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9 fall music festivals at a glance

From Many Rivers to Music Midtown, massive music gatherings are plentiful

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The fall music festival season has kicked into high gear. This year, Atlanta is hosting another world-class lineup of music for the masses setting up on stages throughout the metro area. From Music Midtown's annual takeover at Piedmont Park to Many Rivers' inaugural gathering raising awareness of racial injustice, there is no lack of massive musical gatherings taking shape as the summer gives way to autumn. Here are 9 festivals that are not to be missed.

If Atlanta’s house music scene has a board of directors, it includes DJ Kemit, Kai Alce, Salah Ananse, and Ramon Rawsoul, founder of House in the Park. The four DJs spin for thousands of devotees from around the Southeast at the 12th annual outdoor dance party and picnic that’s at once family-friendly and sweat-soaked groove fest. Bring a gas grill or leave your goods at home as this year’s party promises double the number of food trucks. You can leave your parking frustrations behind, too. A shuttle from nearby lots gets you to the pavilion dance floors faster. Although it’s free, like any worthwhile enterprise, revenue is necessary to keep a good thing going. Donations always appreciated. Sun., Sept. 4. Noon-8 p.m. Grant Park. www.houseinthepark.org. — Chante LaGon

You know it’s a party when there’s a party to recover from the party. You’ll need it. Because the year-five lineup of Salah Ananse’s WeekEnder is sick. Kicking off with LoveSexy, the Prince tribute event, through the House in the Park afterparty featuring Rich Medina and Mark Francis, there’s a whole ward of parties to perfectly complement your daytime musings. Whether you go deep — check Kai Alce’s Distinctive on Friday — or tend toward the diaspora — head to DJ Kemit’s Soul Makossa — Edgewood Avenue makes Atlanta the place to be for house music all night, and all weekend long. Prices and times vary. Thurs.-Mon., Sept. 1-5. www.Atlantaweekender.com. — CL

As One MusicFest enters its seventh year, the annual one-day urban, progressive music bender is sure to hone in on that number’s mystical power — and not just because Erykah Badu is a headliner. Festival organizers, including Atlanta-based party promoter Jason Carter, who founded OMF in 2010, have set the bar high by curating a lineup that garners national attention, and completing the event with a slew of DJs, food trucks, and more. This year’s lineup continues OMF’s tradition of booking stellar acts from around the country. See Ice Cube, A$AP Ferg, and Busta Rhymes alongside modern indie acts Anderson .Paak and Gary Clark Jr. But most importantly, this year’s One MusicFest pays homage to the home team by reuniting Big Boi, Killer Mike, Goodie Mob, Organized Noize, and the rest of the Dungeon Family’s old-school players on the heels of March’s Netflix documentary release, The Art of Organized Noize. And yeah, we all know that CeeLo spilled the beans when he let slip that Andre 3000 will be there. It’s the ATL hip-hop blowout we’ve all been wishing for, but never seemed like a possibility. Rejoice! $35-$345. Noon. Sat., Sept. 10. Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, 2002 Lakewood Ave. S.E. www.onemusicfest.com. — Emily Kinzer

Atlanta’s homegrown, star-studded festival is set to take over Piedmont Park once again. Music Midtown continues to draw massive crowds with a varied lineup spanning hip-hop, indie pop, EDM, and more. The selection of 2016’s artists carries on the festival’s trend of pairing internationally recognized music giants with rising mainstream talent. Alt-rock stalwarts the Killers top this year’s bill, along with the rock-rap stylings of Twenty One Pilots, Beck’s ever-evolving songwriting, and Deadmau5’s day-glo electronic compositions. Thankfully, a healthy mix of local heavyweights supplements the big-ticket headliners. Atlanta-bred rapper 2 Chainz will take the stage with Lil’ Wayne to perform hits from their recent collaborative album ColleGrove. Big Boi and Raury round out the local hip-hop lineup, while the Coathangers’ frenzied punk anthems and the Shadowboxers’ fine-tuned pop expertise provide a broad mix of flavor. Music Midtown is still one of the best places to see massively popular music without venturing outside the Perimeter. $125-1,200. Sat.-Sun,, Sept. 17-18. Piedmont Park, 1071 Piedmont Ave. N.E. www.musicmidtown.com. — Paul DeMerritt

