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electronic MUSICIAN

Sweetwater GearFest ’13 Wrap-Up

By GINO ROBAIR | June 24, 2013
Audio gearheads come from as far away as Japan for Sweetwater Gearfest.

Although AES, NAMM, and Musikmesse are among the biggest trade shows in the world for gear manufacturers, they're not open to the general public. Instead, they're a place where deals are made with distributors and new products are shown to the press.
Then there is Sweetwater GearFest. Now in its 10th year, the two-day event (June 21-22) takes the best aspects of an MI tradeshow—master classes, product demos, guest-artist concerts—and brings them to the public. But unlike the other tradeshows, GearFest attendees can buy what they see at a show-only discount price. My favorite examples were Shure SM57s priced at $57 and SM58s priced at $58. You have to physically attend GearFest to get these deals, which means traveling to Sweetwater HQ in Fort Wayne, Indiana. But the trip is worth it, and the prices and events attract people from all over the world. More than 7,000 attendees pre-registered, and I met visitors from Japan, Germany, and the UK during my visit.

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