In the mid 1960s, Brothers Roy and Gene Clair began experimenting with sound systems as a hobby in a garage in Lititz PA. This led to providing music for Lititz Community Center dances and other local events. In 1966 they were asked to provide sound for a Four Seasons concert at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster PA. The Jersey Boys were so impressed with the quality of the PA that they hired the Clair Brothers to go on tour with them. Soon Jefferson Airplane, Blood Sweat and Tears, Elvis and others followed in what would become a long list of the biggest touring artists in the world.
Also in the mid 1960s Rusty Brutsche and Jack Maxson worked as musicians and producers in Dallas, TX. Together they developed a sound system for Brutsche’s band that gained a good reputation as a rental system for touring groups. Working out of a garage they founded SHOWCO in 1970 and soon were hired to tour with bands like Led Zeppelin, Three Dog Night, and James Taylor.
In the 1970s, there was a large increase in the demand for sound production, resulting in major growth for Clair Brothers and SHOWCO. As the two strongest rivals in the audio world they worked tirelessly to advance the art and science of sound reproduction to greater levels.
By the 1980s Clair Brothers and SHOWCO continuously vied for “Sound Company of the year”, each striving to create innovations the other would have to match. Clair Brothers expanded into the Audio, Video and Lighting installation business with the addition of Audio Rent of Basel, Switzerland in 1987. SHOWCO developed into a full service lighting, sound, staging and logistics company and developed the Vari-Lite, the world’s first automated variable color moving lighting system.
In the 1990s Clair Brothers expanded yet again with the addition of MD Systems of Nashville Tennessee. SHOWCO by that time had grown and became part of Vari-Lite international due to the enormous success of their patented lighting system.
In 2000, Clair Brothers and SHOWCO joined forces in what would become the best and largest sound reinforcement company in the world. With the addition of a Toronto location in 2006 and Chicago in 2007, the new company with affiliates around the globe, offered a range of service and support unparalleled in the industry.
In 2008, ClairShowco changed its name to CLAIR, and created the tagline “Global Service and Live Shows Since 1966,” unifying the best of the best companies in the industry that provide the highest quality service and sound to history’s biggest artists and tours. CLAIR continues to embrace the pioneer spirit that made the original companies so successful as the company expands in terms of its offerings and locations.
As of 2008, CLAIR is the most awarded company in the live touring and sound industry.