21st Annual AthFest Highlights Athens’ Creative Culture June 20-25

The 21st annual AthFest Music & Arts Festival will bring local music, art, comedy, beer gardens and culture to historic downtown Athens, Georgia, June 20-25th.  The multi-day festival features the music and arts festival June 23-25, with affiliated events beginning Tuesday, June 20th.  Recognized as one of the nation’s best summer festivals by Livability.com, AthFest Music and Arts Festival presents music from local, regional and national acts on three outdoor stages starting Friday night June 23rd until Sunday night June 25th.   


Athens’ own Futurebirds, psychedelic electronic dance band Zoogmaand Georgia Music Hall of Famers Drivin’ N Cryin’ headine the main stage, with bluegrass favorites Packway Handle Band, Atlanta pop band of classically trained sisters Von Grey, and Athens pop punk veterans Five Eight headlining the Creature Comforts Hull St. Stage.  Other bands on the free outdoor stages include Roadkill Ghost Choir, Powerkompany, Ruby The Rabbitfoot, Super Yamba Band ft. Reptar Horns, BlackNerdNinja, Funk You, super group Interstellar Boys, MrJordanMrTonks, Zach Deputy and many more.  Friday and Saturday nights culminate with dance parties featuring DJs David Osborne and Robbie Dude spinning records in the AthFest Beer Garden. The full schedule is at AthFest.com and the Walkabout app will help festival-goers find and plan for the shows they want to see.   

Cracker at the 40 Watt during the AthFest Club Crawl 2015 (Photo by Porter McLeod)

 The AthFest Club Crawl takes place Friday and Saturday nights with dozens of bands playing local music venues, including of Montreal, Cindy Wilson (of The B-52’s), The Orange Constant, New MadridMuuy Bien, Blue Blood, T. Hardy Morris, Eureka California, Universal Sigh, Lingua FrancaMosaic, DAISYCrismis, Kite to the Moon, Claire Campbell, Kenosha Kid, Crunchy and Lazer/Wulf.  

Ciné BarCafe hosts the Annual AthFactor Hip Hop Showcase with a Ladies Takeover this yearand The Foundry has a Country Showcase Friday night with headliner Thomas Fountain, and a Latin Showcase Saturday night with Orquesta MaCuba.  

Participating Club Crawl venues include Georgia Theatre, Georgia Theatre Rooftop, 40 Watt, Caledonia Lounge,
Live Wire Athens, The FoundryCinéBarCafe, Flicker Theatre & Bar, The Globe, Go Bar, Hendershot‘s, The Iron Factory, Little Kings Shuffle Club and The World Famous. VIP tickets include air conditioned lounge in Highwire with free drinks and food. 

Club Crawl wristbands and VIP tickets and information available online at http://athfest.com/athfest-club-crawl-wristbands or in person at the festival merchandise tent, Club Crawl venues during the Club Crawl, and in advance at Wuxtry, Low Yo Yo Stuff, Athens Welcome Center and Georgia Theatre. 

AthFest features a juried Artist Market.

The festival features a juried Artist Market with over 60 artist booths featuring painting, prints, photography, crafts, fiber arts, sculpture, and other artistic mediums in an block long open air setting.  

KidsFest bookends the main stage of the festival, with the KidsFest stage featuring the UpNext Showcase Friday night from 6pm-9pm with performances from up and coming middle and high school aged musicians.  Programming for and by young people fills the KidsFest stage all day Saturday and Sunday, including dance performances, step teams and all kinds of musical performances.  KidsFest also has free craft projects and demonstrations for young people in the KidsFest tent, as well as inflatables on the street.  Flicker hosts a Kids Open Mic at 1pm on Saturday, and Ciné hosts a Kids Dance Party from 1:00-3:00pm with DJ Mahogany.   

 The festival kicks off with LaughFest on Tues., June 20th, with this year’s showcase of comedy stretching over three days, instead of the one night show of previous years. LaughFest includes smaller comedy showcases at Flicker June 20th, The World Famous the 21st and a secret late night show the 22nd in addition to the main event at the Georgia Theatre, with headliners Shane Mauss on June 21st and Ron Funches on June 22nd 

Daniel Romano

 Other affiliate events include Flagpole Music Awards Thursday June 22nd at the historic Morton Theatre, featuring music awards and performances.  A showcase of AthFest performers will be featured at Laser Brains 2017 Atlanta Summer Showcase, Sat., June 17th at The Family Dog in Atlanta.  BMI/ChooseATL hosts the Slushfund Day Party on Sat., June 24th at Little Kings, with headliners The Dirty Soul Revival, and 40 Watt hosts the New West Records AthFest Kickoff Party Thurs., June 22nd with headliner Daniel Romano 

While in Athens, be sure and take the Athen Music History Tour. The Athens Welcome Center and Classic City Tours will host two tours during AthFest, one on Sat. June 24 at 10:30 a.m. and one on Sun. June 25 at 10:30 a.m.. The combination bus and walking tour will feature local music historian and raconteur Paul Butchart sharing first-hand tales from back-in-the-day when art and music merged to nurture the growth of bands like the B-52s, REM, and Pylon. Tours are $20, take two hours and depart from the Athens Welcome Center at 280 E. Dougherty St.. Get tickets online at www.athenswelcomecenter.com or call 706-353-1820.

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