After a lively opening night on Friday, music lovers were ready to head back to the lawn of Southern Brewing Company for the longest day of the September Days Festival.
Nine bands took the stage on the second of the three-day event. The day began with fan favorite Lighthearted and ended with Monsoon, an indie rock band who built their way up from underground stages to headlining performances.
Taking the place of the canceled AthFest Music & Arts Festival, the September Days Festival hosted fewer bands, but provided a greater sense of community as audience members mingled on picnic blankets or over beer.
“There weren’t as many families here yesterday. It seems a little bit more family-oriented because it's a Saturday,” said Troy Aubrey of Aubrey Entertainment, organizer of the event.
Aubrey acted quickly once AthFest was canceled — he didn’t want to lose a chance for the Athens music scene to express itself. The logistics for the September Days Festival was set up in a matter of two weeks.
The newly-planned festival, while on a smaller scale than AthFest, brought in a wide range of bands and vendors. Sweets by Jess sold homemade macarons and pastries and artist Sophie Goode sold handmade pottery.
“I think this is honestly a better environment than playing in downtown Athens,” said Blake Kole, drummer of Well Kept, an emo-alternative band that played third in Saturday’s lineup. “You're not in the street — you're going to feel the people. There’s beer, cornhole and whatnot.”
The day began calmly around 2 p.m., with attendees scattered around the lawn. Grand Vapids, a slow pop band open about struggles with mental health in their lyrics, performed.
The pace picked up by the time Well Kept rounded out their performance with the song “Settling.” Audience and band members alike began crowding the front of the stage area.
The fourth band to play was CLOUDLAND, a rock band coming off of the release of their new album “Where We Meet.” For festival attendee and musician Kai Owens, this was a performance he was looking forward to.
“I always just enjoy hearing the new bands,” Owens said. “Being new to Athens, it's cool to see what's out there and start to meet some new people.”
Later acts included Five Eight, a long-standing and lively rock band and Wieuca, an indie rock band pulling from 90’s subgenres.
After a 20-year hiatus, Hazel Virtue performed for one of the first times since the release of their reuniting album, “Full Circle.” The performance came after Wanderwild, an independent rock band.
The September Days Festival continues through Sunday. On its final day, seven bands will take the stage. Doors will open at 2 p.m. with tickets available for purchase at $15 in advance or $20 at the door.