20 Reasons Why Atlanta is America’s Music Capital

We get outdoors

Shaky Knees Music Festival 2018
David Byrne performs at Shaky Knees Music Festival 2018

Courtesy of aLIVE Coverage for Shaky Knees Music Festival

Atlantans love to enjoy music under an open sky—from free symphony performances in Piedmont Park to candlelit concerts at Chastain Park Amphitheatre and raucous rock shows at Verizon Amphitheatre—so it makes sense that our city is home to some of the nation’s best outdoor music festivals. Here are six of our biggest:

Shaky Knees Music Festival
May 4-6
In only five years, Shaky Knees has become a world-renowned rock fest. Held at O4W’s Central Park, this year’s roster of 65 artists includes Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, and the National. Tickets from $99.

Shaky Beats Music Festival
May 11-13
Kygo, Marshmello, and Zedd—plus more than 50 other artists such as Excision, Dillon Francis, Ludacris, and Seven Lions—are set to perform at the third edition of this EDM bash at Central Park. From $169.

Atlanta Jazz Festival
Launched in 1978 by Mayor Maynard Jackson, this is one of the country’s largest free jazz festivals. Performances take place throughout the city during the month, with free concerts at Piedmont Park over Memorial Day weekend.

This nearly 10-year-old event, held mostly at Lakewood, features Atlanta’s royalty—from hip-hop and R&B to house, trap, and soul. Past performers have included CeeLo Green, Migos, Kendrick Lamar, and even a Dungeon Family reunion.

Music Midtown
Though this event has gone through multiple owners and locations since 1994 (with a five-year hiatus during the recession), it remains the city’s top music fest. Now held at Piedmont Park, its roster has something for everyone, from Bruno Mars to Future.

Sweetwater 420 Fest 2018
Brandon “Taz” Niederauer performs at SweetWater 420 Fest 2018

Photograph by Matalyn T. Hopkins

SweetWater 420 Fest
Held at Centennial Park, this three-day festival includes three stages with a mix of jam, rock, indie rock, bluegrass, alternative, EDM, and local artists and comedians—plus SweetWater’s latest craft brews.