Vans Warped Tour
When: July 31, 11 a.m.
Where: Lakewood Amphitheatre
Details: The annual punk and alt-rock festival stops in Atlanta this weekend as part of its final full cross-country tour. Bands such as Simple Plan, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Tonight Alive, electronic duo 3OH!3, The Voice winner and former Hey Monday vocalist Cassadee Pope, and pop-punk favorites Waterparks and Mayday Parade are among the lineup.
Wild World Weekend When: July 28 and 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Zoo Atlanta
Cost: Free with general admission
Details: You’re probably used to learning about biodiversity at Zoo Atlanta, but this weekend, you can celebrate your fellow humans at this cultural heritage festival. Rain or shine, you can watch (and learn!) traditional dances, listen to international music and stories, or get crafty for a more hands-on approach to discovering international cultures, right alongside the animals from each region represented.
8th Atlanta Ice Cream Festival
When: July 28, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Piedmont Park
Details: It’s all about balance at the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival; the event may be centered around America’s favorite dessert, but the activities focus on health and wellness, too. Come to conquer the Ice Cream Eating Competition, but stay for the Fight Cancer Walk, Zumba, yoga, tai chi, line dancing, and much more for kids and adults alike. You can even take a free health screening, donate blood, and get help building an exercise routine.
Sublime Doughnuts & Beer Pairing When: July 29, 1-8 p.m.
Where: Second Self Brewery
Details: A ticket to this event gets you four beers from the Westside’s Second Self Beer Company and four mini donuts from Sublime. Try pairing the brewery’s special new A-Town Cream Ale with Sublime’s namesake pastry, or just enjoy sampling some of the city’s coolest creations.
When: July 29, 4-7 p.m.
Cost: $60-100 (free for kids 12 and under)
Details: Looking for something healthier than ice cream, doughnuts, and beer? Head over to PeachFest to sample treats and drinks made from the Georgia-grown fruit. Sixty-five Peach State chefs, brewers, farmers, and distillers will fix you up a feast of peach-ified crudos, sausages, chutneys, brews, pizzas, barbecue, and much more. Plus, it’s all in the name of charity: proceeds go to Piggy Bank, a nonprofit that helps launch, support, and grow sustainable family farms.
At the end of the Georgia primary election on May 22, gubernatorial candidates Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp had earned 38.95 percent and 25.52 percent of the Republican vote respectively, pushing opponents Clay Tippins, Hunter Hill, and Michael Williams out of the running. But because neither won more than 50 percent of the vote needed to win the candidacy outright, they advanced to the July 24 runoff to determine who will face Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams in November.
The runoff vote could be a tough choice for many Republicans since these candidates have so much in common: both are Christian businessmen who attended public high schools and universities in Georgia, and they’ve been involved in politics for around 15 years each. Further, both claim to be unwavering in their pro-life beliefs and fancy themselves staunch defenders of the Second Amendment. They have both vocally praised President Donald Trump on social media and in speeches during their campaigns. (Although neither endorsed him in the 2016 primary, they did both support him in the general election).
If elected, both candidates pledge to advocate for rural communities and have both been singing from the conservative hymnbook used throughout the years: they’ll support small businesses, improve statewide infrastructure (mainly roads), protect the state’s already lax gun laws, curb illegal immigration, and cut taxes.
So how to choose if, after the barrage of negative ads, accusations, and endorsements, you’re still an undecided GOP voter? (Note: Only voters who cast a Republican ballot in the May primary or who did not vote in the May primary can cast a Republican ballot on July 24.) The two differ slightly in a few key areas: Medicaid expansion; transportation, and their campaign personas.
Meet Casey Cagle
Raised by a single mother, the 52-year-old lieutenant governor grew up in Gainesville and attended Georgia Southern University on a football scholarship. After a leg injury ended his football career at age 20, he left college in 1986 to return home to Gainesville where he purchased a tuxedo rental store. He later opened several more locations in North Georgia. In 1999, he founded Southern Heritage Bank and served as chair until it merged with Gainesville Bank & Trust in 2004.
Cagle ran for the Georgia Senate in the 49th District in 1994 and won against incumbent Democrat Jane Hemmer, becoming the youngest member of the State Senate at age 28. He was re-elected five times and became the first Republican lieutenant governor of Georgia in 2006, a position he’s since been re-elected to twice. He had planned to run for governor in the 2010 race, but dropped out early, citing a battle with a degenerative spinal condition. He launched his current gubernatorial campaign in April 2017.
