We are kicking off our Athfest coverage with previews from some of our staffers. Meredith Drury offers a brief introduction to Athfest and Will Guerin reminiscences about the past.

Today marks the first full day of Athfest, Athens, Georgia’s very own homegrown music and arts festival. The three-day festival aims to fund music and arts education programs for Athens-Clarke County children. Apart from being a progressive vehicle for the growth of music and art programs in Athens, Athfest is simply the place to be if you are in the area (or not) this weekend. Between the Artist Market, Laughfest, Wired 2014 (an electronic music showcase), Kidsfest, the epic Clubcrawl, and the myriad stages both on the streets of downtown and in local venues, Athfest has something to offer for everyone. Athfest will undoubtedly send you, elated, inspired, and possibly stumbling, a little hungover, on your way with some of the best times you will have all summer. Come out and experience a unique showcasing of vibrant and eclectic Athens music and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

By: Meredith Drury

I remember driving up from Atlanta, fresh off a hangover at the hands of a somewhat impromptu get-together, bound for a blistering Athfest afternoon spent, more or less, waiting for Reptar. I’d been there the day before, experienced the lightning bolt that struck Trapeze during Lera Lynn’s set and caught Futurebirds, and I was so excited to see Reptar for the first time.

It seemed so adventurous at the time. I was going up to Athens by myself and living out of my car for the day, making peanut butter sandwiches on the hood of the car, filling up my water bottle in the bathroom at Five Guys, and noshing on all the free samples. Okay, I may have locked my keys in the car (thanks for coming up to Athens mom and dad) and it was ridiculously hot, but I was out there sweating on Hull Street and huddling in the shade just like everyone else. And of course Reptar was great, packing the 40 Watt over capacity, and draining it just as quickly after their set ended, leaving Washed Out playing to a decidedly smaller and sweatier audience.

It’s hard to not take Athfest for granted, these bands play here all the time, but for one weekend the city swims with enthusiasm. This will be my last Athfest and yes, I will be seeing Reptar for the umpteenth time. I will curse the hordes of crowd surfers, get angry at the guy in the retro Phoenix Suns jersey (he’s always there, I swear), but I’ll gladly wrap myself in the nostalgia to come – bouncing back and forth to catch New Madrid, Cinemechanica and Deep State, to name a few. There might be an arbitrary importance placed on this one weekend, but it’s hard to not get swept up in it.

By: Will Guerin