Shaky Knees Festival - Atlanta, GA - 5.3-5.2019

Finn Wolfhard of Calpurnia

Shaky Knees Music Festival
Central Park - Atlanta, GA - 5.3-5.19
Photos by:
Ashton Garner

Shaky Knees brought in the summer weather this weekend. With a killer lineup, music fans flocked to Atlanta’s Central Park to ring in the festival’s seventh year running. Now at the forefront of summer, the near-perfect weather allowed festival-goers to enjoy an amalgamation of good music, good food, and good times. The threat of the unpredictable spring thunderstorm didn’t stop people from coming out and having a blast. I can’t say it enough: I love that this festival takes place in spring. It’s one last chance to comfortably be outdoors all day while listening to great music before the sticky Georgia heat kicks in.

Keeping in tune with previous years’ lineups, this year’s headliners boasted the likes of Cage the Elephant, Tame Impala, and Beck. Other mentionable names include the young rockers Calpurnia, upbeat rising pop star Maggie Rogers, and blues rock band Welshly Arms. The pop rock duo I Don’t Know How But They Found Me opened up the weekend on the Piedmont stage with a quite relevant tune about the opening band, aptly named “Nobody Likes the Opening Band.” The two cracked jokes the entire set, and closed out with their popular (and spectacularly mean) single “Choke,” before exiting the stage as Twenty Two Pilots. Saturday brought an evening rain with an impending thunderstorm which caused set times to be moved up, but that didn’t stop fans from having a spectacular time rocking out with Cage the Elephant.

Set in the same venue as last year, the schedule advertised the same feature as 2018: it was possible to see every band play if you didn’t mind a little bit of walking. Tired of walking, though? No problem! Vendors around the festival had immersive experiences for guests, like Malibu Rum’s beach house with a big game of pong, and Mike’s Hard’s photo backdrop and hammocks. Clif even had a game equivalent to a mashup between cornhole and skee-ball where fans could earn points and win prizes. Brand ambassadors even handed out packages of their Mojo snacks (seriously, I subsisted on the honey sriROCKa snack clusters all weekend). These attractions added an all-around good time, no matter what festival-goers came to experience.

Let’s not forget to mention the food! Food trucks and stalls were placed all over the festival within earshot of music from at least one stage, so fans would never have to miss a beat (pun intended). With a wide selection of foods, any palate could be satisfied. This year’s gourmet featured Mexican food, pizza, and even Greek food. Attendees made sure to make the trek to their favorite stands, Fox Bros BBQ and The Patty Wagon, both of which had a solid customer base throughout the whole festival. Other notable food trucks were Bhojanic, who served up samosas all weekend, and Jalapeno Corndogs. There were even a couple of dessert trucks in the sweet corner: Jeni’s Ice Cream and Wheelies Tiny Donuts. Trying new flavors from the King of Pops stands has become a staple at my Shaky Knees experience, and I got to check a couple more off my list this time: cookies and cream and very berry.

Central Park provided ample space for festival-goers to play, get their groove on, or just relax in the sun or shade. Many attendees spread out blankets, while others played frisbee on the baseball field. No matter what they were doing, the copious room around the festival grounds made for an even more relaxing event. Because what’s worse than having to shove your way through a massive crowd? Very few things. The coverage of trees let people relax and sprawl out on blankets in the shade over by the Criminal Records stage, or between the Piedmont and Peachtree stages.

Shaky Knees makes it difficult to provide a bad festival experience (you’d really have to try hard to have a bad time there). It’s become a staple of my springtime, and I’m already excited for next year.

Personal Favorites at Shaky Knees:

Bands: I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, Tash Sultana, Welshly Arms, Maggie Rogers

Food: Japanese Flair’s hibachi shrimp, The Beet Box’s tempeh BLT, Greek Tavern’s veggie gyro, King of Pops’s cookies ’n cream pop

Featured Shaky Artists:

CHON: Since forming in 2008 in San Diego, CHON have become one of the most buzzed-about acts in the new era of progressive rock, on the back of more than 40 million Spotify streams and tours with the likes of Coheed and Cambria, Animals As Leaders and Circa Survive. They are set to release their third and self-titled record on June 7th via Sumerian Records. In the meantime, their latest single “Peace” is available for streaming.

Taylor Janzen: Canada native Taylor Janzen’s music is about her navigating her experiences with mental health, dealing with anxiety and depression and her frustrations with the stigma that surrounds mental health. She has an undying love for Dennis Quaid, and one time she met him on a golf course. She is also obsessed with her cat, which she called Rory Gilmore. The self-confessed "sad song enthusiast" just released her sophomore EP “Shouting Matches” on May 3rd.


Around the Festival

Featured Shaky Artists