Shaky Knees Music Festival: Bringing the festival circuit down to ATL

B7U6FrYCQAEVrTD.jpg-largeIn 2013, thousands of people arrived in Masquerade Park. Last year, thousands more came to dance and jam in Atlantic Station. This time, Shaky Knees Music Festival 2015 is setting up shop in Central Park. With this new location, Shaky Knees is bringing a new lineup and more people than any year before.

Going on from May 8 – 10, the three-day festival begins every day at noon going in order from smaller acts to headliners.

Of 69 acts, the main headliners include The Strokes, The Avett Brothers, Wilco, Pixies, Social Distortion, Interpol, Manchester Orchestra, Tame Impala and Ryan Adams. The lineup is subject to change at any notice.

Tickets initially went on sale Jan. 16 with opportunities to get “Early Bird” tickets. Tickets range from a single-day ticket, three-day ticket and VIP tickets with both day options. The VIP access includes special viewing areas for all stages, cash liquor bars, complimentary beer, water, lunch and dinner appetizers. Also, VIP tickets allow purchasers to avoid the Porta-potties in favor of private restrooms.

On both previous occasions, festival-goers had to deal with heavy rain. Tim Sweetwood, the founder of Shaky Knees, advises caution.

A lot of people want to get into festivals, and with the abundance of people there, Shaky Knees is not a good place to lose your ticket. Not only will someone pick it up, the festival’s policy is that all tickets that are lost are non-refundable, and there are no replacements. Keep it smart and keep it close to you.

Shaky Knees is taking place in the opening stretch of summer, and the last you thing you want to deal with at the end of the day is a nasty sunburn. Stay SPF-covered and bring some with you for touchups.

The first show begins at noon and the last show begins at 11 p.m. Staying hydrated is essential to avoiding a heat stroke with the big crowds. If you bring a clear bottle, you can fill it with water on the premises. There will also be water for sale at the food trucks.

If you are planning on staying all three days, you will need supplies with you and in the most convenient form as possible. A backpack is the easiest carry and doesn’t take up your hands. Good things to have on you are your I.D., debit card, cash, sunscreen, sunglasses, phone, and water. Also, the public toilets run out of toilet paper really fast. Bring your own roll, and it won’t be a problem.

At music festivals, there are certain things that — while allowed in public — are not permitted once you are on festival grounds. On the Shaky Knees site, there are disclaimers and information that inform your festival experience so you don’t have any problems once you get there.

As far as footwear goes, you’re going to spend most of your time on your feet. Festival wear needs to be about comfort and walkability. If you can walk and dance in a pair of shoes without serious pain or discomfort, those are the ones you need to wear. Shaky Knees is lasting from the day until the late night, for three days straight. Weather is subject to change. Bring an outfit that can be versatile: One for hot weather and then something to go over when the air is crisp out.

“Considering the first two years, it is probably going to rain,” Sweetwood said.

As for food, Sweetwood has received tons of requests from the site from the food truck vendors wanting business at Shaky Knees.

“We will do our best to support the local trucks and vendors,” Sweetwood said.
It isn’t unusual for a new festival to switch locations to work with the changes in growth and popularity, according to Sweetwood.

“We have switched locations each year because we have grown and are becoming a more popular festival,” Sweetwood said. “We want to make sure that we can accommodate everyone who wants to come. Central Park is very accessible.”

Bonnaroo, another popular southern music festival, and Shaky Knees share more than a region. Mason Jar Media specializes in publicity and marketing for music events and groups. The ties from on high begs the question if Shaky Knees has any plans to become the next Bonnaroo.

“I don’t have any plans to be as big as Bonnaroo. That is altogether and one of the best,” Sweetwood said. “I just want our festival-goers to always enjoy the music and look forward to the lineup as a whole.”

From 2013, the line-up has gotten larger and larger. Ranging from indie bands who are working their way up the ladder to established crowd favorites. Highlights include: The National, Modest Mouse, Violent Femmes, Cage the Elephant, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

This year, the list is variously crafted.

“From a musical standpoint, not too much has changed. It is still true to the bands I love and the bands I wanted to book,” Sweetwood said. “There are a handful of bands on the roster that are bigger than last year for sure.”

His personal favorites to watch out for include Tame Impala, Ryan Adams, Steve Gunn, The Bronx, Dr. Dog and a couple bands yet to be announced.

“Booking the bands is my favorite part outside of watching the sets. I’m always seeking out new bands through a number of different sources,” Sweetwood said.

“Advice? Get there early and stay late. The bands are fantastic from beginning to end.”


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