Golden Road Gathering Has Strong Showing With Second Year

Golden Road Gathering
May 17 – May 119, 2024

Photos by Paul Piazza

The second edition of the Golden Road Gathering happened recently at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. The music festival, which takes place at the site of the original Hangtown Halloween Ball, is rapidly becoming a festival fan favorite with its convenient camping and excellent music and family friendly environment. The fairgrounds are located in Placerville, less than an hour east of Sacramento in the foothills.

Lebo with Steve Poltz and Steve Adams

Starting with a  diverse group of headliners including the high desert instrumental grooves of Dirtwire, the mesmerizing visuals and transcendent movement and vibes of Beats Antique, and the bluegrass soul and rock n’ roll of Railroad Earth, with the talented Lindsey Lou stepping in for beloved vocalist/guitarist Todd Scheaffer, who is dealing with health issues, the festival had musical variety at every turn. There were also lots of other great musicians and acts onboard including such immense and unique talents as  Fruition, Steve Poltz, Dan Leibowitz, Lotus, The Nth Power, and the Ryan Montbleau Band.

Festival In Style

In between the main stage sets, there was a nearby second stage that featured tweener sets, from a wide variety of talented regional groups like Blu Egyptian, The Gold Souls, and Lazwell, and Tha Exchange among others. They were generally 30-45 minute affairs that rocked the hillside crowd in front of the smaller stage.

Festival Pooch

Additionally, there were  late night shows in the adjacent Late Night Hall that featured the likes of Diggin’ Dirt, The Polyrythmics, Moontricks,and a Golden Road Funk is Dead show with Joe Marcinek & Groove Session.

Music wise, things were non stop. But what makes this festival so great is the camping and community. People camped out in tents, vans, RVs and turned the El Dorado County Fairgrounds into an artful village for the three days of the festival. There was a wellness component this year that featured yoga, meditation, and breath work. And if you wandered around enough in the camping areas, there were many fantastic renegade sets and jams throughout the weekend among the fun loving folks.

Blu Egyptian

While everyone had their own favorites for the weekend, there were two groups that had all the fans buzzing.

Blue Turtle Seduction

Blue Turtle Seduction is a band that due to a variety of reasons hadn’t been performing for a decade. The South Lake Tahoe bluegrass and groove band reunited for the festival and played a killer set that had the entire festival moving. Hopefully we’ll see them again in the future.


Another group that blew people away was Punkadelick. The trio, led by vibe and percussion master Mike Dillon, played a rollicking midday set that took innumerable musical directions as it evolved. Nikki Glaspie on drums (Nth Power) and jazz pianist Brian Haas on keyboards were incredible co-conspirators in this journey into beautiful madness and mayhem.
Later that night, the group teamed up with Harry Waters (Flying Frog Brigade, son of Roger) and a few others and played a late night set.

Crowd Fun

When the dust settled, this festival had been another success at bringing a big musical community together for a weekend of life affirming merriment. Already looking forward to the next Golden Road Gathering.