In the half hour before the official start of the Rolling Stone Live: Atlanta party on Saturday night at the Goat Farm Arts Center, the scene looked a little bit like a sad prom, with a disco ball spinning above an empty dance floor while a DJ hit the air-horn sound (“FEH-feh-feh-feh-FEH”). You’d be forgiven for thinking that maybe this Super Bowl party was going to stay decidedly un-lit, given that some tickets were going for the price of a Mitsubishi Mirage. But as soon as 9 p.m. struck, the velvet ropes were pulled aside, the wristbands were handed out, the room filled up, the dance floor filled out, the selfies started, and the phalanx of security guards in front of the stage perked up.
The Goat Farm Art Center is a 12-acre complex of 19th-century industrial warehouses. They’re usually populated by artists, but on Saturday, the Bravo-lebrities took over. There was Brielle Biermann (Don’t Be Tardy); NeNe Leakes, Cynthia Bailey, Tanya Sam, Marlo Hampton, and Kenya Moore (Real Housewives of Atlanta); Luann de Lesseps (Real Housewives of New York); and Scheana Shay (Vanderpump Rules). Also in attendance were musician CeeLo Green and actors Merle Dandridge (Greenleaf), Robin Givens (Riverdale), Ser’Darius Blain (Charmed), Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live), and Ty Burrell (Modern Family).
Face value for a general admission ticket was $650, and that got you cocktails, as well as passed crab cakes, meatballs, spanakopita, other finger foods, and the opportunity to gawk skyward at the VIPs leaning over the upstairs balcony. (This reporter wasn’t allowed to go up there, so I have no idea whether they got bigger crab cakes for their $900 tickets. Or $10,000 tickets, if they reserved a table.)
On stage was Young Thug, Gunna, and Lil Keed, followed by Ludacris and a DJ set from Questlove. The last artist on that list has been quoted as saying, “I don’t have friends, and it’s hard for me to make new friends.” Normally, you’d think a party like this, with its economic hierarchy fully on display and fans of rival football teams drinking—a lot—in close proximity to each other, making new friends would indeed be difficult. But instead, New England Patriots fans danced next to Los Angeles Rams fans, who danced next to people who had to look up who was playing in the sportsball tournament this year. Rolling Stone brought us all together.