Summer Guide - Outdoor summer concerts and festivals in Atlanta

Summer Festival Guide 2009


Summer in the city can be a brutal affair, especially in the South. It can get so hot, no one wants to venture out of the house during the day. But when it comes to music, Atlanta’s particularly blessed with a smattering of luring outdoor venues from Lakewood Amphitheatre to the Masquerade Music Park, the Botanical Garden all the way on up to Chastain Park. There’s no better way to beat the heat than to wait for nightfall to take in a concert, and get a little reckless with a blanket, a cooler and a significant other under the stars.

ATHFEST Athens, Ga.’s annual downtown music blitz is back for an extended weekend of performances by the Black Lips, Dreams So Real, Patterson Hood, Those Darlins, Dead Confederate and scores of others. In addition to the music, there’ll be kids workshops, an open-air artist market, and food and drink galore. If you’ve got family in town and are looking for something to do, or you’re just itching to take drive up Ga. 316, there’s no better time than AthFest. Thurs.-Sun., June 25-28. $15-$20.

ATLANTA JAZZ FESTIVAL The 32nd Atlanta Jazz Festival, one of the country’s largest free outdoor summer jazz concert series, runs through Memorial Day weekend at various venues around the city, including Woodruff Park, Centennial Olympic Park, Underground Atlanta, Churchill Grounds, Piedmont Park and more. The festival features performances from such internationally renowned jazz artists as Freddy Cole, Jaspects and Mausiki Scales and the Common Ground Collective. May 23-25. Prices vary.

BLONDIE, PAT BENATAR, THE DONNAS These three acts represent three decades of strong, female-fronted rock ‘n’ roll, each coming from three distinctive directions. Blondie’s songs are a timeless bridge spanning the differences between new wave and late ’70s rock. Benatar toughens up the mood, while the Donnas follow her lead with a ’90s garage-punk sensibility. $33.50-$48. Sun., Aug. 2, 5:30 p.m. Chastain Park, Stella Drive and Pool Road. 800-745-3000.

CORNDOGORAMA Since 1996, Corndogorama has celebrated Atlanta’s indie music scene with an eclectic roster of punk, hip-hop, bluegrass, country, metal and all points between. The two-day outdoor fest brings the carnival atmosphere to East Atlanta this year complete with street performers, an artist market and the legendary corndog-eating contest. $15-$20. Sat.-Sun., June 27-28, noon-11 p.m. 470 Flat Shoals Ave.

DEPECHE MODE The British synth pop veterans rose through the ranks of the new romantic/dance club scene of the early ’80s with hits such as “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Blasphemous Rumors.” The group left the club circuit for much, much larger venues a long time ago. Despite the arena-level swagger, Depeche Mode’s hypnotic blend of electronics, pop and wintry tones is no less affecting. The group’s currently touring in support of its acclaimed 2009 release, Sounds of the Universe. $29.50-$83.50. Tues., Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m. Lakewood Amphitheatre, 2002 Lakewood Ave. 404-443-5000.

SLAYER The immortal kings of extreme thrash metal rain blood on Georgia as they headline the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest. Shock-rock ghoul Marilyn Manson also performs. $18.75-$99. Fri., July 24, 1:30 p.m. Lakewood Amphitheatre, 2002 Lakewood Ave. 404-443-5000.

STEVE EARLE Singer/songwriter, activist and outlaw Steve Earle was once hailed as country music’s savior. These days, his songs waft among a range of styles including country, folk, bluegrass and straight-up rock ‘n’ roll. In May, he released a Townes Van Zandt tribute album. $35. Fri., June 12, 8 p.m. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. 404-876-5859.