Sweetwater will present GearFest ’16, a celebration of musicians and the instruments and audio gear they use to make and record music, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 17 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 18 at the Sweetwater campus, 5501 US Hwy 30 W, Fort Wayne, Indiana. GearFest is free and open to the public.
Spread out over more than ¼-million square feet, GearFest, the largest music trade show open to the general public in the United States, combines a gear expo, entertainment events, a musicians’ flea market and musical demonstrations, with seminars and workshops by some of the biggest names in the music industry. GearFest also means two days of great deals on the best music instruments and pro audio gear available.
Sweetwater Founder and President Chuck Surack said, “GearFest is a unique event in the music retail business, where musicians and audio enthusiasts can come to see, hear, enjoy—not to mention buy—what is usually reserved for music-industry insiders at your typical trade show. We’re particularly proud that GearFest has such a reputation that it is now bringing people from literally all over the world to Sweetwater’s campus in Fort Wayne.”
GearFest attendees will experience Sweetwater’s own Music Store, one of the largest music instrument and audio gear stores in the Midwest, with the largest on-site inventory of any music store in the country. Also, more than 400 product lines, including all of the newest musical instruments, music technology and audio equipment, will be on display in dozens of tents and four semi-trailers. In addition, Sweetwater will offer once-in-a-lifetime sale pricing on many products.
GearFest will host a multitude of musicians performing and in workshops continuously on five different stages. Featured guests include Grammy Award-winning pianist and songwriter, Jim Brickman; guitarist Andy Timmons, who has performed with everyone from Joe Satriani to the Beach Boys, Styx drummer Todd Sucherman; the progressive-metal band Periphery; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Earth, Wind & Fire keyboardist Larry Dunn; Queen Cora Dunham, who spent multiple years as a drummer for both Prince and Beyonce, and many more. To see a full list of presenter bios, visit sweetwater.com/gearfest/presenters/ (opens in new tab)
Sweetwater’s Mitch Gallagher will host a panel discussion on “Turning Your Spare Room into a Great Recording Studio,” featuring Russ Berger, one of the world’s most accomplished and respected acoustic experts.
A new special attraction will be Sweetwater’s recently completed outdoor pavilion, which will play host to events over the two days, including a party for all attendees on Friday evening, beginning 6 p.m., with music provided by Sweetwater’s house band, the Sweetwater All Stars, joined by special guests.
Special GearFest features include hourly giveaway drawings for free gear totaling more than $90,000, from Antelope, Shure, Avid, Bose, Lauten and many others.
GearFest ’16 also will offer five Pre-GearFest AMPLIFIED Workshops, June 16. These workshops, which cost as little as $79, include “The Craft of Songwriting,” “Getting the Most out of Virtual Instruments,” “Shaping the Art of Worship,” “Pursuing the Ultimate Guitar Tone,” “The Art of Guitar Recording,” and “Synth Tips and Tricks.” Space is limited; for more details and to register, go to sweetwater.com/gearfest/amplified/ (opens in new tab)
A fully restored and extremely rare Hammond Novachord will be on display at GearFest with performances by Sweetwater’s synth specialist, Daniel Fisher, and presentations by Joseph Fill, the engineer who restored it to its original condition. The Hammond Novachord was released in 1939 with only 1,000 units built. It has an instantly recognizable sound that was featured in films and TV shows, such as Gone With The Wind, The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.
Attendees can bring a guitar for a free restringing and setup, enjoy great food from Sweetwater’s Downbeat Diner, and experience the newly expanded Sweetwater campus, including the Crescendo Café, featuring coffee drinks and the best ice cream and treats in the region. Some of the region’s most popular food trucks will also be on site.
A musicians’ flea market, where used equipment can be bought, sold or traded, is open to all. To pre-register to participate in the flea market, call 260.432-8176.
The entire GearFest ’16 schedule of events is available at sweetwater.com/gearfest/schedule/ (opens in new tab)
To speed up the registration process at the festival, you can pre-register online. Visit sweetwater.com/gearfest/register/ (opens in new tab) to get started.