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Microphone Month 5

GearFest is Here!

Today marks Day One of GearFest 2011, the nation’s largest end-user-oriented music and pro audio festival, featuring exhibits from manufacturers; workshops, clinics, and seminars; live demos; special performances; a musician’s flea market; and much more.

This year’s two-day event, which takes place at Sweetwater’s campus in Fort Wayne, Indiana, provides tons of opportunities for thousands of musicians, engineers, and producers to participate in the festivities, with customers traveling from all over the world to participate.

Featured events include sessions by legendary producer and recording artist Alan Parsons, electronica artist BT, and renowned FOH engineer Robert Scovill. Other highlights include producer/engineer Fab Dupont’s workshops on tracking and mixing (featuring a live band flown in from New York), and producer David Isaac sharing his Grammy-winning recording tips.

In total, GearFest includes more than 40 workshops and seminars on guitar, recording, and live sound, music creation with computers, acoustics, songwriting, and how to use electronic instruments. Metal bassists David Ellefson and Frank Bello, and guitar virtuosos Johnny Hiland, Dave Weiner, Paul Pigat, Greg Koch, and dozens of other nationally known artists will perform on the latest new guitars, keyboards, and electronic drums.

Special exhibits include the Gretsch Guitars George Harrison Tribute Exhibit, which features the prototype for the detailed limited edition recreation of George’s original Gretsch G6128 Duo Jet guitar, plus photos and memorabilia from the private Harrison family collection, and video of the Duo Jet project. Also, Gibson Guitars will unveil a display of museum-quality custom guitars. These guitars (featuring the likenesses of Les Paul, Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, B.B. King, and the most iconic personae of the 20th century from politics, entertainment, sports, social justice, and pop culture) have toured museums around the world for the last 10 years, but this is the first time the entire collection has been brought together in one place for public display.

More than 200 manufacturers of musical instruments, music technology, and audio equipment are on hand to give GearFest attendees a look at the latest gear, including the first North American showing of such ground-breaking products as the Roland Jupiter-80, as well as new products including the Korg Kronos, Moog Cluster Flux, iConnectMIDI, Digitech’s iPB-10, and the exclusive world-wide release of the Alesis ioDock. In addition, we’re giving away hourly prizes totaling more than $38,000 worth of music instruments and equipment.

Another unique event is the “iPad Connection,” which is staffed by resident Sweetwater iPad enthusiasts who are eager to show all the ways that the iPad can be used for professional musical applications, including keyboard and synthesizer performance, guitar effects and amp simulators, drums and percussion, sequencing, recording, and remote controlling recording and live mixing hardware and software.

For those who can’t attend GearFest in person, videos, photos, and hourly updates will be posted to Sweetwater’s popular FaceBook page, as well as to YouTube and sent via Twitter.

To herald the event, yesterday three Sweetwater musicians performed as the “Rock Band on the Roof,” a publicity stunt that took place on top of the vintage Embassy Theatre marquee in downtown Fort Wayne.

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