Not a festival person, eh? Nah, I get it. I’m also not into tickets with payment plans, or vanilla lineups crowded with the same dudes that top every bill across the country, or branded attractions vying for your attention instead of bands. Thankfully, Athens Popfest — the recently revived, 13-year-old block party for your once and future BFFs — returns this August to unite shy indie kids far and wide for four days of wholesome fun. And, unlike a certain knee-related festival going down here next month, this bill boasts a healthy mix of local and national talent that can’t be found anywhere else.
And who, you ask, could possibly draw you from the big city to that loser college town in the east? Try this for this size: at the top, you’ve got South Bronx’s queens of dance ESG, fantastical Elephant 6 vets Apples in Stereo and Elf Power, fuzzy ’90s powerhouses Superchunk, and cosmic sage Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab. And I could stop right there, but there’s plenty more that records nerds should celebrate — like indie stalwarts Waxahatchee, the verbose Kleenex Girl Wonder, Merge’s bass ninja Sneaks, and underrated shoegaze pioneers the Veldt. Even the more obscure names on the list promise must-see shows; trust me, if you’ve never been shot down by Noon:13’s magnum trip-hop, or blown asunder by the drunken mayhem of the Gotobeds, you’ve gotta catch ’em here.
Like last year, festival founder Mike Turner fleshed out this already stacked bill with several wicked local acts. In addition to Elf Power and Apples in Stereo, the beloved Pylon Reenactment Society shall bring the house down alongside ESG; plus, expect ace sets from brainy rapper Lingua Franca, our scuzzy faves Eureka California, the divine and demented Tunabunny, post-punk studs Feather Trade, and funky psych mages Marshmallow Coast.
Even if none of these names ring a bell, you can’t argue with the price point. An all-access wristband costs $55, and day passes cost about $14. That’s a steal, y’all. Plus, you’re not just buying a ticket to a music festival — you’re joining a tight-knit community of musos who just wanna hang out and dance.
Athens Popfest runs from August 9–12. To order tickets, check the full schedule, look at lodging options, and more, visit their website.