I miss it, you miss it, the local economy misses it. Let’s just say it. We are missing the hell out of AthFest this year. In addition to providing a much needed boost to the local businesses in the summer, Athfest is our chance to pat ourselves on the back for being a good little music town. So I thought I’d help us all out a bit by posting this handy guide to ATHFESTING AT HOME. (your mileage may vary)
First, purchase your “ticket” to Athfest 2020 by following this link and donating to AthFest Educates to keep community based arts and music in our schools.
Now it’s time to make your lanyard. Take a piece of paper about the size of an index card and decorate it. Really go wild. Glitter, puff paint, markers, etc. Just make sure it says ATHfest 2020 on it somewhere. Now find a shoestring from that pair of shoes you haven’t worn since March and gently push it through the paper, tie it off, and place the whole thing around your neck like a…um… necklace. For full effect, make sure to lose this in your yard on the second night of your AthFest celebration. Your roommate/spouse/small child/animal should not allow you back into the house after this.
A big part of Athfest is the Flagpole Awards Show. With the gang not nominating or awarding stuff this year, it’s up to you to make your own fun. Start with “found art” trophies. Toilet paper tubes work really well. Then figure out roughly what albums you listened to this year, what shows you saw, and rank them. Post them on your blog that twenty people read and weep a little while you write the rest of this post….
Being a proper resident of the drinking town with a music problem, you know how important it is to have that stale beer smell wafting from the beer tent during the entirety of your AthFest. Take the Creature Comforts and Pabst Blue Ribbon cans that you’ve been responsibly recycling this entire quarantine and shove them into a trash bag with holes in it. Now place that bag in the sunniest spot you can find and allow the aroma to fill your celebration space.
Speaking of the heat, you need some more of it to get that true “I’ve been at Caledonia’s Day Part for HOURS and now I’m dehydrated” feeling. Turn off every fan and air conditioning unit in and around your house. For maximum effectiveness, create an anti-breezeway, blocking any bit of hope you have for relief from coming your way. Remember, if you’re not soaking wet, you’re not partying hard enough. If you’re REALLY into this recreation, ask the folks at the very end of your street if you can set up a mist system there. Watch as other people enjoy the cool, cool water. Slam another Tropicalia then sweat it out.
Okay, we’ve got the atmosphere going pretty strong here but what about the music? That all depends on your tastes. If you’re the type that prefers the free main stage sort, I’d recommend making a playlist of family friendly tunes. Think of all the usual mainstage and headlining suspects like Kishi Bashi, the Whigs, Drivin’ n’ Cryin’, the latest Peter Buck related side project, etc. Now, if you prefer to not have to whip up your own soundtrack, that’s fine. Might I recommend scooting over to this youtube channel Athens, GA Live Music and pressing play? You’ll get the full audio/visual goodness of recent Athens. But if you’re like me and would prefer to just lay face down on the floor in the dark trying not to think about anything at all, I’d mosey on down to Sloan’s Southern Shelterand take advantage of the masterful collection of local mp3s there. Ideally, you’d be stocking up on local albums via Bandcamp on their special Fridays but I understand that’s not for everybody.
What IS for everybody is MERCH. What better way to remember your Athfest spent at a social distance than masks. I’m a big fan of both the Nuci’s Space version and Hendershot’s but I’d also recommend buying a shirt or two from your favorite local spot. Pretty much every music venue has one at this point and maybe grab something from a local band while you’re at it.
While we’re on a local buying spree, you CAN’T forget the food. Instead of hitting up one of your mainstays, think about scrolling down BullDawg Food’s app a little further and grabbing something from another part of town. You can’t stroll up and down the food truck portion of the street this year but if you walk around your apartment while using a delivery app, you can get some of that experience back.
Now, if you’re a musician, the best way to recreate your Athfest experience is to take your heaviest amp and carry it up and down the street you live on until you either collapse or people complain. If that isn’t doable, I recommend a hearty set of stairs. Repeat with the other portions of your gear. Bonus points if you have to swerve in between parked cars and trip over toys while doing so. Naturally, you should have the heat and beer smell going. Take all of your best t-shirts, fold them nicely, and sort by size. Then leave them in the worst lit place possible and hope someone buys one.
If you’re a presenter like yours truly, practice saying “ATHfest” at different volumes and with different inflections. Then go live on your Insta or Facebook and proceed to say “Assfest” because life is a cruel joke.
Repeat all of this for three days until Sunday night. By that point, a sudden lightning storm should’ve arrived and you’re kind of tired anyway. HAPPY ATHFESTING!