Every year in June, Sweetwater puts on a free all-day celebration of music and sound called Gearfest, and each and everyyear it gets bigger and better, drawinga record 14,000-plus visitors this year to Fort Wayne, Ind., on June 23-24. It’s big, it’s free, and it’sall about technology and music.
Launched in2002,it’s thenation’slargestcustomer-focusedmusicand proaudiofestival andtradeshow,featuringexhibitsfrommanufacturers,workshops, clinics,seminars,live demos,specialperformances,amusician’s fleamarket,and muchmore.
This year’s two-day eventfeaturedguestsincludingGrammy Award-winningproducer/engineers Al Schmitt,Chris Lord-Algeand ChuckAinlay.MusiciansincludedvirtuosoguitaristEric Johnson;DweezilZappa,Steve Stevens,Rock&RollHallofFamer and Earth, Wind&Fire keyboardistLarry Dunn;bassistand vocalistRhondaSmith,renownedblues/jazzguitaristRobbenFord, Terry Bozzio, and Omar Hakim.
SweetwaterFounderand PresidentChuckSurackremarked, “One ofthemost excitingand humblingexperiencesIenjoy every yearispersonallygreetingthousandsofourcustomersatthefront door asthey arrive.TheirenthusiasmforSweetwaterand GearFest isastoundingand they reallyappreciateourincredibleemployees and theirpersonal,caring,and welcominginteractionswitheach and every attendee.”
Sweetwater owner/founderChuck Surack solos on baritone saxophone duringthe SweetwaterAll Stars’ performance. Guests included Eric Johnson,Greg Koch, Carl Verheyen,DweezilZappa and many others.
Housed in more than 20 tents, more than 400 manufacturers of musical instruments, music technology, and pro audio equipment were on hand to provide GearFest attendeesa look at the latest gear.
Forthe secondyear, Sweetwaterofferedfreecampingfortents and RVs.Inaddition,hourlyprizeswere given away,totalingmore than$50,000worthofmusicinstrumentsand equipment.
More than 45videos,includinginterviewsand productdemos, were recordedand postedatSweetwater’s YouTubechannel.