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GearFest 2019!!! #2995299 06/22/19 04:43 AM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Or as I call it, "Chuckstock."

OMG. I think there will be 2,000 more people than last year. Seriously. It's huge, but just as friendly.

Everything was packed. I went to set up for my workshop, and there was a line three layers deep snaking around, and an actual policeman keeping an eye on the crowd (kudos to Sweetwater for implementing security in a truly transparent way). I was not alone, there were lots of packed workshops and such.

The space between the tents has always been sparsely populated in years past, but this year, people were everywhere. Fortunately the Sweetwater campus is sufficiently large that you didn't feel claustrophobic.

The weather cooperated, which probably helped a lot in terms of attendance. Weather for tomorrow is iffy, so maybe everyone wanted to jam the place on Friday, just in case. But I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow has as many, if not more, people.

I know it's kind of late notice, but if anyone reading this is at GearFest, my main seminar for 2019 ("How to Create Compelling Mixes") is happening at 2:00 PM in Conference Halls A/B/C. If today was any indication, it will be standing room only, so get there early.

GearFest is really amazing (and probably an accountant's nightmare). But jeez, if you haven't been to one, it's worth the trip. It really is a celebration of music, music gear, and musicians.

Re: GearFest 2019!!! [Re: Anderton] #2995425 06/23/19 03:03 PM
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Mike Martin Offline
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Great to see you Craig, I wish I could have attended your seminars.

Re: GearFest 2019!!! [Re: Anderton] #2995459 06/23/19 07:16 PM
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Grave Bryce Offline
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Or as I call it, "Chuckstock."

OMG... roll

I'll never be able to call it anything else now. Chuck knows you call it this, I would guess?

dB




Re: GearFest 2019!!! [Re: Grave Bryce] #2995463 06/23/19 08:05 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Originally Posted by Anderton
Or as I call it, "Chuckstock."

OMG... roll

I'll never be able to call it anything else now. Chuck knows you call it this, I would guess?

dB





I said it to him, but I'm not sure he approved smile Regardless, the fact is that GearFest has become a phenomenon. It grew from two tents showing some stuff on one day to the huge, two-day celebration it is now. When I leave GearFest, the first thing I want to do is pick up an instrument. There are some genuinely inspiring moments from the seminars as well as the demo players. For example, Johnny A's solo guitar act at the Bose booth was mesmerizing.

The other aspect is that everyone is so very pleasant. I'm not sure Disneyland can call itself "the happiest place on earth" any more. Nary a frown the whole time from Sweetwater people, but even more tellingly, none from the attendees.

Amazingly, Sweetwater has managed to handle this kind of growth. I met one of the architects that Sweetwater hired, and she had come up with the new "floor plan" that put the tents a little closer together, made the whole event more interactive, and also made it easier for attendees to get around. It's that kind of attention to detail that makes GearFest such a seamless experience for attendees.

I asked one of the people at Sweetwater whether GearFest lost money, made money, or what. The answer was "I don't know, but I think the corporate position is 'It doesn't matter.' We're inviting people into our house, and showing them a good time. That's the goal."

To which I can only say..."mission accomplished." All the people at Sweetwater, and Chuck in particular, deserve massive props for what they're able to pull off each year. They make it look easy...which is kind of a feat in itself smile



Re: GearFest 2019!!! [Re: Mike Martin] #2995464 06/23/19 08:09 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Mike Martin
Great to see you Craig, I wish I could have attended your seminars.


Well I wish I could have spent more time playing your keyboards, so we'll have to figure out something for next year smile

Re: GearFest 2019!!! [Re: Anderton] #2995588 06/24/19 01:28 PM
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We didn't make the ride over this year. It's a fabulous event and we had a great time in 2018 while also getting some good deals on some nice gear. We did have trouble getting in on the bikes however. The two lane road for getting in was backed way up and you can't sit in stopped traffic on a Harley. It was a bit tricky lane-splitting our way in but we made it. A few years earlier when I was there we didn't have that problem, they had some space set aside for motorcycle parking.

[img]https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?...10212330992057532&type=3&theater[/img]

Last edited by ggm1960; 06/24/19 01:30 PM.
Re: GearFest 2019!!! [Re: Anderton] #2995723 06/25/19 02:50 AM
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I didn't make it this year, but last year it felt really crowded and I did not enjoy it as much. The first two seminars I went to were more like a feature review and not real usable information. A waste of time. I bailed out at lunch on Friday because all the food lines were so long. Saturday I bought some equipment and was out of town by 10:00 AM. The one good thing about Sweetwater is the deals. I saved enough on a Fender bass to pay for my trip. I miss the day before Gearfest paid seminars.

Re: GearFest 2019!!! [Re: Anderton] #2996289 06/27/19 07:26 PM
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Longtime Sweetwater employee here!

I also remember when GearFest was a very small, 1-day affair, and how it exploded about 5 years ago into the phenomenon it has become. The amount of care and effort that goes into making GearFest happen, and happen better every year, would be very difficult to quantify. It truly is a massive combined group effort of Sweetwater employees, manufacturer representatives, and even support staff, volunteers, and outside companies who help us execute the event. Next year's planning begins even before this year's event is over, with specific planning meetings already happening by January.

Craig mentioned this year's improved site layout for the tent "fairgrounds" - I think this was the single biggest GearFest improvement this year (kudos to our corporate architect Mandy). The new layout established logical traffic patterns for customers and made it far easier for a customer to see what they wanted to.

As for the comments about how positive everyone is, I'd say the same about our customers. It really is a delight to host such a large event and have so many customers attend from so many places - and they are invariably enthusiastic in their enjoyment of being at Sweetwater and at GearFest. That's the best part of GearFest, and IMO what drives the positivity.

As you may suspect, there's a wealth of notes and suggestions compiled each GearFest which we apply to making the next GearFest even better, and that process is already well underway.

For those of you who attended GearFest, either as a customer, a manufacturer representative, as a presenter, for the press, or remotely via live streams or GearFest reports - thank you! We look forward to doing it all again next summer!

Re: GearFest 2019!!! [Re: felix] #2996314 06/27/19 09:27 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by felix
As for the comments about how positive everyone is, I'd say the same about our customers.


The bigger lesson here is that like attracts like. I hope that everyone who attends GearFest takes the "random acts of kindness" attitude into their everyday lives after they go home. Much of GearFest is about sharing, whether it's Sweetwater itself opening up its "home" to visitors, those sharing their expertise in workshops, or strangers meeting each other over a gear demo or cafeteria table.

A few GearFests ago, I got into the habit of saying "please" a lot more because it's all over Sweetwater. It makes a difference in dealing with the outside world.

Sweetwater's big challenge will be managing growth, if it continues at the same pace (which may not be possible, but who knows). It's interesting what Rabid said ("I didn't make it this year, but last year it felt really crowded and I did not enjoy it as much. The first two seminars I went to were more like a feature review and not real usable information. A waste of time. I bailed out at lunch on Friday because all the food lines were so long"), because it seemed like a lot of that was addressed this year. The addition of all those food trucks was a great idea, and it also seemed there was a more careful vetting of the workshops and presentations. As to the crowding...well, not much you can do about that...but compared to Saturday at Winter NAMM, it was a LOT more pleasant smile

Last edited by Anderton; 06/27/19 09:28 PM.

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