The Gainesville Republican has long been viewed as a business-friendly establishment conservative who was next-in-line (or, at least, well ahead of everyone else) for the governor’s office. But in February, Cagle surprised the business community when he controversially threatened to “kill any tax legislation that benefits [Delta Air Lines],” one of Georgia’s top employers, after the airline ended discounts for National Rifle Association members following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He made the threat while a bill containing a major sales tax exemption for jet fuel was up for consideration in the General Assembly; the Senate removed the jet fuel clause and passed the bill. The NRA, with whom Cagle has an A+ rating, has endorsed him in the gubernatorial race.
Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized Cagle during this campaign in light of several incriminating audio recordings leaked by Clay Tippins, his rival in the GOP primary, and later Brian Kemp. Kemp released one tape earlier this month in which Cagle said, “This primary felt like it was who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.”
Cagle advocates for healthcare reform and said he would not oppose using federal funds to expand Medicaid, a federal program that provides free or low-cost health insurance to people with low income or who live with certain disabilities and health conditions, in Georgia as long as the state designed its program to require able-bodied recipients to work (which the Trump administration formally encouraged in January). On his campaign website, Cagle is quoted as saying the employment requirement could be fulfilled by “working, volunteering, or mastering skills for an in-demand career by enrolling in a job-training course.”
On education, he says teachers and students are burdened with too many tests, favors charter schools, and support school choice. Earlier this year, Cagle supported House Bill 217, which nearly doubled the tax-credit cap on nonprofit organizations that fund scholarships for students to attend private schools. But Kemp claims Cagle only did so for political reasons; in June, Kemp leaked another snippet of Tippins’s recorded conversation with Cagle in which the lieutenant governor says that the legislation was bad in “a thousand different ways.” On the tape, Cagle said he supported it just to prevent Hunter Hill, a gubernatorial rival, from receiving a multimillion-dollar infusion of campaign cash from a foundation known for supporting charter school programs. In a statement response to the tape, Cagle told WSB-TV that he “openly and honestly” answered Tippins’s questions that he’s a “longtime and consistent supporter of conservative reforms that expand school choice.” He said HB 217 “wasn’t perfect” and that neither side got exactly what they wanted, and closed, “As governor, I’ll advocate for and sign legislation that expands education options and opportunity.” Cagle also wants to expand Georgia’s College and Career Academy Network, a program he helped launch that allows high school students to graduate with an associate’s degree or industry certification, and focus on third-grade reading.
Term-limited Governor Nathan Deal endorsed Cagle as his successor on June 16, saying the challenge of the next governor will be “to not go backwards, but to go forward. And for that reason, I believe Casey Cagle will be the best candidate.”
Meet Brian Kemp
Kemp, 53, grew up in Athens and attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science in agriculture. Appointed as Georgia secretary of state in 2010 and elected to the position later that year, he previously served in the Georgia Senate from 2003 until 2007. He owns Kemp Properties, an Athens-based real estate agency, and other companies in agribusiness and financial services and investment.
Kemp has chosen to cast himself this election cycle as the “politically incorrect conservative”—a tactic that appears to be working if recent polls showing him leading Cagle are accurate. Kemp caught national attention for a controversial advertisement that depicts him jokingly threatening a young man who is interested in dating one of his daughters. Kemp points a shotgun at the teenager and asks him to recite the largest planks of his platform and two qualities he must have to date Kemp’s daughter—”respect and a healthy appreciation for the Second Amendment.” Critics called the ad insensitive, especially in the wake of school shootings and gun violence across the country. But Kemp’s supporters and social media followers found his vocal defiance of political correctness refreshing. Like Cagle, Kemp has an A+ rating from the NRA.
More recently, some Cagle supporters—led by Republican state Senator Renee Unterman of Buford—called for criminal investigations into donations Kemp received from business leaders in industries that he regulates as Georgia secretary of state. Unterman also alleged a “quid pro quo scenario” after Kemp attended a fundraiser hosted by the then owner of two Massage Envy locations that employed therapists accused of sexual harassment. Kemp’s campaign maintained that he had not violated any campaign finance laws by accepting the donations or attending the fundraiser.
On education, Kemp aligns with Cagle on his views on standardized testing, charter schools, and school choice. Kemp supports increasing the tax-credit cap on nonprofit organizations that fund scholarships for students to attend private schools; his New Day in Rural Georgia plan includes support for doubling these scholarships and promoting charter schools in rural areas with underperforming public schools. He has also been vocal with plans to end Common Core, a federal math and reading standard used by 40 other states that critics such as influential teachers’ union the National Education Association argue limits students and hamstrings teachers. Kemp has also promised to appoint councils of parents and teachers for “immediate” review of current education standards including Common Core, launch a test-run of Educational Saving Account initiatives among military families, reduce standardized testing, and more.
