Event: Sweetwater Presents GearFest 2015



Sweetwater, a top online retailer of music instruments and audio equipment in the US, is presenting GearFest 2015 on Friday, June 12, from 9 am to 6 pm, and Saturday, June 13, from 9 am to 5 pm, at the Sweetwater campus located at 5501 US Hwy 30 W in Fort Wayne, Indiana. GearFest is free and open to the public.

GearFest combines a gear expo, entertainment events, a flea market, and musical demonstrations, plus seminars and workshops conducted by some of the biggest names in the music industry. GearFest also offers two days of great deals on instruments and pro audio gear. Advertisement

Sweetwater founder and president, Chuck Surack, says, “GearFest has become an extraordinary one-of-a-kind event in the music retail business. Where else can musicians and music-lovers come to see, hear, enjoy, not to mention buy, what is usually reserved for music industry insiders at your typical trade show? We’re also particularly proud to be able to produce this huge event in Fort Wayne, bringing people here from all across the country.”

GearFest will host a multitude of musicians performing and in workshops continuously on five different stages. Featured guests include Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, founding member of Steely Dan and session guitarist for the Doobie Brothers, Eric Clapton, and Sheryl Crow; Deep Purple vocalist and bassist Glenn Hughes; Shawn Pelton, drummer for SNL, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, and Van Morrison; bassist Nathan East, who has worked with Barry White, George Harrison, Sting, and Stevie Wonder; and guitarist Mike Stern, who has performed with jazz greats like Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, and Jaco Pastorius. Other musicians making appearances include guitarists Mark Colcomb and Javier Reyes and keyboardist Steve Weingart.

Sweetwater’s Mitch Gallagher will host panel discussion with three pioneers of synthesis and electronic instruments, Roger Linn, Tom Oberheim, and Dave Smith. Technical Grammy award–winner Roger Linn invented the LM-1 Drum Computer (the first sample-based drum machine) in 1979. He later designed the Akai MPC60, which combined a sampling drum machine with a real-time MIDI sequencer. Dave Smith founded Sequential Circuits, and his Prophet-5 was the world’s first fully programmable polyphonic synth, as well as the first musical instrument with an embedded microprocessor. And Tom Oberheim co-designed the Synthesizer Expansion Module (SEM), a device that allowed musicians to simultaneously combine live playing and sequenced playback, a concept that pre-dated the MIDI revolution. They’ll share anecdotes and talk synthesis and electronic instruments in this informal roundtable discussion. Advertisement

GearFest from BalconyA special attraction will be Sweetwater’s expanded 15,000 square-foot music store. Special GearFest features include hourly giveaway drawings for free gear totaling more than $70,000 from Gibson, Fender, Antelope, Focal, Roland, Yamaha, Moog, and others.

More than 400 product lines, including all of the newest musical instruments, music technology, and audio equipment, will be on display in nineteen tents and four semi-trailers. In addition, Sweetwater will offer once-in-a-lifetime sale pricing on many products.

GearFest ’15 will also offer five Pre-GearFest Amplified Workshops, on Thursday, June 11, from 8 am to 5 pm. These workshops, which cost $79, include “The Craft of Songwriting,” “Shaping the Sound of Worship,” “Pursuing the Ultimate Guitar Sound,” “The Art of Studio Mixing,” and “Synth Tips and Tricks.” Space is limited. For more details and to register, go to Advertisement

Attendees can bring a guitar for a free restringing and setup, enjoy great food, and experience the newly expanded Sweetwater campus, including the new Crescendo Café, featuring coffee, ice cream, and other sweets.

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 2015 schedule of events is available online at

To speed up the registration process at the festival, you can pre-register online at

Out-of-town guests are encouraged to book hotel accommodations as early as possible. Travel and hotel information for Fort Wayne, IN, is available at

For more information, call (800) 222-4700.