GearFest goes virtual for 2020 festival

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – GearFest has gone virtual. The annual event hosted by Sweetwater started Friday morning in an online format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Moving to an online format on Sweetwater’s website, Facebook and YouTube page meant reinventing GearFest for attendees.

“A lot of us got into a room and just started coming up with ideas. We had no idea what that was going to be. Just to say that it’s online, it’s like how do you bring that excitement and that level of festival to an online event,” says Bob Bailey, GearFest’s executive director.

Back in one room once again, the decision was made to host a live stream. Some portions were previously recorded, others portions are live for the stream.

“Well for the artist appearances we have curated, man, an amazing list of artists this year, and producers and engineers. Our producer panel has some amazing Grammy award-winning producers and engineers that are on that. And that will be a live experience, it’s going to be hosted by Mitch Gallagher. And folks will be able to asks questions live during that,” says Bailey.

Moderator Mitch Gallagher says virtual GearFest opened an opportunity to bring more people to GeartFest than the 17,000 that attended last year.

“The ability for anyone in their home with an internet connection to be able to watch the videos, the interviews, and the content we’re creating is kind of unprecedented, really. Because we’re bringing the best of the best artists, producers, and engineers, and so, to be able to learn from them sitting on your couch in your living room is a pretty amazing thing,” says Gallagher.

Gallagher’s team also put together hundreds of videos from manufacturers, which is the replacement for vendor tents. Virtual GearFest still includes equipment sales and a $35,000 gear giveaway.

“I hope that our customers get a really good feel for the GearFest experience. I hope they really do get a lot of what they would traditionally get when they would come here. I mean that, to me, would be a success. The customers walk away going, “Wow, you know, even though we weren’t there, it still felt like GearFest.”

GearFest runs Friday and Saturday.

Find more information by clicking here.

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