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3 days of music, art and mayhem
AthFest celebrates melodies of North Georgia in many forms
A familiar sight at the AthFest artist market is an old truck covered in rusted bottle caps. - photo by For The Times

When: Friday-Sunday; live music starts at 5 p.m. Friday and continues daily through Sunday
Where: Downtown Athens, along Washington Street
How much: Free; wristbands are $20 and come with discounted admission to clubs and other special events

The annual festival celebrating locally grown music and art gets under way in Athens today.

This year’s event expands from two stages a block away from each other to a larger block party featuring two stages bookending a couple blocks of art, kids activities and other attractions.

The main stage at Pulaski and Washington streets — across from the 40 Watt club in downtown Athens — will stay the same, but this year the second stage has moved up a block to Lumpkin Street.

The festival starts tonight with the annual Flagpole Music Awards honoring local bands at the Morton Theater, and then the live music starts Friday and continues through Sunday. On Friday, the free outdoor performances start at 5 p.m. with Gainesville native Allison Weiss and her band on the Pulaski Street stage, with performances capped off by Modern Skirts at 9 p.m. and the Packway Handle Band on the Lumpkin Street stage at 9:20 p.m.

On Saturday, the Swamp Funk Quartet kicks off the music at noon on the Pulaski stage, and the day’s performances include legenday Athens band Five Eight at 6:20 p.m., a hip-hop showcase at 7:20 p.m. and Perpetual Groove at
9 p.m.

Sunday’s music starts at noon with Kinky Waikiki, and the dozen or so performances cap off with headliners Cracker at 7 p.m. on the Pulaski stage and the Kinchafoonee Cowboys at 7:20 p.m. on the Lumpkin stage.

The artist market opens on Friday, with 50 juried artists offering handmade pottery, jewelry, paintings and sculpture.

And KidsFest, a kid-oriented section of AthFest, expands this year to where previous year’s Hull Street stage was.

Running from noon to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, KidsFest includes its own lineup of music that’s good for any age — from toddlers to teens and even parents — along with activities and crafts for kids.

All AthFest outdoor events are free, and wristbands are available for purchase, which gets you discounted admission into downtown clubs and other venues offering special events all weekend. For more information, visit

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