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Dogwood Festival sprouts a new leaf

Singer/songwriter Caroline Aiken began serving as entertainment coordinator of Atlanta's annual Dogwood Festival in 1993. Since then, she says, "It's gone from kind of a craft show to a full-blown, critically acclaimed event that everyone wants to get into."

When scheduling acts to perform for such a varied crowd, Aiken tries to build on each band's particular energy "so there's an incredible climax of music at the end of the night." But the family-friendly festival does have its limits: "Everybody's got their kids along, so I need the acts to keep their clothes on and take the shock value out a just a bit."

This year, Aiken will have her own daughter, musician Page Dukes, along with her at the festival. "She's 15 and has traveled with me for 14 years," Aiken says.

However, as Aiken performs with Diane Durett and Donna Hopkins in her side project, Women of Rock in the Round, her offspring will be competing for attention in another part of Piedmont Park. As "Page Spooks", the young guitarist and her Anti-Graves Misfits Cover Band will play the Z93 area at noon Sunday, the same time her mom is on the Fox 97 stage. "I may not even play with Donna and Diane," laughs Aiken. "I think I'll just go over and watch Page's band."

Then there's Saturday night's headliner, Shawn Mullins. "He opened for me at Eddie's Attic when he was just a kid," Aiken says. "I asked him how long he was gonna play, and he said, 'Well, I only know three songs.' He certainly knows a few more now."

The Dogwood Festival is held April 12-14 in Piedmont Park.??



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