Children, it is officially festival season in the United States of America. Has your fast-fashion chain store emailed you about your Coachella wardrobe plans lately? Are the Eagles Nest hammocks at your nearest outdoor retailer completely sold out? While Savannah gets our fest fix early in the season, the rest of the U.S. is dropping its hourly wages on fanny packs (re-branded “festival belt bag,” I see right through you) and ClifBars, pinching pennies for gas money for early summer events.
But maybe you don’t wanna trek a few states away to swelter and sway. Maybe a friend’s couch or a hotel bed is more appealing than a tent and your Scouts sleeping bag. Maybe you don’t wanna navigate through a selfie line and sea of appropriated Native American headdresses–maybe you want a celebration that’s not too big, not too small; not too hot, not too cold. Lucky for us Georgians, a fest that’s sure to suit your needs is back for its second year: Shaky Knees.
I love Georgia’s little festivals: Savannah Stopover, Athfest and Athens Popfest (R.I.P.) are/were easy trips to make to see some great talent cheaply. The cozy community of these Southern fests are a fantastic alternative to those that turn their host towns into the most populated in the state for that weekend only as mud-and-glowstick-goo-slathered kids get carried to the chill-out tent.
Before Shaky Knees debuted in 2013, Georgia needed a mid-sized indie festival—a fest that didn’t feel like Woodstock ’99 could happen at any minute, but could draw in some hard-hitting headliners. And I don’t mean Skrillex—I’m talking about the gosh-darn Replacements, the Violent Femmes--deeply influential bands, long cherished by fans who span generations.
While this will be my first year at Shaky Knees, but my ears burned with envy for my friends in attendance last year–Shovels & Rope, Murder By Death, Drive-By Truckers?! Yum, yum, yum. This year, there’s still a strong focus on bands with a little twang here, a little swamp-water soul there, but with big names like the aforementioned Replacements, Violent Femmes, Alabama Shakes, Conor Oberst, The Hold Steady, The National, and more, PR gurus Team Clermont’s letting the world know loud & proud that Shaky Knees is here to stay. The diverse-yet-niche lineup is custom-tailored for folks like me who grew up in the South, proudly still reside here, and fell in love with late-nineties/early-2000s Indie 101 staples like Rilo Kiley and Modest Mouse in our formative years.
There’s been debate as to what the festival experience will be like at this year’s venue, Atlantic Station (an expansive outdoor mall-village). Yeah, it’s gonna be weird to have the Banana Republic logo in my peripheral vision while Isaac Brock is howling “someday you will die somehow and something’s gonna steal your carbon,” but it’s certainly conveniently located. After last year’s infamous rain and mud, Atlantic Station might not require the purchase of galoshes–though if you gotta, I guess you might as well invest in a nice pair at the J. Crew around the corner. Currently, it’s looking like a 30-40% chance of thunderstorms for the weekend–but here’s hoping it holds out so the crowd can clap and everything can just be right during “Blister in the Sun.”
Plus, shows aren’t limited to the great outdoors: fest evenings hold Late Night Shows hosted by Atlanta scene staple venues The Masquerade, The Earl, Center Stage, and Terminal West. Admission for late night shows is not included in a festival pass, but from the looks of it, it’s going to be well worth the few extra bucks. (The infectiously catchy licks of Tokyo Police Club with Savannah faves and Atlanta natives Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun in The Masquerade’s Hell level is going to be absolutely wild. I can’t recommend this show enough.)
Rain or not, I don’t care. It’s been awhile since a festival lineup announcement made my jaw hit the floor–The Shaky Knees crew has truly outdone themselves this year.
As a bonus, 912 residents will recognize many names from previous Savannah Stopover years–I’m excited to see Kopecky Family Band & Roadkill Ghost Choir again. And if you can’t make it to Atlanta this weekend, our friends at Savannah Stopover are bringing some of Shaky Knees’s finest stars to the Hostess City this week:
When I’m not catching Stopover alums or new-to-me bands, I’m going to be dancing like a fool and probably tearing up a little bit (read: a lot) while hearing so many of my gotta-see-’em-before-I-die bands live for the first time in one weekend. The Replacements! Modest Mouse! The Hold Steady! Violent Femmes! It’s almost too much–but, as the wise Mae West once said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
Petee and I will be following up with previews of our most highly anticipated Shaky Knees bands before we pack our cameras and notepads for Atlantic Station. Join us! There are still tickets available–with 3-day passes at $169 for the lineup below, it’s time to get that work shift covered and join the caravan up I-16 for Georgia’s music event of the summer!
Shaky Knees Fest 2014 lineup:
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
The Gaslight Anthem
Cage the Elephant
Portugal. The Man
Iron and Wine
Trampled by Turtles
Cold War Kids
The Airborne Toxic Event
The Lone Bellow
The Hold Steady
Band of Skulls
Tokyo Police Club
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
Langhorne Slim & The Law
Gregory Alan Isakov
Kopecky Family Band
The Bright Light Social Hour
Blood Red Shoes
Packway Handle Band
Fly Golden Eagle