Though transportation is among Kemp’s priorities, he is skeptical as to whether the state should provide the stepped-up funding it only recently started giving to transit systems to operate buses and boost MARTA stations. He’s argued that cash for transit is best generated on the local level.
Kemp has been endorsed by Hunter Hill and Michael Williams, two former opponents who did not advance from the Republican primaries. Like Cagle, he also enjoys support from a sizable number of state and U.S. representatives and Second Amendment group GeorgiaCarry. Most notably, President Trump endorsed Kemp on July 17 in a tweet that praised him for being “tough on crime, strong on the border and illegal immigration.” The president also wrote that Kemp “loves our Military and our Vets and protects our Second Amendment.”
Atlanta Field Day When: July 14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park
Cost: $55 per person
Details: The best day ever from elementary school but with a twist—now adults can enjoy the tug-of-war, relay races, obstacle courses, and other games on co-ed teams of 8. The team with the most points at the end of the day is crowned King of the Field. The event is also giving out accolades including the Team Spirit Award and the Fundraising Champion for the team that raises the most money for the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer.
Atlanta Comic Con When: July 13-15
Where: Georgia World Congress Center
Cost: $30-60 (free for kids under 12)
Details: This celebration of nerd culture returns to Atlanta this weekend with favorite actors, artists, and other creators behind popular movies, television, comics, video games, and anime. Celebrity guests will include Sean Astin (Lord of theRings), Nichelle Nichols (StarTrek), Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter), Carey Elwes (The Princess Bride), Ray Park (Star Wars), Lea Thompson (Back to the Future), Jeremy Shada (AdventureTime), Billy West (Futurama), and plenty more for fans of all ages.
The Atlanta Waiters’ Race
When: July 15, 3-7 p.m.
Where: The Shops Buckhead Atlanta
Cost: $25 to run, free to attend
Details: Ever been impressed by your waiters’ ability to balance a loaded tray without spilling everything on the floor? The Waiters’ Race celebrates—and tests—this special skill to see how well waiters can carry a full tray through the streets of Atlanta. The event will start with a block party featuring kids’ and adults’ activities, live music, food samples, and more. All proceeds will support The Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit providing financial assistance and other resources to restaurant workers in need.
Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival
When: July 15, 1-5 p.m.
Where: Westside Provisions District
Details: It’s the 10-year anniversary of chef Ford Fry’s Georgia Organics fundraiser, inspired by a spoof horror film from the ’70s. The festival brings dozens of chefs and mixologists from all across the Southeast to compete to see who can create the best tomato-based treats and cocktails. Enjoy time sampling dishes, playing themed games, and hearing live music from G. Love & Special Sauce.
AgLanta Eats When: July 16, 5-8 p.m.
Where: Atlanta Botanical Garden
Details: If you want to support local farmers this weekend but you’re just not into tomatoes, you can head over to the Botanical Garden for this hyper-local food festival. Attendees can sample food prepared by local chefs, enjoy live music, and learn all about local, sustainable agriculture. Previously known as Taste of AgLanta, the event serves as a fundraiser for the AgLanta Grows-A-Lot program, an initiative that flips vacant city-owned spaces into land for urban farmers and community gardeners.
Business Insiderranked Atlanta the fourth-best city to celebrate the Fourth. Let us take you through 16 reasons why we’re actually No. 1.
Party with the whole metro area Coca-Cola July 4th Fest
When: June 30 – July 4
Where: Six Flags Over Georgia
Details: It’s everything you love about the park and then some. Enjoy nightly all-you-can-eat buffets and fireworks shows, plus early access to the rides if you bring a can of Coca-Cola to the gate.
Fantastic Fourth Celebration at Stone Mountain Park
When: July 1-7 Where: Stone Mountain Park Cost: Included with an All-Attractions Pass ($31.95 adult, $29.95 child) Details: You might know about the classic Stone Mountain Lasershow Spectacular and the fireworks that follow it every year, but did you know that the Fantastic Fourth Celebration lasts for seven full days? From 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day in the first week of July, you can participate in all the attractions the park is known for, catch the High-Flying Dog Show, and get excited for the 9:30 Lasershow—complete with new music, water effects, a laser canopy, and even lighted drones.
AJC Peachtree Road Race
When: July 4, first race at 6:50 a.m. Where: Starts in Buckhead near Lenox Square Mall and ends in Piedmont Park Cost: Free Details: Join 150,000 others to watch the 49th annual running the largest 10k in the world! Different events include the Kilometer Kids Charity Race, Peachtree Cup, Atlanta Track Club Triple Peach Race Series, the wheelchair division, and Peachtree Junior. When it’s all said and done, grab some lunch downtown and hang out for a while before some of the night’s fireworks shows!
