Solo artists, bands, art stands and food vendors were highlighted during the 23rd annual AthFest Music and Arts Festival from June 21-23. An estimated 30,000 people attended the summer festival, and a combined 171 solo acts and bands took the stage.

Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz was in attendance and said the festival went well despite the heat and occasional showers.   

“I heard wonderful responses from attendees, artists, vendors and AthFest staff,” Girtz said. “With years of experience, the formula is working.”

Good tunes, good times

Musicians across different genres performed in a mix of hot and rainy weather throughout the three-day festival. 

Walden, a rock band from Athens, headlined day one of AthFest at the Southern Brewing Co. Mainstage, while local Southern rock band AFTM and DJRX, a DJ and licensed pharmacist, were the final acts on day two. Day three was headlined by 1980s Athens band Dreams So Real at the Mainstage. 

Local hip-hop artist Linqua Franqa, also known as ACC District 2 Commissioner Mariah Parker, played a set on Friday at the Georgia Theatre, while funk-rock band The Orange Constant performed Saturday at the Mainstage. 

Sunday also featured acts like indie rock group Daisy playing the Hull Street Stage after a rain delay and Atlanta-based 1980s power pop quartet The Producers playing at the Mainstage. 

KidsFest showcased young performers, including high school bands, step teams and solo acts that performed family-friendly songs. 

Musicians weren’t the only artists at AthFest — local and out-of-state artists peddled their wares, such as paintings, jewelry, clothes, pottery and candles.

Food favorites

Festival-goers were presented with a variety of street food vendors in addition to the brick-and-mortar restaurants that dot downtown. From burgers to Filipino food to French crepes, the food options at AthFest had some individuals calling the festival “AthFeast.”

For the third year, Manila Express, a Filipino food truck, and Holy Crepe, a French cuisine food truck, served AthFest-goers with international meals. La Michoacana Es Natural, a homemade ice cream and popsicle stand, made its second appearance at AthFest, while Saucehouse Barbeque made its first. 

When asked how he would describe AthFest, Holy Crepe vendor Paul Versteeg didn’t hesitate to answer.

“Inclusive,” Versteeg said. “Different cultures and different religions. Everybody coming together and having fun.”

Giving back 

Girtz, accompanied by Commissioner Tim Denson and Commissioner Melissa Link, thanked AthFest Educates on day two for providing opportunities to Athens kids to learn about music and arts. Other commissioners, such as Jerry NeSmith and Patrick Davenport, made appearances at various shows or introduced artists onto the stages.

Proceeds from the festival go to AthFest Educates, a non-profit organization that gives grants for music and arts education for Athens-Clarke County youth. AthFest, along with the AthHalf Half Marathon in October, fund the organization.  

According to Rachel allen, media representative for AthFest Educates, around 1000 wristband and about 400 T-shirts were sold. 

In total, AthFest Educates has awarded over $370,000 to support music and arts education. 

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