Athfest 2022 In Review

Y’all, I am wiped out. I mean, I’m completely exhausted during the week even when it’s not Athfest but I am especially tired today. ATHFEST IS BACK! IT WAS HOT! BANDS WERE GREAT!

I took a vastly different approach to Athfest this year and just enjoyed what I could without trying to document everything. If I’m honest, I feel pretty useless in that department these days. I’m not good at Insta, I have a much older camera on my phone, and with folks like Gregory Fredrick out there recording on pro gear, what good would my little grainy potato pics do? It’s a little frustrating but it is what it is.

Anyway, it’s been too long since we melted together downtown in the humid sunlight. I didn’t get to catch most of Friday’s acts (day job ran late and I was a bit late getting downtown) but I did get to see everyone at the 40 Watt for Night One. Boy, talk about nostalgia. I enjoyed local memelord Phillip’s Palace Doctor. A little twangy and a little spicy, it was a good kickoff for the night.

The next Skirts spin off act was Night Palace. They were great but definitely not my thing personally. Very She and Him, gentle listening. I should probably mention that I was masked this entire time, huddled in the very back of the room. I’m still not great around crowds these days and my anxiety plus the heat wasn’t exactly helping the situation. But NP is a solid group and I can see them getting around. So look ’em up when you get the chance.

Of course, I was truly there for the Modern Skirts. You can troll through the nearly 15 years of this here blog for my earlier thoughts on the band. They weren’t road ready and polished but I found myself appreciating that looseness they had on Friday. Here’s a group of dudes we all know and love, playing some tunes those of us in our thirties know and love. It’s the new wave of townie nostalgia and I’m just giving myself over to it. All of them can still play and sing, of course, but I’m happy to see Swint and Brantley kicking into a new gear post Skirts. You can tell they’ve been playing around a lot since “the old days.”

I ran into some freshman year pals of mine at the show, along with someone I’ve known since childhood, and a few former coworkers. It was a bit surreal, if I’m being honest, and I felt…exposed? Oddly out of place? I know that’s probably pandemic brain talking but the heaviness of the last few years came crashing down on me pretty hard Saturday morning as I slunk back into bed.

I caught a few outdoor acts on Saturday afternoon: Cam and His Dam Jam Band was a highlight mostly because I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before. So that was neat. Of course I wasn’t going to miss Vincas because VINCAS. I will always melt for Vincas and Shehehe. After that, I wandered around a bit, checking out the various artists in the marketplace. I have such an appreciation for what they were selling in their stalls, especially since they’ve been scrambling to replace sales two years running now. I grabbed a cat with a guitar and a neat whale for our house.

I didn’t get to catch the Woggles or Current Rage but I did see portions of Maserati and I need them to come back through more often. PLEASE. I hate that Pylon Reenactment Society had to back out at the last minute but this is the world we live in.

Speaking of the world we now live in, I felt the loss of the Caledonia all over again this weekend. The Dirty Day fest that would be happening during Athfest was always a treat. I knew that if I wasn’t currently digging anything on the main stages, I could always hop over to the glorified parking lot and chat with Gordon or get my ears blasted out. I was happy to see a lot of the metal bands migrate over to Cine for the evening, as well as JokerJokerTv’s Assfest taking flight. The Gospel Brunch at Hendershots was a nice “official” event that I hope continues next year. And of course it was great to finally see so many hip-hop acts in the actual spotlight this year. More on the main stage in 2023 please!

And of course we can’t leave out the announcement of the newest members of the Athens Music Walk of Fame: Bloodkin, Tituss Burgess, The Glands, Ishues, and Love Tractor. I’ll talk more about them later on.

Overall, it was great to see the event back in action after an unfortunate hiatus. I hope next year will be even better. I also hope I’m in a better medical shape to handle all the shows next year. And maybe have a better phone. We’ll see. Thanks everyone for coming out, playing, recording, and enjoying the ‘fest.

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