Beginning in 1980 as a July 4th celebration with family and friends, The Gathering at Chaffee’s has morphed into a 2-day festival that brings together great music and people, creating a welcoming environment that has continually drawn more in attendance while maintaining an intimate feel.

This comfortable, familial atmosphere is what makes The Gathering stand out from other festivals, as it offers plenty of well-liked music that people want to hear, but with a more relaxed vibe. Having done this a few times, Doug Chaffee and the festival crew pay attention to details, ensuring that everyone has a high-quality experience.

Headlining this year are the nationally touring bands Kung Fu and Jimkata, who play Friday and Saturday evening, respectively. Kung Fu is a quintet of powerhouse performers. You will find difficulty in sitting still, even if you don’t dance. Employing a clever fusion of funk elements and EDM, Kung Fu are capable of convincing even the most skeptical of listeners into giving live EDM a serious chance with their undeniable talent.

Jimkata, the trio of electro-rockers from Ithaca, NY, create relatable, danceable music that inherently invites listeners to sing along with. Their blend of synth and guitar is modern, yet original. Everywhere I go and see them, it’s the same: everyone loves Jimkata.

Supporting headliners are hip-hop and reggae infused Tropidelic, prog-rockers Mister F, jam band Vibe & Direct, and power funk group After Funk. These bands alone would be worth the trip, but The Gathering includes much more music featuring Haewa, Qwister, and Erie’s own GNOSIS and Daybreak Radio, to name a few.

Tickets are only $60 and include parking and camping for Friday and Saturday, with Saturday-only tickets available for $40 (includes parking and camping) and can be purchased at Earthshine (118 Meadville St., Edinboro, PA) and at both Grasshopper locations in Erie (2818 W 8th St. and 2518 Peach St., cash only). To purchase tickets online and for all other inquiries, please visit http://www.thegatheringatchaffees.com/

Additionally, one of the best things about The Gathering is that proceeds benefit both the JDRF Diabetes Foundation and Children’s Advocacy Center of Erie County, a facet that demonstrates the true goodness surrounding this festival.

Whether you can make it for the weekend or just a day, you won’t be disappointed. Only 90 minutes from Cleveland, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh, it’s a nice, quick weekend getaway. The Gathering at Chaffee’s has been on my radar for a few years now, and I couldn’t be more excited to finally attend. We hope to see you there!