July 4th Star-Spangled Beach Party/Getaway When: July 4 Where: Callaway Resort & Gardens Cost: Varies Details: If you missed the watersports over Memorial Day Weekend, you can make up for it at Callaway’s Fourth of July getaway. Enjoy beach activities, games, and competitions, plus live music, circus performances from Florida State University students, food and drink specials, and a Fireworks extravaganza in the evening.
Star Spangled Fourth at Mall of Georgia When: July 4, 3 p.m. Where: Mall of Georgia/Village Amphitheater Cost: Free to attend Details: For the 16th year in a row, the Mall of Georgia will host live music, vendors, and a kids’ zone with games and inflatables throughout the afternoon. In the evening, your family can enjoy both a fireworks show and a screening of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Georgia World Congress Center Fourth of July Celebration When: July 4, 7 p.m. (gates at 6) Where: International Plaza Cost: Free to attend Details: The Georgia World Congress Center moved its annual Fourth of July Celebration to International Plaza this year due to the construction in Centennial Park, but that doesn’t mean this event won’t have everything you could possibly want. The whole family can enjoy a day full of live music (lineup here) and a huge evening fireworks show.
Red White & Brew
When: July 4, 7-10 p.m. Where: Georgia Aquarium Cost: $65 for adults ($50 if Aquarium member) Details: Hang out in the Oceans Ballroom with your friends 21 and over, plus 500+ species including beluga whales, manta rays, and whale sharks—all while listening to Satellite Blvd. and chowing down on an extensive barbecue dinner menu from Wolfgang Puck Catering. Plus, you’ll get unlimited samples of beers and ciders from all over the state and country. At the end of the night, head up to the rooftop to watch the downtown fireworks.
Smaller, local celebrations The Roswell Patriotic Celebration Concerts When: July 1, 3-4:30 p.m. Where: Roswell United Methodist Church Cost: Free, but you still need to get a complimentary ticket ahead of time Details: This tribute to America’s armed forces features performances of patriotic songs—”Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “America the Beautiful”—by the RUMC Sanctuary Choir and the Atlanta Wind Symphony.
Duluth Celebrates America When: July 3, 5:30-10 p.m. Where: Duluth Town Green Cost: Free to attend Details: If you want to get started on the festivities a little early, the City of Duluth knows how you feel. Come out for the food trucks, kids’ games, and live music from A-Town-A-List and the 116th Army Band, then stay for the fireworks that night.
4th of July Family Celebration (Dahlonega) When: July 4, 8 a.m. – after dark Where: Downtown Dahlonega Cost: Free to attend Details: Start your Independence Day bright and early with the Firecracker 5K & Fun Run, which leads into a patriotic ceremony followed up by a charity car show, a parade that winds through downtown Dahlonega, and a fireworks display on the University of North Georgia campus.
Fourth in the Park (Roswell) When: July 4, 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Where: Begins at Roswell Street Baptist Church Cost: Free to attend Details: Kick off the morning with the Marietta Freedom Parade and spend the rest of the day enjoying live music, taking tours of the local museum, shopping at the artists’ and vendors’ market, playing carnival games, and more. Stick around for the fireworks once the sun goes down.
Barbecue & Bluegrass (Roswell) When: July 4, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Where: Barrington Hall Cost: Free to attend Details: The 4th annual Barbecue & Bluegrass Party July 4th Celebration includes lawn games, hayrides, and live music from the Smokerise Bluegrass Band at this beautiful historic home in Roswell. Barbecue, drinks, and desserts will be available from vendors and the Mill Kitchen Restaurant and Bar all day.
Salute to the Red, White and Blue (East Point) When: July 4, 3-11 p.m. Where: Main Street, Downtown East Point Cost: Free to attend Details: Self-described as “the oldest and largest Independence Day Celebration in South Fulton County,” this event includes a carnival with merch and food vendors, beer and margaritas, an artists’ market, and live music by Wasted Potential Brass Band, Gurufish, Maya Neiada, and Jae Crue. Wind down the evening with a musical fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.
Sparkle in the Park (Lilburn) When: July 4, 5:30 p.m. Where:Lilburn City Park Cost:Free to attend Details: The evening kicks off with free family photos and balloon animals (while supplies last) and goes late into the night with music, vendors, beer and wine, and—of course—fireworks. Plus, an air-conditioned shuttle to take you from the parking lots to the event if you need a lift!
