Still jonesing for music after two-weekends of Jazz Fest? If your answer is yes, then how about a road trip. Atlanta's third annual Shaky Knees Festival brings three days of rock music to the Peach State, featuring the likes of The Pixies, Noel Galagher's High Flying Birds, Death From Above 1979, Social Distortion, Interpol, The Strokes, and Tame Impala, to name just a few. Where Y'at sat down with festival-founder Tim Sweetwood to find out what this year's musical gathering has in store.
Where Y'at: Shaky Knees comes amid a busy Southern music festival schedule, bookended by New Orleans Jazz Festival and Gulf Shores Hangout Festival, and just under a month from Tennessee's Bonarroo. What makes Shaky Knees a unique addition to the festival season? In particular, what sets its lineup apart?
Tim Sweetwood: Shaky Knees has been around for several years now. What really seems to make it unique is that it is made for a true music fan, and not someone just looking to go to an event or festival and party. It flows from top to bottom. If you like the headliners then you will like the openers.
WYAT: I see a number of New Orleans acts on the lineup. What is your relationship to the city and how were these acts selected? Is New Orleans music (brass, bounce, jazz) big in Atlanta?
TS: I book acts at two venues in NOLA: the Civic and Gasa Gasa. NOLA is one of my favorite cities in the US because I believe that it has true culture, and that is rare for a country as young as we are. The NOLA style of music definitely has its place in Atlanta, and can mostly be found at the smaller intimate venues.
WYAT: What goes into selecting the lineup for Shaky Knees? The lineup is especially diverse in 2015...was a particular effort taken to diversify this year’s acts from previous years or other festivals taking place regionally this time of year?
TS: I see it primarily as a rock festival and appreciate it being seen as diverse. Because within the rock world it is diverse exploring genres of indie, punk, metal, and Americana.
NOLA is one of my favorite cities in the US because I believe that it has true culture, and that is rare for a country as young as we are.
WYAT: This being the festival's third, what can we expect new this year?
TS: We are excited to be returning to a green space this year. Plus we have added another stage which allows us to get more bands on the lineup and there will be more art installations.
WYAT:Are you active in scheduling Shaky Knees late night performances? What acts are you most excited for personally this year - both late night and during the festival?
TS: Yes, I do all of the booking and scheduling myself - from the headliners to the small stages. Of course we are proud that we landed The Strokes this year, but there are also new bands like Steve Gunn and Viet Cong that we are excited to introduce new audiences to as well. We are also continuing the late night tradition, and I’m most looking forward to Portugal. the Man's late night set, and Built to Spill's set at the Earl which will be very intimate.
WYAT: What can attendees look forward to in terms of food and beverage vendors from within the Atlanta/Georgia area? Will there be art and merchandise vendors that are unique to this festival and/or Atlanta?
TS: More than half of the food trucks at Shaky Knees are local. Atlanta has an impressive culinary scene and Shaky Knees will have an assortment of food trucks for all palettes. We have a lot more vendors this year, so there should be something for everyone.
WYAT: What do Shaky Knees and Shaky Boots - Atlanta's country music festival just one week apart - share in common? Is there any audience or artist crossover?
TS: Shaky Boots is the first and only multi-day country music festival in Georgia, so even though the core audience of each festival seems to be different, we do think there will be some crossover. Both festivals draw audiences that love music whether you're a country fan or a rock fan. You'll also find that there is a good amount of Americana flavor at both events. Last year, Jason Isbell performed at Shaky Knees, and this year he'll help kick off Shaky Boots. We also have Old Crow Medicine Show performing at both Shaky Knees and Shaky Boots this year.
I would describe [our audience] first and foremost as music lovers
this isn’t a festival where you go just to party.
WYAT: How would you describe the audience and the crowd energy for Shaky Knees?
TS: I would describe them first and foremost as music lovers - this isn’t a festival where you go just to party. You will definitely see a lot of people jumping and a few mosh pits. Can’t have acts like Flogging Molly, Mastodon, and the Strokes and not have some of that energy.