KidsFest Day 3

A child pokes their head out of an inflatable in the KidsFest area of the 23rd annual AthFest Music and Arts Festival on June 23, 2019, in downtown Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

The hot, muggy weather of Athens couldn’t compete with the cool events unfolding on the KidFest stage. Starring almost exclusively young talent, the all-ages portion of AthFest shined in terms of letting people of all ages enjoy great music and family-friendly entertainment.

Sunday’s events started off with Caveman Dave and followed up with the Barnett Shoals step team. Athens Gymnastics followed suit with daring feats of human agility and group cohesion, followed by the rocking tunes of Camp Amped. Throughout it all, families with children were able to dance and grove to wholesome content or watch young performers let their talents shine.

Michelle Davis, board member of AthFest Music and Arts Festival and chair of the governance committee, is from Athens, Georgia. She’s been going to Athfest for nearly four years - the age of her daughter - and has been on the AthFest Educates board for two years to see the festival’s positive changes.

Davis notes how KidsFest has also grown to include more young people into the line-up of performers, especially musical ones.

“It’s gone from being just kid-friendly music to incorporating young talent as well,” Davis said. “I like the mix.”

One such group was Camp Amped, a Nuçi’s Space-led youth program proving a summer day camp and after-school camp for middle and high school students. The first Camp Amped band to go on stage was Shallow Water Blackout singing covers of AC/DC and the Rolling Stones. After Shallow Water Blackout came Star Crawl, which had a more mellow, indie vibe that could also pack a punch.

“I’ve been really impressed with the kids from [the] Camp Amped program,” Davis said. “I think it’s music that kids enjoy dancing to, but it’s also inspiring for them to pick up a guitar and think, ‘I could do that in a few years.’”