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This year marks the first ever Milk + Cookies, but the multi-media gathering is already shaping up to be one of the most ambitious of the 2016 festival season. Milk + Cookies’ deceptively specific name belies the breadth of its programming. The event’s organizing team, featuring local production companies Bowe Inc., ADE, and First Taste Productions, will merge food, art, graffiti, and music into one sprawling party. The festival describes itself as “a carnival themed music event with curated food selections, conceived to explore and satisfy the diverse pallet of Atlanta.” The lineup exemplifies that diversity with nationally renowned electronic producers Kaytranada and TOKiMONSTA, in addition to local favorites such as Father, Elhae, and Hero the Band. The mix of funk, soul, and dance on Kaytranada’s recent debut, 99.9%, has already placed it in the running as one of the best albums of 2016. TOKiMONSTA’s blend of trip-hop and psychedelia also makes her stand out among the mass of EDM producers. $25-$50. Sat., Sept. 24. 787 Windsor, 787 Windsor St. S.W., 706-540-0206. www.milkandcookiesfest.com. — PD

The first ever Many Rivers to Cross festival boasts a tagline: “A Festival of Music, Art, and Justice,” which adds a philanthropic angle to Atlanta’s festival season. Conceived by singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist Harry Belafonte, and overseen by the social justice organization Sankofa, Many Rivers packs a heavy list of socially and politically engaged performers converging on Chattahoochee Hills for two days (Oct. 1-2) of raising spirits and awareness about the country's current climate of racial injustice. Public Enemy, T.I., Carlos Santana, Dave Matthews, Goapele, Estelle, Chris Rock, and many more are lined up to throw down in the name of rising above America's human rights issues. $115-$350. Sat.-Sun., Oct. 1-2. Bouckaert Farms, 9445 Browns Lake Road, Fairburn. www.manyriversfestival.com. — Chad Radford

Project Pabst has compiled one of the more eclectic lineups for a fall music fest the city has ever seen, and it's taking over the East Atlanta Village on Sat., Oct. 1. Run the Jewels, Mastodon, NOFX, Santigold, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, the Internet, Real Estate, Titus Andronicus, Summer Cannibals, Omni, Jacuzzi Boys, Midnight Larks, Dinos Boys, and more fill out the bill. There will be two outdoor stages including one in the lot next to Argosy and one in the parking lot behind 529. A pre-festival show is being pulled together at the Star Bar, with some night shows taking place at Smith's Olde Bar as well. The Earl is hosting a lineup including performances by Mind Spiders, Radioactivity, Nots, Biters, Jacuzzi Boys, Dinos Boys, and Midnight Larks. There's a dance party on the books for the Basement, inspired by an ATL-heavy playlist, and music and stand-up comedy will fill the 529 stage. Curtis Harding, the Difference Machine, Michael Myerz, and a TWINS DJ set are lined up as well. $55. Noon. Sat., Oct. 1. East Atlanta Village. www.projectpabst.com.  — CR

Now in its 12th year, the A3C hip-hop festival and conference seeks to outdo itself once again, with an expertly curated lineup set to takeover stages throughout Old Fourth Ward and East Atlanta. This year, the brains behind A3C are paying tribute to arguably the most important year for the development of Atlanta’s hip-hop scene: 1996. It was the year that nearly 250,000 people partied in the city streets for Freaknik, before countless more poured in for the Olympics. It was the same year that OutKast’s seminal ATLiens LP arrived, serving as the soundtrack to the madness. Now, 20 years later, A3C brings the ‘96 nostalgia train to the stage with a five-day blowout featuring Bone Thugs N’ Harmony, Bun B, Too $hort, Redman, Erick Sermon & Keith Murray of Def Squad, Kid Capri and an ATLiens tribute show featuring the one and only Mr. DJ. In addition to the stacked concert, Maybach Music Group leader Rick Ross adds gravitas the fest, along with A3C’s mixed roster of panelists, artists, and speakers. $119-$499. Wed.-Sun., Oct. 5-9. Old Fourth Ward at Boulevard Avenue and Chamberlain Street. www.a3cfestival.com. — PD

Afropunk has been a mainstay in the Brooklyn festival scene since its founding in 2005. Based on the 2003 documentary film which chronicles Bad Brains and Cipher’s experiences as primarily black bands in a primarily white punk scene, the festival champions DIY culture while spinning old-school identity politics. Each year, the festival’s eclectic lineup is dominated by people of color, including big names and underdogs alike from hip-hop, soul, punk, and alt-rock communities. After continued success in their hometown, Afropunk extended to Paris, London, and of course, the arguable hip-hop capital of the nation, Atlanta. Last year’s ATL debut was canceled when a hurricane creeping up the coast posed a threat to travelers — and headliner D’Angelo backed out. The 2016 lineup won’t be unveiled until September 6, and Afropunk always goes big. Even before the details are announced, this is clearly a festival that’s not to be slept on. Fri.-Sun., Oct. 14-16. 787 Windsor, 787 Windsor St. S.W., 706-540-0206. www.afropunkfest.com/atlanta. — EK

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