Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta

Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta

Escape the Ordinary at these 8 Georgia Music Festivals

Discover new bands, local flavor, cultural celebrations and more at these festivals made for music fans throughout the state.

Music festivals are a tried-and-true Peach State tradition as synonymous with the state as peanuts and Coca-Cola. In Georgia, we have weather on our side for a festival season that lasts all year long. Throughout the year, Georgia hosts a variety of diverse music events to keep the state abuzz with rock and roll, country, soul, jazz, hip hop and plenty more. Grab your calendars and start planning your getaway!

Fatoumata Diawara at Savannah Music Festival

Savannah Music Festival, March - April

Georgia's largest musical arts event and one of the most distinctive cross-genre music festivals in the world, the Savannah Music Festival is a world-class celebration of musical arts. Find a true medley of melodies where music ranges from country to folk to jazz to chamber.

Venues showcase the best of Savannah's walkable vibrancy and include intimate churches, synagogues and club venues, breezy outdoor streets settings and revered cultural centers and historic theater spaces, like the Johnny Mercer Theater. With a strength in classical music, Americana, acoustic and jazz -- but also rock n’ roll, dance events and a variety of world music -- the Savannah Music Festival is the tie that binds an immersive, global music experience to peak spring in an iconic Southern city.

Find more to do on your trip with this Guide to Savannah.

SweetWater 420 Fest in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta

SweetWater 420 Fest, April

With its annual dynamic blend of music, arts and local brew, plus a healthy dose of food, entertainment and respect for Mother Earth, the SweetWater 420 Fest is a revered annual tradition that celebrates springtime in the city. What started on the small stage at SweetWater Brewery has blossomed to today's jam-packed, mega-festival status in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

But even with major headliners like Widespread Panic, the Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and more, SweetWater 420 Fest still has the heart of the local brewer. In addition to the entertainment, you can taste more than 25 unique styles of SweetWater beers, enjoy presentations on topics "as wide as our brewers' bellies," such as sustainability, and experience an artist market, food village and 420 Disco. This is where beer, music and the spring season get the best of each other.

Find more things to do nearby with this Guide to Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in Dahlonega, Georgia

Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, April

Bear on the Square in April is as authentic as it gets. This Appalachian heritage festival and experience will play you some mountain music -- or you pick your own fiddle, banjo, dulcimer and more, and join in on this annual town tradition.

Dahlonega's historic public square is prime music territory for two full days, kicked off with pre-festival jam sessions on Friday as live music circulates all weekend. Spotlighting bluegrass and old-time music, Bear on the Square also includes a juried artist marketplace featuring traditional mountain crafts. The festival also includes storytelling, free music workshops and demonstrations, local wine and beer, a Sunday Gospel Jam, children’s activities, dancing and more against a backdrop of mountain city springtime charm.

Find more to do in this charming mountain town with this Guide to Dahlonega.

Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival in Thomson, Georgia

Blind Willie McTell Music Festival, May

Awarded and recognized as one of the finest small festivals in the South, this blues heritage festival in Blind Willie McTell's hometown of Thomson is an all-day tribute to one of the founding fathers of American roots music. McTell was a blind street performer who got his start as a sought-after guitarist and lyricist who gave the world "Statesboro Blues" and influenced everyone from the Allman Brothers to the White Stripes.

While McTell is acclaimed for his blues-country style, the Blind Willie McTell Festival in May has now grown in its diversity of music genres and acts, with performances by local, regional and national musicians, local Southern food and merchandise. Also worth mentioning: their iconic artist rendered posters have become collectible!

Explore more to do in town with this Guide to Thomson.

Shaky Beats Music Festival in Atlanta

Shaky Knees & Shaky Beats, May

Sister music festivals Shaky Knees and Shaky Beats attract big names to perform on back-to-back weekends in Atlanta in May. The 2019 Shaky Beats lineup features DJ Mag's No. 1 DJ for the past three years, Martin Garrix, and Australian alternative dance group Rüfüs Du Sol, while Shaky Knees features indie rock and alternative rock bands Tame Impala, Beck, Cage the Elephant and Incubus. Although both festivals are relatively new to Georgia's music scene, they have quickly become local favorites.

Love Atlanta's music scene? Check out this list of 10 Can't Miss Atlanta Music Festivals.

Little Roy Lincoln and Lizzie Long with their band

Little Roy and Lizzie Music Festival, May

Elijah Clark State Park makes the perfect spring setting for the Little Roy and Lizzie Music Festival, a regional bluegrass experience featuring on-site camping and more bluegrass acts than you can shake a fiddle stick at. This rain-or-shine event has a big tent for inclement weather and has become a destination festival headlined by the talent of "Little Roy" Lincoln and Lizzy Long of the Little Roy and Lizzie Show. Little Roy has carried the Lincoln Family's "First Family of Bluegrass Gospel" music tradition with him, recognized today as one of the foremost five-string banjo pickers in the country.

Find more state park trip ideas in 25 Things to Do at Georgia's State Parks.

AthFest

Athfest Music & Arts Festival, June

School’s out for summer, and Athens is ready to play — on stage, that is. The annual AthFest Music and Art Festival is a June event founded in 1997 to promote music and arts from the talented folks in Athens and its surrounding counties. Music, children’s activities, family events, film, comedy, an art market and more are all wrapped together for a multi-day festival raising money for AthFest Educates, Inc., a nonprofit supporting Athens area music and arts education programs.

Plan more things to do on your trip with this Guide to Athens.

Ludacris at Music Midtown

Music Midtown, September

As one of the state’s largest music fests, Music Midtown draws fans to Atlanta every September. The long list of acts in the weekend lineup covers many musical genres. Held annually since 1994, with a five-year hiatus from 2006 to 2011, this two-day blow-out came back to life and now brings some of the industry’s biggest names. The fest, held outdoors in Piedmont Park, has seen acts by the likes of Jane’s Addiction, Pearl Jam, Ludacris, Artic Monkeys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and T.I.

Plan the ultimate weekend with this Guide to Music Midtown.

Find more Georgia music festivals throughout the year at ExploreGeorgia.org/music.

Published: April 2019