Hello, readers of Athens Music Junkie! Kristen here, blogger for Echoreyn of Athens. My good friend Jordan suggested that I share with you guys a bit about Athfest 2009 as I experienced it. Well, let me tell you! As a first-timer to the massive music festival, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so I was amazed by the sheer volume of everything there: the people, the bands, the excitement. Wow!
I started off my Athfest experience on Thursday night at the Flagpole Athens Music Awards, my first true awards show, followed shortly afterward by my first true after party at the 40 Watt. Both of these events were nothing short of amazing spectacles for the eyes and ears! I’ve heard of so many of the bands that played at the awards show before and seeing them live was something of a dream come true. Even better, I was surrounded by the Athens music elite, the quintessential celebrities of this lovely town. You can keep your Brad Pitts and your Tom Cruises. I’ll be a hundred times more awestruck (and occasionally star struck) by people like Hardy Morris, Karolyn Troupe, and Trent Allen any day!
On Friday night, the true musical adventures began. And when I say adventures, I mean adventures… No other word can be used to describe our trooping back and forth all over Athens in an attempt to see lots of the best and often most buzzed about bands in town! Some of my very favorites from that night included Excali Brah and Deaf Judges for their costumes and general all-encompassing immersive performances, and Tealvox, Wilx, and the Empties for their energy and danceable rock. And I can’t forget the headliner that I had been waiting for weeks, Dead Confederate, who satisfied my craving for their music most wonderfully!
The next day, Saturday, was an all-day affair. The detailed itinerary that I had created a week earlier (after completing the rather insane task of researching all of 170+ bands on the Athfest website) informed me that we were supposed to be at the main stage for Dancer vs. Politician at 2 pm. Like the average college students, my friends and I barely managed to roll out of bed before 1 pm, so it was something of a miracle that we got there in time to see the band start their mic check. Since it can be assumed that most of the rest of Athens had the same ideas about sleep that we had, it wasn’t much of a struggle to get right up front near the stage (or rather, next to the bars that kept us ordinary citizens out of the press-badge-only section in front of the stage). In fact, to my incredible delight, it was surprisingly easy to get to the very front for all of the Athfest shows. I suppose it helps that, being a good bit smaller than many people, I can squeeze into impossibly tiny spaces, but I’d also like to think that it was just the general positive vibes wafting through Athens that made everyone happy to make room for all of their fellow music lovers. Either way, though, I think that I might be in at least half of the shots taken of the Athfest main stage audience by those photographers brave enough to venture onstage during the performances.
I’m not completely certain if this was the intention of the Athfest organizers, but it seemed to me that all of the louder bands had rocked the stages around Athens on Friday leaving the quieter, more calming acts for Saturday. Venice is Sinking, Dancer vs. Politician, Liz Durett, and Rachel O’Neal all rolled with this trend of beautiful, soft melodies. The Warm Fuzzies, however, chose a different avenue. We very nearly missed seeing this band, but thank goodness we managed to catch it. Their clever lyrics and general hilarity were a great addition to the awesomeness that was Saturday’s Athfest.
Sunday was a short day for us which was sort of a relief after the three previous jam-packed days. The heat was starting to get to all of us, and that morning I had noticed an unacceptable hint of a slight farmer’s tan forming on the back of my arms. Also, without the free Vitamin Water and Fuze that had been provided during the rest of the weekend, the idea of standing in the sun seemed just about as appealing as slipping into a pot of boiling water. To my great joy, the act we were truly staying for that day, Dreams So Real of fame decades past, was rock in its purest form and totally worth the heat and the trouble we had procuring a ride back to Atlanta. What an end to Athfest!
And then, for us, it was time to go. I really didn’t want to leave, but having no choice in the matter, I parted ways with my beloved Athens. I’ll be back in the fall, but that seems like much too much time from now. I can’t complain, though. I got to see 32 bands I’ve never seen before in just a few days! The music I heard and the memories I’ve made will stay with me forever. Athfest was, without a doubt, one of the most amazing events I’ve ever experienced! I can’t wait till Athfest 2010!
To read about all of my experiences at Athfest 2009, check out my blog. I will be posting Athfest blogs, show reviews, and concert videos on a regular basis for the next few weeks. Oh, and I’ve got to give a shoutout to Jordan for letting me do this. You rock, Jordan! Thanks for reading, everyone!