Fireworks at Wills Park (Alpharetta) When: July 4, 6-10 p.m. Where: Alpharetta Community Center Lawn Cost: Free to attend Details: A variety of cuisine, kids’ activities and games, different genres of music from patriotic anthems to classic rock favorites, plus a fireworks show at dusk? Sign us up. This free event will have something for everyone.
Sandy Springs Stars and Stripes Celebration When: July 4 Where: Concourse Corporate Center Cost: Free Details: Bring a picnic and your family to chill out at this low-key Independence Day event in Sandy Springs. Enjoy live music from local band Shiloh at 7:30 p.m. and a fireworks show at 9:45 p.m.
Whether they’re the hottest new group on the charts or someone who’s had fans singing along for decades, artists and bands from all genres and styles are making our city to place to be this summer. If the fully-booked calendars at every venue have you overwhelmed, don’t worry—we’ve got your ultimate concert guide right here, organized (loosely) by genre.
Throwback shows worth cutting up your t-shirts for Def Leppard and Journey When: July 1 Where: SunTrust Park Tickets: $34-$174+ Why you can’t miss it: Easily two of the most popular bands of the 1980s, these massive rock powerhouses will co-headline in 50 cities and take turns closing out shows all throughout the summer. Expect all of your favorite hits from both bands: “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Lights,” “Photograph,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Faithfully.”
Violent Femmes When: July 18 Where: State Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park Tickets: $35-$55 Why you can’t miss it: Relive your teen angst with the quintessential cult band of the ‘80s. Don’t just expect the jittery “Blister in the Sun” and “Kiss Off;” the slightly-calmer We Can Do Anything was released just two years ago. (Plus: opening act Echo & the Bunnymen)
Smashing Pumpkins When: July 22 Where: Infinite Energy Arena Tickets: $33-$129 Why you can’t miss it: Founding members Billy Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin debuted their first recorded single together in 18 years, “Solara,” just last week, so it’s safe to assume you’ll get something new mixed in with old favorites “1979,” “Cherub Rock,” and “Landslide.” (Plus: special guest Metric)
When: July 28 Where: Atlanta Symphony Hall Tickets: $39-$100 Why you can’t miss it: Throw it back five decades with the pioneers of progressive rock during the final show of YES’s #YES50: Celebrating 50 Years of YES Tour. Founding member Tony Kayeretired in the ‘90s, but he’s coming back for the Golden Anniversary. Fans of prog legends Jethro Tull, Rush, and Gentle Giant owe it to these guys (and King Crimson, of course) for giving the genre its start, so don’t sit this one out!
When: Aug 3-5 Where: Verizon Amphitheatre Tickets: $80+ Why you can’t miss it: If you couldn’t make it to see Dead & Company in early June, this is your last chance to hang out with Deadheads and Phans in the city this summer. Trey Anastasio and friends will take care of all your psychedelica needs over three jam-packed nights—remember to bring your glow sticks.
Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr. When: Sept 1 Where: Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood Tickets: $85+ Why you can’t miss it: Lynyrd Skynyrd says this will be the very last show of their 40-year career! The southern rock legends are wrapping up their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour right here in Atlanta. Hank Williams Jr. is one of several special guests performing with them along the way, and he’ll be joining them for their final send-off.
Deep Purple and Judas Priest When: Sept 14 Where: Verizon Amphitheatre Tickets: $30-$142+ Why you can’t miss it: It’s another chance to see two icons of their genres co-headline what’s sure to be a show to remember. Deep Purple produced their 20th hard rock album, Infinite, last year, and heavy metal legends Judas Priest dropped their 18th just a month later. Firepower became their most-acclaimed of all time when it hit number five on the Billboard 200.
Artists your teenager probably loves Sam Smith When: July 10 Where: Infinite Energy Arena Tickets: $35-$125 Why you can’t miss it: Sam Smith, the English singer-songwriter behind 2014 tearjerker “Stay With Me,” returned to the spotlight in North America this May with his single, “PRAY,” featuring Logic (who also performed in ATL this summer). Smith’s new album, The Thrill Of It All, will drop later this year.
Niall Horan When: September 20 Where: Verizon Amphitheatre Tickets: $29-$107+ Why you can’t miss it: If you spoke to a teenage girl at any point between 2010 and 2015, you’ve probably heard of One Direction, the boy band whose music swept through middle and high schools across the country for years. When 1D broke up a few years ago, Horan launched a solo career with several singles and his 2017 album Flicker. (ICYMI: Harry Styles, another 1Der, played the Infinite Energy Arena on June 11.)
