmond (Jason Aldean/Sessions) 
  • Sean Fuller (Florida Georgia Line) 
  • Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts) 
  • Hubert Payne (Little Big Town)
  • Daniel de los Reyes ( Zac Brown Band/ Day Glow Music School)
  • Lalo Davila (MTSU)
  • Harry McCarthy (Drum Tech to the Stars) 
  • 3 Kings Rhythm Section (Jason Aldean)
  • All Star House Band

Register here


For the sixth year in a row, Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) sponsored FREE DRUM LESSON Lab Tents at Vans Warped Tour (VWT) sites across the country. This year, retailers at six of the national VWT tour dates participated, connecting with huge youth-oriented markets in local communities by providing free beginner drum lessons. This grass-roots approach exemplifies PMC’s mission to create and expand the next generation of drummers.

Billy Cuthrell is a PMC member through Progressive Music, Raleigh, NC, and program director for the PMC VWT initiative. He introduced the idea eight years ago at an all-members PMC meeting. “I had been pushing to get outside the normal channels—for finding and growing new drummers,” he says, explaining that the idea is to target young, active music lovers who attend concerts and inspire them to become active music participants—specifically, drummers.

“VWT attendees matched our target demographic perfectly,” says Cuthrell. “Vans Warped Tour has a whole nonprofit arm. They provide space for a certain number of nonprofits to be onsite for each tour. They provide a 10 X 10-foot space and often they will even help you set up,” says Cuthrell. PMC loans tents, which are shipped directly to designated VWT locations from PMC headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio.

Each year the PMC Board reaches out to retailers offering them the opportunity to manage a PMC FREE LESSON Tent by providing drum lessons to the local area youth market that attends VWT events. It’s a win-win for the retailers as they get to connect with potential new customers in their market with very little investment. “That’s a big draw for retailers,” says Cuthrell. “The booth space is valued at $2,000. And since PMC provides the tents as a nonprofit participant, it’s a free, high-visibility space in front of 30,000 captive music lovers.”

For young VWT fans, it’s a rare opportunity to sit behind a real kit. “The Vans Warped Tour is a fun atmosphere and neutral ground for participants, so the intimidation factor disappears,” says Cuthrell. “It’s the perfect alternative to the retail setting, where all drum sets are for sale and the stores can’t just let people sit down and play.”

“Drums are one of the few instruments that can offer beginners instant satisfaction,” says Cuthrell. “We can get them playing a straight beat, or something like Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’—boom-boom-tap. When they sit behind a drum kit for the first time, hit the drums, and feel the rattle in their chest, it’s a moving experience. They are hooked on drums just like that.”

“For the retailer, they have opened the door to build a relationship with potential new customers,” says Cuthrell, who is a successful music retailer and drummer himself. “It makes sense to be physically in front of customers, collecting names and contact information, so you can stay in touch.”

Rupps Drums, hosted a tent at a late June tour stop in Denver, Colorado. “Each student at their event filled out a contact card,” says Josh Beyers. “We used the card to follow up and possibly develop new students for our studio. I met a lot of people! Great people and fun vibes.”

Drummer and educator Mark Powers worked with Rhythm Traders of Portland, Oregon, to provide drum lessons. “I had a blast teaching lessons at the Vans Warped Tour in Salem, Oregon,” says Powers, who estimated they taught around 100 lessons on that Saturday in June. “Another 20 to 30 existing players dropped by to rock out for a few minutes. “We found that allowing a player to jam for a moment attracted even more attention from passersby.”

PMC member Hal Leonard Corporation, represented by Brad Smith, was on-hand at the tent at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, stop hosted by Cascio Music Super Store. “It still amazes me—every year,” says Smith. “A new crop of young people wants to play drums, and more than half of them are ladies. These are our people.”

Plans are already developing for the 2018 PMC-VWT summer tour with dates and locations appearing on the PMC website in early spring. Interested percussion retailers are encouraged to contact the Percussion Marketing Council at or by calling 440-582-7006.