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Music and motorsports collide at Gridlife South
Racing and music festival returns to Road Atlanta in Braselton
Gridlife drift
Cars drift at the 2016 Gridlife South at Road Atlanta. Special guests included Pro 1 drivers Ryan Tuerck, Chris Forsberg and Vaughn Gittin Jr. - photo by Kaylee Martin

For its second year, Gridlife South festival will return to the rolling hills of Road Atlanta in Braselton for three days of motorsport and music entertainment. 

Festival attendees can enjoy many aspects of modern car culture, such as full-course drifting, time attack, High Performance Driving Event sessions and even a car show presented by SlammedEnuff. 

After the track goes cold, the AfterGrid music festival will heat things up with performances from Savoy on Friday night and Ludacris on Saturday night, as well as many other established and up-and-coming artists.

Gridlife South

What: Racing and music festival

When: Aug. 25-27

Where: Road Atlanta, 5300 Winder Highway, Braselton

How much: $25-50 for day pass; $85 for three day pass; camping passes can be purchased for additional fees

Rapper and actor Ludacris will be headlining the Saturday show at Gridlife South at Road Atlanta.

“Gridlife started out as a way to bring all my friends and I together,” said Chris Stewart, creator and director of Gridlife. “Everyone has different backgrounds when it comes to cars — some are grip (track) guys, while others are into drifting or car shows — and sometimes you tend to get divided into cliques based on what you do. Music is also more than likely to be playing over speakers at any automotive event you go to, so why not create an event that combines everything?”

While Gridlife South may be relatively new, Gridlife Midwest at Gingerman Raceway in Michigan has been going on for years and is always a huge hit.

“The Midwest event usually brings out about 8,000 people, so when Road Atlanta approached us about hosting a South festival, we thought it was a great opportunity,” he said. “This track is famous, and to be able to drive it is a bucket list item for a lot of drivers.” 

Stewart described Gridlife as an experience like no other.

“The whole atmosphere feels like a giant house party at a race track,” Stewart said. “We want the festival and the activities to feel very accessible to anyone, whether you’re a driver or a spectator. Gridlife is one of the only events in the world where grassroots drivers can drive with professionals — this year we have about 20 Pro 1 and Pro 2 drivers. Everyone is super laid back, and fans can actually go talk to and hang out with drivers in the pits, whereas at any other event the only way they could meet them would be an autograph line.”

Stewart emphasized that the event is very automotive centered but encouraged anyone interested in cars to come to the event. 

“Even if people that don’t consider themselves a ‘car person’ come out to watch, they are very likely to see things that are interesting to them. With time attack, drivers are racing for the fastest lap time, whereas drifting isn’t actually racing, but basically the ultimate expression of tire control — the cars are sliding sideways, and in a competitive setting would be judged on line, angle and style. Between the track cars and the show cars, there will be a lot of neat builds, and of course they can also enjoy the concerts.”

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