Atlanta Music Festival delivers golden lineup

Mac DeMarco performance at Atlanta’s Shaky Knee’s festival blew the audience away.

Thousands of music lovers gathered in Atlanta’s Central Park to experience three unforgettable days at the third annual Shaky Knees Music Festival. This year’s lineup included a wide variety of bands that ranged from folk, electronic and heavy rock. Many native bands made an appearance at Shaky Knees 2k15, including Mastadon, The Black Lips and Neutral Milk Hotel. The lineup was golden and so jam-packed full of great artists that it was difficult to choose which ones to see.

Due to the lack of greenspace within Midtown, Shaky Knees does not have camping facilities. One might think that this takes away from the overall festival experience, but in actuality it added to the musicality of the overall experience. There was much less focus on the fashion and living up to the festival lifestyle.

Previously, the festival has been located at Masquerade Park and Atlantic Station, but Central Park was easily navigable and provided a generous amount of trees and shade in between sets. The location also allowed for a larger number of guests and another stage that increased the lineup. Multiple King of Pop carts and a water station offered guests ample refreshment along with a variety of food truck options.

Music festival junkies were in for a crowd-pleasing first day. Particularly entertaining was Mac DeMarco’s set. Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, DeMarco’s group produces a psychedelic/rockabilly jangle pop sound, and their look certainly reflects their style of music. DeMarco entered the stage wearing camo coveralls, while sipping a can of Miller Lite. Although the crowd was large, DeMarco’s commentary throughout his set gave it an intimate and humorous feel.  At one point in the show, his guitar string snapped and his band mate performed a charming rendition of Coldplay’s “Yellow.”

Although it was a very tough decision, many flocked to James Blake’s set in lieu of The Pixies. Blake’s electronic set provided the perfect environment as the festival transitioned from day to night. The tent that covered the stage suddenly became a dance party as Blake began to play his top hit, “Retrograde.”

By Friday night, the crowd was more than ready to see the highly anticipated headliner, The Strokes. As Julian Casablanca made his way onto the stage, the crowd went wild. Since their last tour in 2001, The Strokes have only made a handful of appearances.

Saturday’s schedule had great bands back to back to back. Atlanta native, The Black Lips, and Athens native, Neutral Milk Hotel both performed that afternoon. Sporting a Braves inspired backdrop, The Black Lips provoked a sense of Atlanta pride within the audience.

By Sunday, the ever enthusiastic crowds had not diminished. In a stand-out act, Best Coast, with front woman Bethany Cosentino, provided a groovy, surf inspired set to get the evening started. They played a gracious amount of songs from their most recent album, California Nights.  

Australian artist, Xavier Rudd put on a set that truly adhered to the festival spirit. His band is made of up many talented members from all parts of the globe. Together they produce a culturally rich sound. Festival goers enjoyed dancing and hooping to the beats produced by Rudd’s didgeridoo.

Tame Impala closed out the festival on Sunday night with a psychedelic bang. In contrast to the over all folk rock feel of the festival, Tame Impala’s set blasted the audience with both light and sound.

Well organized and highly entertaining, the festival provided everlasting memories and devoted followers who are already anticipating next year’s event.