GearFest 2014 draws record crowds at Sweetwater

June 11, 2014

Free Music and Pro Audio Trade Show Continues to Grow —

Fort Wayne, IN, June 11, 2014 Sweetwater Sound, the No. 1 online retailer of music instruments and pro audio equipment in the U.S., has announced that GearFest 2014 was a bigger success than ever, breaking every record established by previous GearFest events. Launched in 2002, Sweetwater’s annual GearFest is the nation’s largest end-user-oriented music and pro audio festival, featuring exhibits from more than 200 manufacturers; workshops, clinics, and seminars; live demos; special performances; a musician’s flea market; and much more.

This year’s two-day event, which took place June 6 and 7 at Sweetwater’s campus in Fort Wayne, Indiana, provided even more opportunities for thousands of musicians, engineers, and producers to participate in the festivities, with customers traveling from all over the world to participate. 

Attendance was record-breaking, with more than 8,000 participants, up from 7,000 in 2012, and with sales up by more than 25% over GearFest 2012.

GearFest hosted a multitude of musicians performing and in workshops continuously in six different venues. Featured guest drummer Jason Bonham, son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, and his Led Zeppelin Experience, provided the finale to the festival. Other musicians performing and conducting clinics included bass player Billy Sheehan, drummer Kenny Aronoff, guitarists Jason Hook, Shaun Hopper, Don Carr, Devin Townsend, Emil Werstler, Carl Verheyen, and Brad Davis, keyboard player Larry Dunn, and many more.

The marquee event at GearFest '14 was Saturday's Producer's Panel, featuring an unprecedented gathering of producer/engineers, including Bruce Swedien (Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Count Basie), Bob Clearmountain (The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen), Ed Cherney (Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, The Fabulous Thunderbirds),  Mick Guzauski (Daft Punk, Earth, Wind & Fire, Mariah Carey),  Ross Hogarth (Van Halen, Motley Crue, REM), Richard Chycki (Aerosmith, Rush, Dream Theater), Bil Vorndick (Bob Dylan, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck), and Fab Dupont (Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Bon Jovi). The panel held a lively discussion on a range of music recording and production topics moderated by Sweetwater's Editorial Director and noted author/journalist, Mitch Gallagher.

In total, GearFest included 185 workshops and seminars, in 9 different venues, on guitar, recording, and live sound, music creation with computers, acoustics, songwriting, and how to use electronic instruments. 

More than 200 manufacturers of musical instruments, music technology, and audio equipment were on hand to give GearFest attendees a look at the latest gear. 

In addition, hourly prizes were given away, totaling more than $72,000 worth of music instruments and equipment.

Twenty tents full of instruments, live sound, and pro-audio gear, included tents for Gibson and Fender, and one devoted just to iOS hardware and music applications for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

For those who couldn’t attend GearFest in person, videos, photos, and hourly updates were posted to Sweetwater’s popular FaceBook page, as well as to YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. For viewing videos and photos from GearFest 2014, Sweetwater’s FaceBook page is at:  HYPERLINK ""

Also, more than 50 videos, including interviews, product demos, and the Producers’ Panel, were recorded and will be posted on YouTube throughout June. Those already posted are viewable at this YouTube playlist:

Sweetwater Founder and President Chuck Surack remarked, “This year’s GearFest was one of the most exciting and humbling experiences of my career. I personally greeted thousands of our customers at the front door as they arrived and was astounded by the enthusiasm everyone seemed to have for Sweetwater and GearFest. That, along with its continued growth in overall attendance and sales, has made GearFest a truly unique event in the music retail business.”

The EMP tent featured gear demos and performances for DJs, remixers, and producers throughout GearFest.


The legendary Bruce Swedien was interviewed by Sweetwater Editorial Director Mitch Gallagher, one of 12 video interviews conducted during GearFest 2014.


Caption (photo 3): The Sweetwater Performance Theatre was full to capacity throughout GearFest 2014.


Caption (photo 4): GearFest visitors crowd around the “DealZone.”


Caption (photo 5): The Producers’ Panel featured (left to right), Bob Clearmountain, Fab Dupont, Ross Hogarth, Mick Guzauski, Bil Vorndick, Ed Cherney, Richard Chycki, and Bruce Swedien.


Caption (photo 6): More than 200 vendors filled up 20 tents with gear and music.

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