The Gathering took place this year in Cleveland, Ohio and it was the first time back since the pandemic, allowing artists and music lovers to get together to celebrate music and the alternative bands that perform. Over three days, everyone attending gets to fully immerse themselves in the love of music.
On Day One, when we landed in Cleveland, the party immediately started. The first stop was to check-in at the historic Renaissance Hotel, downtown, in the heart of the city. When you walked in the energy was already high and the excitement was tangible. You could tell this was an event you weren’t going to forget.
From there we headed to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Yes, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. A stage was set up outside of the museum with food trucks and an open bar. The sun was slowly setting over downtown Cleveland and it was time to get the party started. The Dirty Shirts were the first to take the stage and the Texas natives kicked off by electrifying us all with some pure rock music. snarls was up next, followed by the iconic LIT, and The Unlikely Candidates. This lineup made it clear we were in for an incredible couple of days.
Back at the Renaissance, we headed to the ballroom where Milky Chance and Palaye Royale absolutely had everyone up and going wild. By the time everyone walked in, we were all feeling the full day. The hotel had given us pizza to enjoy but we were a bit out of it after an already insane schedule. However, when Milky Chance took the stage all signs of tiredness left our bodies. I mean, have you ever seen anyone rip on a harmonica and make it look fucking awesome? There we were, thinking we could not get any more hyped—then Palaye Royale took the stage. I don’t know if there are words to accurately describe the frenzy that is watching this band perform. Frontman Remington used the entire ballroom to jump around with the crowd, climb on tables, and make everyone lose their minds. Somehow, after that, we were expected to just go to bed.
We woke up the next morning on Day Two not knowing if it was going to be anything like the day before. It was and it wasn’t—we were about to have the best day. The Gathering made sure we got to take in the city. We headed over to Forest City Brewery for lunch and another lineup of artists. Seeing Scarlet was mind-blowing in the fact that they were made up of teenagers who rock just as hard as any grown band around them. They were followed by Crocodyle and Remy Reilly. The environment was laid back and cool but that didn’t stop the music from making your heart race. There is incredible joy to be found in being in such an intimate space with musicians who know how to send every lyric, strum of a guitar, and beat on a drum through your veins.
Things only got cooler when we headed to Beachland. This venue was part bar and part stage with a vintage store downstairs. This was enough to make you want to stay all night, but then we got some music too. Unlike the other sets of the event, fans outside of The Gathering were able to buy tickets so the house was alive and ready to have a great time. Detention got us going and then Devora, the goth cowgirl herself, took the stage. Capital Theatre and Rec Hall kept the crowd dying for more music. Luckily, Chad Tepper gave them exactly what they wanted. This man did not hold back and talked to the audience like they were all his best friends. There was not a single body standing still while he was on the stage. Then we ended this part of the night with lovelytheband. They played everything from fan-favorite “Broken” to their newest release “Sail Away”. It takes a certain kind of talent for a band to sound as clean and fun as they do on the radio. The difference between this experience and listening to them as you drive to work, is that the band stage presence is unmatched and connecting to them live was an experience show goers won’t forget.
Did you think the night was over? It could have been and if so our music-loving souls would have gone to bed totally content. However, everyone behind The Gathering knows how to plan a party. Once again we headed back to the Ballroom at the Renaissance to wrap up the night with Elektric Animals and The Happy Fits. I mean, come on. The list of absolute talent was endless and the pure adrenaline, evoked by a clear love for the music and a commitment to giving us a sound with unmatched energy, that did not stop because of the bands was enough to live off of for days. And there was another day after that. I had to head off to a wedding but you can read about Day Three here.
The Gathering breathes life into anyone who loves music. When I looked around any of the venues I found myself in, I was surrounded by people just like you, people who have a love for music and are there to fully be in the moment with artists who deserve of our love. After two years of exhausting moments and a whole lot of heartache, spending a couple of days at The Gathering was a reminder that the things we love are still out there and the people you’ve been missing are ready to celebrate those things with you.
And check out photographer Jenn Noga on Instagram!