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Sweetwater Presents GearFest 2010

Annual expo is a musician’s mecca, with the best and newest audio equipment, workshops lead by major names in the industry, prizes, giveaways, and — of course — fantastic deals

By Jim Fester

Fort Wayne Reader


If Sweetwater — the world’s third largest retailer of music instrument and pro audio equipment — is like this really big box of goodies for musicians, then their annual GearFest event is when they break that box open and spread out the contents for everyone to take a look.

Sweetwater’s GearFest is the company’s annual expo, a free indoor/outdoor festival that features music, food, prizes and giveaways. This year's edition of GearFest is the biggest yet, a two-day extravaganza on Friday June 25th from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, June 26th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with dozens of workshops and seminars, scores of manufacturer exhibits, and special surprises. It’s part trade show, part entertainment event, part flea market, and part musicians’ toyland.

GearFest includes more than 40 workshops and seminars on recording techniques and live sound, music creation with computers, recording studio acoustics, songwriting, and electronic instruments. Renowned guitar wizards Greg Koch and David Grissom, and more than a dozen other nationally-known performing artists, will take the stage to perform on the latest new guitars, keyboards, and electronic drums. Plus, the Guitar Gallery tent will feature hundreds of guitars and basses on display.

Among the full slate of seminars and workshops are the Producers Forum, an all-star panel of producers in a wide-ranging discussion of recording topics; the story behind the legendary Gretsch Guitars with Fred Gretsch; and a special presentation on “do it yourself” video production by Wally Kurth and Christian Taylor of Kurth & Taylor (see our sidebar). Producer and engineer Jacquire King, who has worked with Kings of Leon and Norah Jones, among others, will also present a workshop on “Grammy-winning Recording Tips.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be GearFest without the gear, and there will be plenty of it, with more than 150 manufacturers of musical instruments, music technology, and audio equipment on hand to give musicians a look at the latest music equipment. And some of this stuff is brand spanking new, having just made its debut the previous weekend at the National Association of Music Merchants Summer Tradeshow in Nashville.

Local musicians will enjoy a free guitar setup and restringing service, plus a musicians’ flea market, where used equipment can be bought, sold, or traded (to pre-register to sell equipment at the flea market, call (260) 432-8176).

Other attractions will include hourly giveaway drawings for thousands of dollars of equipment and instruments, plus tours of Sweetwater’s world-class recording studios and headquarters. In addition, Sweetwater will be offering some incredible sale pricing on many products.

GearFest takes place Friday, June 25th from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, June 26th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 5501 US Hwy 30 W.

GearFest is free and open to the public. To speed up the registration process at the festival, you can pre-register online by visiting Sweetwater’s website at www.sweetwater.com For more information, call (260) 432-8176.

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