Aly & AJ When: June 24 Where: Buckhead Theatre Tickets: $22-$56+ Why you can’t miss it: While today’s teens might not remember Alyson & Amanda Joy Michalka, for many millennials, the former Disney Channel sisters will spark plenty of teenage nostalgia. The duo are on the road again after disappearing for a decade, re-establishing themselves last year with a new sound in their single “Take Me,” a cheeky pop beat more reminiscent of Tegan & Sara than the child stars behind former defining track “Potential Breakup Song.”
“Feels Like Summer” – shows that will heat up the alt/indie scene Unknown Mortal Orchestra When: July 8 Where: Variety Playhouse Tickets: $20 Why you can’t miss it: The New Zealand band famous for the lo-fi, psychedelic vibes of songs like “So Good at Being in Trouble” are touring the world this summer after their fourth album, Sex & Food, dropped in April. The most popular tracks from this record so far have been “Hunnybee” and the single “Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays.”
Shannon & the Clams When: July 20 Where: Terminal West Tickets: $18-$20 Why you can’t miss it: You might be familiar with this increasingly popular indie band’s “Rip Van Winkle” and “Ozma,” but now they’re on tour following the release of their eighth album, Onion. Frontwoman and bassist Shannon Shaw draws inspiration from the folk, rock, pop, and punk of previous musical eras to create a vintage sound with a modern flavor. (Plus: opener Paint Fumes)
Weezer/Pixies/Sleigh Bells When: July 27 Where: Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood Tickets: $17-$515+ Why you can’t miss it: Weezer recently covered “Africa” by Toto in June after a Twitter user asked them to, and it became their highest-charting hit in nearly a decade. Along for the ride on their North American tour are fellow alt-rockers Pixies (“Where Is My Mind?”) and noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells.
Neko Case When: September 13 Where: Variety Playhouse Tickets: $56-$132 Why you can’t miss it: Case is back as a folk-rock solo act after re-joining the Canadian band that helped launch her to fame, The New Pornographers, last year. Since finishing up the band’s most recent record, Whiteout Conditions, she’s released Hell-On, her first solo album since 2013. (Plus: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down)
Shows all the cool kids are going to Janelle Monáe When: August 4-5 Where: Tabernacle Tickets: $39.50-$59.50 Why you can’t miss it: We’ve fallen in love with the Atlanta native not only for her work in music and film, but also for the movements she champions: female empowerment, LGBTQ acceptance, and minority representation in film and pop culture. Her third album, Dirty Computer, dropped just last month to wide critical acclaim.
Kesha & Macklemore When: August 6 Where: Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood Tickets: $23-$200+ Why you can’t miss it: Kesha’s transformed since the gold glitter of the early aughts. The 2018’s Rainbow was celebrated for reflective feminist anthems like “Praying” and “Woman” signaled her reemergence into music after a lengthy and high-profile legal battle with her former producer over accusations of sexual assault and emotional abuse. She partners with Seattle rapper Macklemore for this tour, so expect to hear their joint single, “Good Old Days.” His latest album, Gemini, dropped last September.
Taylor Swift When: August 10-11 Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Tickets: $101-$4,000+ Why you can’t miss it: It’s Taylor Swift. In Atlanta. Need we say more? Well, we will anyway: Camila Cabello (“Havana”) and Charli XCX (“Girls,” “Boys,” and “5 in the Morning”) are the supporting acts, so this female-focused show is not one to miss.
Beyoncé & Jay-Z When: August 25 Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Tickets: $90-$320+ Why you can’t miss it: The power couple just dropped a surprise joint album, Everything is Love, on June 16 after kicking off their On The Road II world tour. The nine-track record is already exploding across streaming services. The Carters also released the groundbreaking music video for their song “Apeshit,” which amassed almost 12 million hits in less than 48 hours.
When: September 6 Where: Infinite Energy Arena Tickets: $141-$499+ Why you can’t miss it: Donald Glover once again dons his Childish Gambino persona after a break spent working on Atlanta, Solo, and the new Lion King. He kicks off his one-month tour here at home with Rae Sremmurd (“No Type”).
