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Music and more on tap at AthFest
Downtown festival to feature 150 bands, performers
Andrew Vickery and Ken Will Morton will be among the musical performers at AthFest through Sunday in downtown Athens.


What: Music and other performers at various sites in downtown Athens

When: Musical performances 5-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, 12:30-8 p.m. Sunday

Admission: Wristbands to most venues $15; many are free

The streets of downtown Athens will be crowded this weekend as music fans and art lovers converge for the 15th Annual AthFest celebration.

More than 150 bands and performers will play at various venues in the Classic City's downtown area. But the event is not just a music festival, according to Troy Aubrey, music booking chair for the AthFest nonprofit committee.

"It's definitely grown quite a bit over the years. We've added comedy, film and KIDSFest. Overall, the quality has improved over time," Aubrey, who has been with the committee since the second year, said.

To keep up with the times and make it easier to figure out what is happening at the various venues, AthFest now has an iPhone application. It can be found by searching "AthFest" in the iTunes app store, Aubrey said.

The music lineup is quite diverse, featuring everything from country to heavy metal and hip-hop. Headlining this year are Futurebirds, Centro-Magic, Guadalcanal Diary, Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, Kevin Kinney Band, Nappy Roots, Col. Bruce Hampton and Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit.

Aubrey, who handles the booking of musicians, says more than 700 submissions were received from prospective performers. Given time and space constraints, only 150 could be booked.

The festival began Wednesday with "LaughFest," featuring comedians Dan Telfar, Chris Patton and others performing at The 40 Watt Club. FilmFest also took place on Wednesday at the Cine, featuring locally produced videos, short and full-length films.

AthFest continues on Thursday with the Flagpole Music awards, hosted by the Morton Theatre.

The music begins Friday night. Patrons can participate in the "club crawl," heading from venue to venue to catch all the different musical talent. Wristbands allow access to most of the venues where music is taking place.

For those not wanting to purchase wristbands, there are free public shows on street stages. KidsFest will take place at the designated public venues from noon to 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

"The cool thing is that if you're not a late night bird, you don't have to get a wristband. You can come down during the day and check out the art displays and catch the free shows," Aubrey said.

"It's a great event for families. AthFest is a great way to have a great weekend in Athens. And you don't even necessarily have to spend lots of money."

The AthFest festival is organized and produced yearly by AthFest Inc., a nonprofit group, with the help of volunteers. AthFest Inc. organizes other events throughout the year, including a half marathon race in October, according to Aubrey.

For more information, a full schedule of events and to purchase a wristband, click here.