Since 1997, AthFest has taken over the downtown area, filling with acts that come from all over to perform in the one-weekend music festival each summer. With iconic acts like R.E.M. and the B-52’s coming out of Athens, the Classic City’s music scene has never been lacking in blooming performers. This year at the festival there will be many hometown acts performing, so we compiled a list of six local groups you may want to add to your list to catch this weekend.
This nine-member group, formerly known as Mister Tie Dye, creates a funk and jazz fusion with its instrumental sound and has been on the map since its EP debut in 2017. The group has gone on to perform with many Athens favorites like Linqua Franqa, earning the title Flagpole Artist of the Year in 2018. The band’s improvisational set provides festival-goers with a powerful genre-bending and toe-tapping performance. With everything from bass trombones to tenor saxophones, this group provides the perfect jazz-filled set for any festival. The band will be performing on the Hull Street Stage on Saturday, June 22 at 8:30 p.m.
Rapper Kxng Blanco has been active in the Athens hip-hop community for a little while now. He won the 2018 Athens Hip Hop award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and has been hailed by the community as “King of the Youth.” Blanco is known for a fast-paced, lively performance along with a powerful stage presence. The rapper’s personal experiences fuel the lyrics in his songs, with powerful messages on national topics like police brutality. Blanco’s set for the AthFest weekend starts at 5 p.m. on the Southern Brewing Co. Mainstage on Saturday, June 22.
The Athens-based four-piece band has created quite a name for itself by performing at Shaky Knees Music Festival this past May as well as making rounds at Bonnaroo two years in a row. The group’s sound produces catchy melodies and infectious hooks, and it encourages crowd involvement throughout its set. The rock-pop band has a following of over 16,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, showing quite a following since its debut album EP “Painting Planets” in 2015. To catch the band’s live performance, head to the Southern Brewing Co. Mainstage on Friday, June 21 at 9:15 p.m.
This act’s sound is best described as an indie-rock with southern roots, with an occasional dip into other genres. This group has had a lot to celebrate over the past year with the release of its first studio album, “Around For The Moment,” earlier this year. After selling out the Georgia Theatre multiple times, see what all the buzz is about when the genre-bending group takes the AthFest stage. AFTM will perform on the Southern Brewing Co. Mainstage on Saturday, June 22 at 9 p.m.
Zúñiga performs with feeling in each song, as she wrote them to have a special and deep connection into her personal life. With sweet vocals and smooth runs, Zúñiga provides a slower, more acoustic-based performance with meaningful vocals discussing topics ranging from struggling with anxiety to learning to accept yourself. Zúñiga will perform at the Hull Street Stage on Saturday, June 22 at 12:30 p.m.
Dreams So Real
This power pop group emerged from the Athens music scene at one of the heights of its spotlights in the ’80s. Having headlined with groups like Hootie and the Blowfish, Dreams So Real will close out this year’s AthFest. This performance will be the first live appearance of the group since 2012. Festival-goers can sing along to the band’s hit song, “Rough Night in Jericho,” as crowds hope for a good night in Athens during its performance at the Southern Brewing Co. Mainstage on Sunday, June 23 at 7:15 p.m.