Festival Music Sounds Better When It’s Free
ArtsAtlanta Festivals

Festival Music Sounds Better When It’s Free

The Atlanta Jazz Festival in May and the Candler Park Fall Fest in September hit the right notes.

Midtown skyscrapers provide a scenic background for the Atlanta Jazz Festival at Piedmont Park.
Midtown skyscrapers provide a scenic background for the Atlanta Jazz Festival at Piedmont Park.

It seems that too often we look toward other places for family fun and entertainment and overlook all that is available for us right here in our beautiful city of Atlanta.

After celebrating our sons’ high school graduations with family and friends — yay, Morgan and Nicholas — we set off to delight in one of the country’s largest free jazz festivals, the 41st Atlanta Jazz Festival.

The festival celebrates jazz legends and up-and-coming jazz stars in venues across metro Atlanta throughout the month of May. This annual celebration of art, culture and jazz concludes each Memorial Day weekend with a melodic outdoor event that takes over most of Piedmont Park.

The festival finale features three stages, allowing for continuous succession of music that follows you as you explore the art stations and food trucks along the park’s walkway while strolling from one stage to the next. The whole thing is produced by the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

It’s an event that fosters harmonious community with friends and family. The stages are in a picturesque setting with Midtown high-rises as the backdrop. Unique art and a vast selection of food are available.

Luckily, the rain held off, and spectators of all ages could fully enjoy the musical experience in a free-spirited manner. We arrived with a blanket to sit on, but others came prepared with canopy tents and grills; some came with full bars.

We had a glorious time and look forward to enjoying the Atlanta Jazz Festival again next Memorial Day weekend. We hope you can too.

The next weekend we joined Rival Entertainment in celebrating 10 years at Candler Park with the return June 1 and 2 of the Candler Park Music & Food Festival, presented by Terrapin Beer Co. The festival has become an annual tradition for the Candler Park neighborhood, providing a variety of fun summer music and delicious food truck experiences.

The music we saw was fantastic. We particularly were drawn to the free-form cover-band style of local band Webster, who kicked off the music Saturday.

Canadian band Busty and the Bass perform at the Candler Park Music & Food Festival.

We also enjoyed Busty and the Bass from Montreal, who offered a unique brand of music incorporating two vocalists, a horn section and a diverse range of musical genres. It was fun music to dance to.

There were many other great bands, and we met folks who came all the way from Tennessee just to see Lettuce and Government Mule.

The only downside was that the event space was quite small. There were a few art vendors and some food trucks with one stage and a large field to fill with music enthusiasts. Ticket prices started at $40, which we thought to be quite high for the experience.

There is a free Candler Park Fall Fest, which welcomes residents and visitors alike, showcases the neighborhood in all its diversity and fun, and serves as the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization’s major annual fundraiser.

Begun in 2001, the Candler Park Fall Fest will be held for the 18th time, rain or shine, on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30. It will feature a 5K and fun run, an artist market, food trucks, live music, a home tour, and yoga.

We’re not sure where the next adventure will take us, but the Aug. 23 “Grease” sing-along at the Fox Theatre is enticing. Summer days, drifting away to ahh, oh those summer nights. #Greaseistheword.

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