Atlanta's Top 16 Music Festivals

Got music in your blood? Dance on over to Atlanta's top 16 music festivals.
  • Music Midtown is an Atlanta staple for music lovers. (2015, Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)
    Music Midtown is an Atlanta staple for music lovers. (2015, Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)
  • May means 31 days of jazz thanks to the Atlanta Jazz Festival.
    May means 31 days of jazz thanks to the Atlanta Jazz Festival.
  • Centennial Olympic Park is a hub of music all year long. (2011, James Duckworth, AtlantaPhotos.com)
    Centennial Olympic Park is a hub of music all year long. (2011, James Duckworth, AtlantaPhotos.com)
  • Rock out in sunny days and scenic nights at any music festival in Atlanta.
    Rock out in sunny days and scenic nights at any music festival in Atlanta.

Atlanta is quickly becoming known as a heavyweight in film, but did you know that this city’s music scene is also creating major sound waves? Home to nearly 20 live music festivals that attract tens of thousands of people from all over the world each year, Atlanta is constantly infused with music ranging from electronic dance music to jazz to bluegrass and everything in between.

Here are the top Atlanta festivals that every music lover must be sure to have on his or her radar:

April

  1. SweetWater 420 Fest: For the past 12 years, local brewery SweetWater has held a weekend-long jam fest that blends environmental consciousness with music, entertainment, arts, culture, a 5K and great beer. April 22-24, Centennial Olympic Park.

May

  1. Shaky Knees Music Festival: With five stages and more than 75 bands each year, Shaky Knees is a rock-lover’s dream, featuring a lineup ranging from world-renowned acts to up-and-coming artists. May 13-15, Centennial Olympic Park.

  2. Shaky Beats Festival: You might think this is a repeat entry, but Shaky Beats is an electronic and hip-hop festival that takes place a few days after Shaky Knees, featuring artists like Major Lazer, Odesza, Nas and more. May 20-22, Centennial Olympic Park.

  3. Atlanta Jazz Festival: While the main part of the festival is Memorial Day weekend, every day in May features free jazz events at jazz clubs, neighborhood parks and locally owned restaurants as part of 31 Days of Jazz. Throughout May, Piedmont Park.

  4. Counterpoint Music Festival: Crowd favorites like The Roots, Zedd and Widespread Panic headlined Counterpoint last year, and the festival should be just as good this year. Catch a shuttle from the Civic Center MARTA Station or camp there. Date TBD, Kingston Downs.

  5. Candler Park Music & Food Festival: This is the perfect place to enjoy food trucks, festival craft markets and even a 5K. Date TBD, Candler Park.

June

  1. Tunes from the Tombs: What could be better than partying in a cemetery? Tunes from the Tombs features local musicians on multiple stages, food trucks, tours of Historic Oakland Cemetery... and plenty of spirits (drinks and otherwise). June 18, Oakland Cemetery.

July

  1. National Black Arts Festival: Not many festivals have a 27-year legacy of providing artistic and educational programs in music, dance, film, visual arts, theater and the literary arts. Events June to September, various locations.

August

  1. Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival: More than 5,000 music and barbecue lovers gather annually to enjoy six hours of live acts and some of the tangiest, spiciest, juiciest barbecue anywhere in Atlanta. Aug. 13, Harmony Park.

  2. Imagine Music Festival: Electronic dance music lovers worldwide flock to this three-day, high-energy music festival. Aug. 26-28, Historic Fourth Ward Park.

  3. The Wrecking Ball: Legendary live music venue The Masquerade hosts more than 60 rock, punk and hardcore bands on stages called Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, plus the outdoor stage. Aug.13-14, The Masquerade.

September

  1. ONE Musicfest: This annual outdoor music festival has featured performances from Common, De La Soul, Nas, Amel Larrieux and Snoop Dogg to name a few. Sept. 10, Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood.

  2. Music Midtown: Attracting acts like Elton John, Drake, Van Halen and Sam Smith, Music Midtown is an Atlanta staple. Sept. 17-18, Piedmont Park.

  3. House in the Park: HITP rocks multiple pavilions in Grant Park every September, bringing a soulful version of house music to thousands of fans. This is one of Atlanta’s best free music events. Sept. 4, Grant Park.

  4. Atlanta Hip-Hop Day Festival: If you love b-boy and b-girl exhibits, emcee battles, turntable tournaments and graffiti artists, you’re in luck with the Atlanta Hip-Hop Day Festival. Sept. 26-27, Woodruff Park.

October

  1. A3C Hip-Hop Festival: More than 200 performing artists from all over the world rock Atlanta over five days at venues along the Atlanta Streetcar route in the heart of the Old Fourth Ward and East Atlanta Village. Oct. 5-9.

Beth Clark is a writer and foodie who loves to roam around Atlanta, uncovering the city's quirky, glam, upscale and down-home character. Curiosity is her compass, and you'll find her writing on www.thecitydweller.me.

 

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