In Georgia, there's no better down-home good time than an outdoor gathering with live music and sizzlin' meat on the grill. Here are six spring and summer festivals that bring on the barbecue and the bands.
Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival, March 4, 2017
Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival jumps right into the season on March 4 with the red-hot Marcus King Band appearing as headliner in Tifton. No Depression praises the "criminally talented" 20-year-old King by describing his band's 2016 album as "an invitation to a party of seemingly boundless potential." With the free event in Fulwood Park featuring 10 bands, a Georgia BBQ Association-sanctioned competition, children's games and arts vendors, that sounds like exactly what Rhythm & Ribs offers up.
BBQ, Boogie & Blues, April 28 & 29
Calhoun comes alive April 28 and 29 with BBQ Boogie & Blues, which piles on the activities like fixin's on a pulled pork sandwich. Contemporary musical acts share the spotlight with traditional performers from the Georgia String Band Festival, the companion event downtown, plus a KCBS-sanctioned competition, beer and wine gardens, Kids Zone, benefit bike ride, Amazing Race and much more.
Pick’n In Grant Park, May 12 & 13, 2017
On May 12 & 13, Pick’n In Grant Park BBQ and Music Festival returns to Atlanta's oldest park and one of the city's most beloved neighborhoods. Though the BBQ competitors don't serve samples, the festival packs Grant Park with food vendors, an artists’ Street Market, Kid Zone and a stage featuring more than a dozen local and regional musicians. The festival is organized by Grant Park Conservancy, which works to protect the park and assist the City of Atlanta in maintaining it.
Smoke on the Water BBQ and Music Festival, May 19 & 20, 2017
"We know how to throw a party," says the group of childhood friends who founded the Smoke on the Water BBQ & Music Festival to give back to their hometown of Thomaston by donating proceeds to Upson County’s six Volunteer Fire Departments. The 10th annual event takes place May 19 and 20 at the family-owned Bickley's Lake with a lineup including Chris Knight, Drivin N Cryin, Old 97s, Cordova and more plus a GBA-sanctioned cookoff, kids' activities and the option of camping.
Papa Joe's Banjobque Music Festival, May 26 & 27, 2017
With headliners including Avett Brothers and Greensky Bluegrass and many more acts to be announced, Papa Joe’s Banjobque Music Festival gears up for another jam-packed Memorial Day weekend in Evans on May 26 and 27. The grounds of Towne Center Park are transformed info a fair of food, culture and music for kids, adults and pets with audience favorites including the Pig Races and the Beer Garden and Saloon. Prizes for the 8th annual KCBS-sanctioned BBQ Cookoff equal $40,000 in value.
Dillard Bluegrass & Barbeque Festival, August 4 & 5
On August 4 & 5, the Dillard Bluegrass & Barbeque Festival celebrates its 21st year of pairing great music and delicious food in beautiful North Georgia mountains. Barbecue enthusiasts from across the country descend upon the Dillard City Hall Fairgrounds to check out the cooking rigs and teams, sample the delicacies and kick back to the best in Southern bluegrass bands. The 2017 lineup includes Balsam Range, Foxfire Boys, Sons of the South and many more.