Gathering at Chaffee's a Family Affair
Familial vibe keeps annual fest alive
Friday, July 21
Finding yourself afoot at some summer music gatherings, you may feel like a guest (and that can be cool).
At others, you may even feel like a stranger (and that can be cool, too).
But The Gathering at Chaffee's — and I am nowhere close to the first, last or only person to make this statement — well, it's one of those rare, small-but-absolutely-amazing festivals where, in a very short time, everyone gets to feeling a whole lot like family.
One big, comfortable, dance-happy, musically-mind-blown family.
This year marks the 37th annual Gathering (known simply as "the party" to the literal Chaffee family), giving its very loyal local following almost four decades worth of Chaffee's goodness at those intimate festival grounds (the Chaffee family's Girard property, that is) as one of lots of very awesome reasons to celebrate.
The soundtrack to that big little party is, as always, amazing. This year, Gathering-goers get to check out longtime, big-time, legendary jam scene all-stars Ekoostik Hookah, along with all sorts of other stellar national, regional and local acts. Tropidelic, Mister F, Vibe & Direct, Eric Brewer & Friends, Steve Trohoske & the Art Groupies, This American Song, and AudioTonic will bring the Chaffee's Main Stage to life on Friday. On Saturday (along with a nice night-time dose of hookah), it'll be on fire with performances by Spiritual Rez, Chestnut Grove, Big City Hangover, Stereosphere, Six Year Stretch, Haewa, The Bees Trees, and the final performance of GNOSiS, .
And that's not even close to all the Gathering has to offer. The Chaffee's Side Stage is, as usual, also busting out its sides with local talent: The LEC, Qwister, Special Guest (a reunion, even!) and Pine Diary on Friday; and, on Saturday, performances by Broke Boland Band, Claire Stuczynski, Dionisio, Adam McKillip, Justin Moyar and Fred Greco.
More than anything, "the vibe is what makes the Gathering at Chaffee's so wonderful," festival founder and leader Doug Chaffee told me a while back. "That, I think, [is] the highlight of the Gathering for me, along with all the smiling, appreciative people who come to our property to get away for one weekend a summer — for good music, good vibes, good times, and memories that last a lifetime."
Easy to get to, hard to leave. A lot like family. Chaffee's is one sweet, sweet gathering indeed.
Friday 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. // 8296 Mill St., Girard // thegatheringatchaffees.com // last call tickets $62.49
Ryan Smith can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can follow him on Twitter @ryansmithplens.