O’Bryen, Fernandez Earn Parnellis

Screenworks co-founder Danny O’Bryen will be this year’s Parnelli Visionary award recipient, and tour manager Richard Fernandez honored for lifetime achievement at the Parnelli Awards ceremony and dinner in Las Vegas Oct. 22.

Fernandez, in his 40-plus years in the live business, tour managed artists including the Faces, Eagles, Bob Dylan, the New Barbarians, Frank Zappa, Crosby Stills & Nash, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, according to production trade journal PLSN.

AEG executive VP Larry Vallon went to high school with Fernandez, and the two launched their careers simultaneously.

“What has sustained him and made for a long and successful career are his intelligence and his demeanor,” Vallon told PLSN. “That’s what you need in this business, and that’s what he has. Nothing rattles him – and he’s always in demand. Artists and managers call him, hoping he’ll say ‘Yes’ to going out on the road with them.”

O’Bryen, a New Yorker, got his first job in the industry hanging posters for a Hot Tuna show in Boston. He moved up the food chain as a stagehand, where he became acquainted with key people at See Factor, Tait Towers and TFA, among others. He also worked with promoter Don Law at various

Boston-area venues including what would become Foxboro Stadium.

He also went on the road, working with Foghat and Rush. He found himself between rioting Guns N’ Roses fans and one of his screens in Montreal. He ran lights for Dan Fogelberg and designed them for Stevie Nicks and Joe Walsh. O’Bryen also had a stint as a promoter with Avalon Attractions.

A call to design a video package for Madonna’s “Blonde Ambition” tour put him together with Tom McCracken under a company that would become Screenworks, according to PLSN. Known as an early adopter of LED technology and a constant seeker of new and better ways to package lighting and effects, he formed a research and development department that led to products like Screenworks’ X7-JD LED.

“Then and now, Danny has a tremendous work ethic, and always delivers above and beyond,” Rush lighting director Howard Ungerleider told PLSN. “It blew me away how he followed and understood the progress of the technology. Danny has always been on the front end of the research and development and is always looking for a better LED.”

The 16th Parnelli Awards will be given out at the Rio Hotel & Casino. Visit their website at ParnelliAwards.com for more information.