When promoter Kyle Swick of Irrelevant Music organized the inaugural Irrelevant Music Fest last year, it was a labor borne of both love and discontent. “The idea behind this festival sort of came about via the the frustration of seeing all these huge corporate festivals popping up in Atlanta, and not seeing a ton of local love on the bills,” Swick told us in an interview. “I wanted to do a fest for Atlanta music, about Atlanta music, and affordable to local music fans and artists alike.”
With 20 bands spread out across three days and two venues, the lineup was expansive but not overwhelmingly so, and it tended to focus on artists with which Irrelevant Music had built a working relationship. The end result was an event that felt more like a party and gathering of friends than it did a traditional festival.
But while last year’s debut was impressive, the sophomore run is looking to be off the charts. From top to bottom the lineup reads like a who’s who of the city’s eclectic DIY scene with breaking acts like Omni, Art School Jocks, and Jock Gang rubbing shoulders with exciting newcomers such as Material Girls, Pallas, and Glare. Musically, the acts lean towards punk and indie rock, but with Pyramid Club, Sequoyah, Pamela_and her sons, and Mannequin Lover all slated to perform, Atlanta’s underground electronic and industrial sounds will be well represented. In fact, if you had to point to a deficiency in the lineup it would be a lack of local hip-hop, although Awful Records’ Lord Narf will be there at some point to launch the party into the stratosphere.
You may also have noticed that the second edition Irrelevant Music Fest has broken somewhat from last year’s locals-only mantra to include a handful of out-of-town artists. That may rub a couple of people the wrong way, but it’s really hard to complain when those acts include can’t-miss bands like angular mind-blowers Palm, DKA stalwarts Boy Harsher, and grunge pop trio Daddy Issues. Check out the full lineup on the flyer below.
Another change, however, that will irk considerably more people, is the shift in venue from the all ages Drunken Unicorn to the 21+ only Earl. That will leave younger fans out in the cold, although all shows at 529 will remain 18+. On the positive side, a post on Irrelevant Music’s Facebook page notes that next year “will be less age restricted for sure,” which means Irrelevant Music Fest III is only 365 days away.