Nine Inch Nails When: Sept 26-27 Where: Fox Theatre Tickets: $45+ Why you can’t miss it: What better way to wind down the summer? NIN’s new album, Bad Witch, debuts June 22 as the third installment of their EP trilogy, preceded by Add Violence and Not the Actual Events. (Plus: supporting act The Jesus and Mary Chain)
Country classics for your summer in the South Zac Brown Band and OneRepublic
When: June 30 Where: SunTrust Park Tickets: $29-$1005 Why you can’t miss it: Atlanta is OneRepublic’s last stop on the Down The Rabbit Hole Tour, but homegrown Zac Brown Band can’t stay away—they’ll be back in Fayetteville in October in case you miss them this time around. (Also: the first of three shows featuring Nahko & Medicine for the People)
Jason Aldean When: July 21 Where: SunTrust Park Tickets: $90-$1,131 Why you can’t miss it: There’s a lot of Georgia-grown talent in this 34-city tour: the Macon native is bringing Rossville’s Lauren Alaina, American Idol season 10 runner-up, as support for his High Noon Neon Tour, named for a single that will appear on Aldean’s upcoming record. (Plus: Nashville singer-songwriter Luke Combs)
Keith Urban When: July 26 Where: Verizon Amphitheatre Tickets: $77-$5,000+ Why you can’t miss it: What’s better than two country shows in one week? Australian artist Keith Urban is back in Atlanta for the first time since 2007 following his tenth album, GRAFFITI U, which dropped April 27. He’ll be supported by emerging country-pop singer Kelsea Ballerini.
Because it’s festival season ONE MusicFest When: September 8-9
Where: Central Park
Why you can’t miss it: This “urban progressive” music festival has been expanded to cover 2 full days in 2018, and it’s in a new, larger location. This year’s lineup boasts headliners Nas, Cardi B, and Miguel, as well as Big Sean and Atlanta originals T.I., Ying Yang Twins, and St. Beauty. 2 days, 2 stages, and all kinds of live music from rap, trap, and hip-hop to EDM and house—what’s not to love?
When: September 15-16
Where: Piedmont Park
Why you can’t miss it: No matter what types of music you like, there’s sure to be something at Music Midtown for you with headliners Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone, Imagine Dragons, and Fall Out Boy and other performers such as Gucci Mane, Khalid, First Aid Kit, Twin Shadow, Robert DeLong, and Kacey Musgraves. It’s also a chance to see Janelle Monáe if you miss her in August! Not familiar with all the artists on this year’s lineup? Give them a listen here.
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Where: Piedmont Park; Loews Atlanta Hotel When: May 31-June 3 Cost: $55-$1,800 Details: Celebrate all things Southern dining. Some of the best chefs, mixologists, and pit masters from Texas to D.C. are coming to Atlanta. Expect cooking and cocktail demonstrations, wine and beer tastings, hands-on cooking classes, and three nights of tasting tents that includes a new Southern vendors’ market. Want to know what’s new and what you can’t miss? We have your roundup.
45th Annual Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race Where: Wilkins Field in Helen When: May 31-June 2 Cost: Free Details: Self-dubbed the longest hot-air balloon race in the United States and the oldest annual ballooning event in the South, this Helen tradition will feature around 30 flyers competing to reach the Atlantic from the North Georgia mountain town. Not a professional? Fly more than 50 feet above the city in a 5 minute tethered ride (at a $10 price). Afraid of heights? You can always watch the other balloon events on the schedule, attend a cookout, and explore the town.
Whatever Floats Your Boat Where: Rogers Bridge Park in Duluth When: June 2, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost: Free, but you can rent tubes and kayaks Details: You can either float down the Chattahoochee River from the park to Abbotts Bridge, then take a shuttle back for live music, various vendors, and yard games—or just chill at the park. It’s, well, whatever floats your boat.
Atlanta Ultimate Women’s Expo Where: Georgia World Congress Center When: June 2 and 3 Cost: $10 Details: Spend the day browsing pop-up boutiques, getting all the luxurious spa, hair, and nail treatments you can handle, and learning makeup tips from beauty experts. After making your own skincare products, watching fashion shows, and winning a cooking competition, you can attend seminars on topics like reproductive health, single motherhood, and effective leadership. Keynote speakers include actress and activist Keke Palmer, legal commentator Nancy Grace, and reality star-turned-bestselling author Toya Wright.
19th Annual Flying Colors Butterfly Festival Where: Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell When: June 2 and 3 Cost: $12 Details: This CNC fundraiser celebrates our pollinators from bees to butterflies, complete with a “Butterfly School” for kids, info from the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association, and an exhibit where you can get up close with hundreds of butterflies. Games, crafts, face painting, live music, food trucks, and an artisan market will make this a great weekend for the family.
Sporty 59th Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament Where: Robin Lake at Callaway Gardens When: May 25-27 Cost: $20.95-$69.95 Details: Watch athletes perform insane tricks (see the photo above) at this annual watersports competition, all while enjoying Callaway Gardens’s long weekend schedule of live music, food vendors, movies on the beach, and a fireworks show.
Inaugural Atlanta Memorial Day 5K Classic Where: Woodruff Park When: May 28, check-in at 7 a.m., race at 8 a.m. Cost: $35 for 5K, $15 for kids dashes Details: Organizers encourage runners to spend the Memorial Day 5K thinking about those who lost their lives in battle, especially during the last mile of the race, called the Soldiers Final Mile.
