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Sweetwater GearFest ’16 Takes Place June 17-18

Sweetwater is getting ready for its annual GearFest, which will be held this year on Friday, June 17 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, June 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the company’s campus in Fort Wayne, IN.

Spread out over more than 250,000 square feet, GearFest combines a gear expo, entertainment events, a musicians’ flea market and musical demonstrations, with seminars and workshops in the mix, too.

“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,” says Sweetwater Founder and President Chuck Surack. “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.” 

Sweetwater’s own Music Store, one of the largest music instrument and audio gear stores in the Midwest, will be open, and more than 400 product lines of new musical instruments, music technology and audio equipment, will be on display in dozens of tents and four semi-trailers.

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 & 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.

Sweetwater’s Mitch Gallagher will host a panel discussion on “Turning Your Spare Room into a Great Recording Studio,” featuring Russ Berger.

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 at 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 will also offer five Pre-GearFest Amplified Workshops, on Thursday, June 16, including “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.”

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.

A musicians’ flea market, where used equipment can be bought, sold, or traded is open to all. The entire GearFest ’16 schedule of events, registration, RV/camping registration, local accommodation info is all available at the company’s Website.

For more information, go to