Pip the Pansy at AthFest in Athens, Georgia

Pip the Pansy at AthFest in Athens, Georgia

5 Can't-Miss Summer Music Festivals

It's hotter here. But so is the music! Georgia is where the festival season lasts year-round. From the heat of the night to the dog days of summer, music never sleeps in this state. So use these summer days to fill your odometer with miles of music festival experiences.

The crowd gathers in front of the music stage

1. Atlanta Jazz Festival, Late May

The perfect kickoff to summer is the Atlanta Jazz Festival, a 40-plus-year-old celebration held in Piedmont Park over Memorial Day weekend. Over three days, more than a dozen artists fill the city with the sound of Atlanta's musical heritage at one of the nation's largest free jazz events.

Between sets, festival-goers can explore the Artist Market to peruse the works of local artists and entrepreneurs. There is, of course, plenty of ways to satisfy cravings at the Food and Beverage Market, a youth jazz-band competition, a family zone and many other activities.

In the 31 days preceding the main event, more than 100 jazz events are in venues across the metro area get people excited for what's to come.

Music fans at AthFest in Athens, Georgia

2. AthFest in Athens, June

The three days of AthFest is a perfect homage of Athens progressive rock-and-roll past using music of the present and the future. The underlying cause AthFest supports – to bolster music and arts education in Athens area – is really the heart of the festival, and it shows throughout the weekend. There's a KidsFest, an arts festival and an artist showcase throughout the weekend while an eclectic collection of regional acts play it loud and proud for festival-goers.

Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival in Dallas, Georgia

3. Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival in Dallas, July

Tucked away in Dallas, Georgia, is a music venue nearly half a century old and home to one of Georgia's best annual bluegrass festivals: the Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival. Over the course of two days, festival-goers will hear some of the region's most practiced, touring bluegrass and gospel acts on one stage. And what would a bluegrass festival be without barbecue? This long-standing bluegrass festival will leave you full of both locally grown and cooked 'que, plus plenty of live bluegrass and gospel harmonies keeping it close to nature at Raccoon Creek Music Park.

Georgia Mountain Fair in Hiawassee

4. Georgia Mountain Fair in Hiawassee, July

The late governor and senator Zell Miller famously said that everything he ever did, he did on his way back to his beloved home, the quaint Choestoe Valley. This venue and signature summer music festival event is a testament to why North Georgia's most famous son felt that way about his home.

The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds sit in the shadows of the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Hiawassee. This midsummer, weeklong Georgia Mountain Fair is a perfect family getaway for those looking to escape the heat and those who are ready to discover Georgia's rich mountain music heritage.

Bragg Jam in Macon, Georgia

5. Bragg Jam in Macon, July

There is not a better way to experience the past, present and future of of Georgia's eclectic music heritage than Macon's citywide concert crawl and music festival, Bragg Jam. Named for a late pair of brothers who left their friends too soon, Bragg Jam is not only an homage to musicians but doubles as one of the city's largest and charitable events. Over the course of two days, 40+ major regional acts are scattered around Macon’s premiere venues, giving festival-goers the chance to not just see music, but to experience one of the South's most important music town's progressive past and present scenes.

Published: June 2019
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