Musical Atlanta Jazz Festival
Where: Piedmont Park When: May 26-27 (see lineup for specific showtimes) Cost: Free Details: This outdoor festival wraps up the month-long celebration of jazz that the Atlanta Jazz Festival facilitated with free daily concerts. The shows over Memorial Day weekend highlight all generations of the genre across three stages: the Next Gen Stage, Contemporary Stage, and Legends Stage. Bonus: the Saturday lineup features all-female headliners on all three stages for the first time in the festival’s 41 years.
Atlanta Caribbean Carnival Where: Murphy Park Fairgrounds May 24-25, Central Park May 26-27, Aloft Atlanta Downtown May 28 When: May 24-28 Cost: $15-20, varies by venue Details: Highlighting Caribbean culture in Atlanta, the carnival will kick off with a day rave featuring soca music, a rhythm-heavy genre which came from minority groups in Trinidad and Tobago. The night concert on the 25th will be the J’ouvert—a word used in some Caribbean cultures to mark the first day of a street carnival—and the rest of the weekend will feature music, vendors, food, and even a parade.
Artsy Decatur Arts Festival Where: Downtown Decatur When: May 25-27 Cost: Free Details: This annual event boasts an artists market, live music, comedy shows, and plenty of events for kids as well. The festival starts with the Friday Artwalk, an evening focused on local art galleries and exhibitions throughout Decatur.
Old Fourth Ward Park Arts Festival Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park When: May 26-27 Cost: Free Details: Focusing on visual art, the outdoor festival will feature the works of around 150 artists. Activities will also include artist demonstrations, opportunities to create your own art, an Emerging Artist pavilion, live music, and food vendors.
Alpharetta Arts Streetfest Where: Downtown Alpharetta When: May 26-28 Cost: Free Details: This OTP festival will include art exhibitions and sales from about 90 artists from around the country, food vendors, live music, and arts activities for kids.
In Memoriam Salute the Troops at Stone Mountain Where: Stone Mountain Park When: May 25-28 Cost: $24.95 (special discounts for military and families) Details: The self-described “largest four-day Memorial Day Weekend event” in Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park will honor the military and their families with the Remembering Our Fallen Georgia Memorial Exhibit, performances by the Air National Guard Band of the South, a Gold Star Families recognition ceremony, extended fireworks shows, and the famous patriotic Lasershows each night.
Roswell Remembers Where: Roswell City Hall When: May 28, 11 a.m. Cost: Free Details: The ceremony will pay tribute to fallen soldiers and prisoners of war with a presentation of colors, live performances of patriotic songs, a speech from Sgt. George Lingefelt of Silver City, and a 21-gun salute. A picnic and barbecue ($7) will follow the program.
Other weekend fun MomoCon 2018 Where: Georgia World Congress Center When: May 24-27 Cost: $30-$75 Details: Founded as an on-campus event by Georgia Tech’s anime club in 2004, this all-ages convention for fans of cosplay, anime, gaming, and comics has grown to one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. The 2018 schedule includes something for all 33,000 expected attendees: a career fair for aspiring animators or gamers, or, for the more casual crowd, dozens of panels, photoshoots, EDM concerts, and meetups with big-name YouTubers, writers, artists, voice actors, and more.
The Georgia Renaissance Festival Where: 905 Virlyn B. Smith Road in Fairburn When: May 26-28 Cost: $23.95 for adults, $11.95 for children, free for kids 5 and younger Details: Can’t get enough costumes? The “magical medieval theme park” is focused on 16th century England with a twist—well, a few twists, including fairies, wizards, and realistic Renaissance-era costumes. There’s endless entertainment with artist markets, games, rides, food, and new shows including jousting, a pub crawl, a pirate-themed comedy show, and more.
Six Flags’s new ride: Twisted Cyclone Where: Six Flags Over Georgia When: Opens May 25 Cost: $56.99 for one day. Memorial Day Weekend sale includes special deals. Details: Six Flags will open a brand new “hybrid roller coaster,” the Twisted Cyclone. A wood coaster with a steel track and cars designed after 1960s convertibles, the ride promises to flip you upside down, give you air time, and zip you around at up to 50 miles per hour.
Brew at the Zoo Where: Zoo Atlanta When: May 26, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: $65, VIP $135 Details: Come hang out with all your favorite zoo animals, all while sipping on some of your favorite brews. Zoo Atlanta will provide beer samples and some wine samples during the event, and VIP ticketholders will have access to bourbon and whiskey samples. More good news: all ticket purchases go towards global conservation efforts.
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