Sometimes, the “music” part of a “music festival” seems to get lost… there are big music festivals around the country that for sure are a good time, but sometimes they seem to be more about who can party the hardest or who can take the trendiest selfies.
Shaky Knees, however, puts most of its focus on the music. If you’ve never been to the Atlanta festival, this year is a good year to start. Featuring headliners such as David Byrne, Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, The National and Tenacious D, this is a rock fan’s festival. With more than 65 bands and musicians playing the stages throughout the three days, you might notice that the smaller, lesser-known acts were likely influenced by at least one of the bigger acts on the same bill. It’s that way on purpose, says the festival’s creator and director Tim Sweetwood.
“I take the time to curate it, and you’ll find those bands all the way down to the bottom that are influenced by some of the bands at the top … you’ll probably see (them) years from now down the line being of that bigger nature, so it’s a chance for musical discovery within the rock genre.”
People are so into the music there, he says, you might just find someone shushing ya if you’re being too loud during a quieter set.
And the festival is all about that one, overarching genre.
“It really is rock. If you’ve got a six-string instrument in your band, then Shaky Knees is the spot for you,” Sweetwood said. “I mean, there’s pop in there; there’s some electronic-leaning ones, but pretty much what they all have in common is, they’re live bands set-ups. So there’s rock and pop, and there’s even a little bit of metal and there’s some punk and stuff like that, but they’re all subgenres of rock.”
Something else you need to know is: There’s no official parking at the festival. But not to worry! You can take the MARTA all the way to the festival, to the Civic Center stop and the North Avenue stop. (Find out more about riding MARTA here: martaguide.com/how-to-ride-marta-trains.)
But if the idea of getting on MARTA turns you off (yeah, we too have seen at least one MARTA fight video uploaded to YouTube), the festival has designated rideshare drop-off spots. Uber is probably your best option, especially if you’re taking it all the way from wherever you’re sleeping after the festival is over for the night — that way, if you had a little too much to drink while taking in the shows from the crowd, you can safely get to your destination. If you’re planning on being able to drive afterward, you might get lucky and find parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.
With about 20,000 people at the festival each day, it’s good that it’s a little spread out. The festival takes place at Central Park, as well as Renaissance Park and a portion of the Civic Center Station parking lot.
Getting to the festival from Augusta is super easy. You’ll basically drive down I-20 almost all the way there. About six turns later, you’ll be at Central Park. But again, if you don’t like hunting for a parking spot, your best bet will either be public transportation or a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. So you’ll probably want to go to wherever you’re staying the night first, then head to the festival!
Besides the loads of music happening on the four stages, there will be loads of food trucks, for all different tastes including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. You’ll want to leave your oversized bags at home — bags will be restricted to small purses and drawstring bags, and they can’t exceed 14” x 11” x 5” — bags with multiple pockets are not allowed.
And also leave the selfie sticks at home — nope, they’re not allowed, and you’re there for the music anyway, right? Check shakykneesfestival.com/information to see what else is or isn’t allowed.
Oh, and want to get in the festival for free? All you’ve got to do is get a tattoo of the festival’s logo. Seriously. Check out #ShakyTats on Instagram for inspiration.
Shaky Knees’ sister festival, Shaky Beats, happens the following weekend — it’s all about bringing in good electronic/hip-hop acts. It’ll be from May 11 to May 13 and features artists like Ludacris, Marshmello, Zedd, Kygo and more. Visit shakybeatsfestival.com.
Central Park in Atlanta
All day May 4, 5 and 6
$189, 3-day pass; $99, 1-day pass