Attendees of the second day of the AthFest Music and Arts Festival were hit with a pop of blue hair and alternative beats to start off the day.
Avery Leigh’s Night Palace took the Southern Brewing Co. Mainstage at 12 p.m. led by lead singer Avery Leigh Draut. Draut’s dreamy, smooth vocals presented a family-friendly first act which brought a gradual crowd to the front.
“That’s a long name,” Draut said about the band’s name. “Do we regret it? Sometimes.”
Presented by District 6 Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Jerry NeSmith — unofficial announcer for most bands at the Hull Street Stage and the Southern Brewing Co. Mainstage — Draut and her band provided a mellow atmosphere for the festival’s first attendees. Beers started flowing as the music began playing, which helped.
They ended their set with Sixpence None The Richer’s hit song, “Kiss Me.”
Following the spacey, techno-centric beats was Sarah Zúñiga, who hit the Hull Street Mainstage’s first performance off with more of a rock-and-roll vibe, covering “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet. Another female vocalist, Zúñiga’s energetic vocals got the crowd clapping under a string of lights. She played a Latin song with Spanish lyrics, encouraging attendees to “shake your hips.”
“Come on, don’t be shy,” Zúñiga said. “I won’t make you come up and sing with me unless you want to.”
By mid-afternoon, the streets of downtown were filled with the smell of BBQ and the welcome sprays of a refreshing water mister on Hull Street. Attendees sprawled out in the shade, enjoying snacks and the music coming from all corners.
University of Georgia student Madison Werner soaked up the shade in the beer garden near the SBC Mainstage. A first time AthFest attendee and volunteer with Girls Rock Athens, Werner appreciated the mix of activities at the festival.
“They did a really good job of making it feel like a family event but also having options for college students,” Werner said.
Though not looking forward to any band or act in particular, Werner said she was looking forward to seeing “what Athens has to offer in terms of local music.”
While bongos and mixed vocals got people jamming during reggae band Natti Love Joys performance at the SBC Mainstage at 1 p.m., country fans got to enjoy the folksy sound of the fiddle and chromaharp during The Moonshine’s performance at Hull Street.
Rock group Don Chambers took the Mainstage around 2 p.m., providing an older group of festival attendees with what sounded like an angrier version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Many adults with headphone-clad children on their shoulders swayed to the darker tones.
PHOTOS: 23rd annual AthFest | Saturday
Despite the severe thunderstorm warnings in Athens-Clarke County, the second day of the 23rd annual AthFest Music and Arts Festival didn’t miss a beat in Athens, Georgia on June 22, 2019. Crowd favorites like The Orange Constant and AFTM took the Southern Brewing Co. Mainstage while Bar Crawl hosted bands in indoor venues. Even with a little rain, vendors and artists braved the weather and kept their tents open throughout the afternoon.
When country-inspired rock band Norma Rae started its set, so did a brief rain shower. But the Southern-rock tunes and hot asphalt mixed well. Lead singer Kelly Amanda Manning serenaded a crowd, barefoot and chewing gum while rocking out on her guitar.
Soon-to-be college student Caroline Rombach was more interested in the vendors and local artists then the bands playing on stage. A self-proclaimed artist herself, Rombach has attended AthFest for the past couple years.
“It’s just fun being around people that are like you doing the thing that you want to do, that have the same creative interests as you,” Rombach said.
Harvey Funkwalker rocked the Hull Street Stage for a jazz-rock set that induced a lot of head-bobbing and toe-tapping as attendees danced to the music. Band member Greg Surratt bowed to the crowd in response to a round of cheers and applause after finishing the last song of the show.
DK — also known as Dedric Knowles — and Seline Haze started off a lively and intense hip-hop show on the Mainstage that also featured Kxng Blanco, Tony B and Squalle. DK began the show by explaining the importance of including a hip-hop set in AthFest.
“I need you to know that you are not only doing this for you, at your present moment, but you are doing this for the future as well, so little kids can see people doing what they love and getting people to fill up their passion that look just like them,” DK said.
Each rapper brought a mix of intensity, lightheartedness and passion to the Mainstage as the crowd jumped along to the high-energy performers. The hip-hop show continued at the Hull Street Stage with KidArsenic, LB and The YOD.
An hour and a half later, The Orange Constant took to the Mainstage for the first headlining show of the night. The crowd tapped their feet and swayed to the rock ‘n’ roll show that featured reggae beats, funk-rock undertones and a healthy dose of guitar and keyboard solos.
Carrie Hutton, girlfriend of The Orange Constant bassist Tyler Walker, blew bubbles during the performance, adding to the fun atmosphere that the band provided.
“Everybody loves them, it unites people, great photos,” Hutton said.
Genre-bending jazz ensemble Misnomer brought hints of funk and R&B to the Hull Street Stage, closing out the night at AthFest’s more intimate outdoor venue.
The outdoor stage acts concluded with an enthusiastic headlining performance by rock ‘n’ roll group AFTM. An energetic crowd continuously voiced its approval of the Southern rock band, whose members smiled throughout the entirety of the concert.
DJRX closed the night with music mixing and his original video edits, leading the crowd in the popular game day chant of “Who’s That Coming Down The Track?” at the end of the show.