Sweetwater’s GearFest 2019 on June 21 and June 22 attracted the largest crowds ever in the event’s 18-year history. Attendance was up 13 percent compared to last year, with more than 17,000 people gathering at the Sweetwater campus on U.S. 30 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Nearly all 50 states were represented along with several countries including Denmark, Japan and India.

GearFest is a music and pro audio festival and trade show open to the public. The two-day event featured nearly 500 vendors and manufacturers of musical instruments, music technology equipment and pro audio gear. Hourly prizes were given away to more than 300 winners, totaling $30,000 worth of musical instruments and audio equipment.

“It is humbling and rewarding to see how GearFest has grown over the past 18 years,” said Sweetwater founder and CEO Chuck Surack. “We are always excited to bring our friends together to share our passion for music. One of my favorite parts of the weekend is personally greeting thousands of our customers at the front door as they arrive. I’m always blown away by their enthusiasm.”

There were 81 live workshops and seminars hosted by 72 of the big names in the music industry, including sessions on guitars, recording, live sound, songwriting and more. Special guests included legendary guitarists Steve Vai and Eric Johnson, founder of PRS Guitars Paul Reed Smith, YouTube sensation and drummer Casey Cooper, bassist Billy Sheehan, producer/engineer Sylvia Massey and country star Ricky Skaggs.

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