10 Reasons Not to Miss SweetWater 420 Festival April 18, 2019 01:33
1. Two nights of Widespread Panic. Need we say more?
- Let's face it. This festival is in the heart of Panic country, and there is not a more prime candidate to close out the festival on Saturday and Sunday night. The band's history in Atlanta is well documented, most recently completing a three-night New Year's run at The Fox Theatre that we're still trying to comprehend. Being back in Georgia always seems to bring out the best in the band, and if anyone understands the level of expectation for these four sets, it's these guys right here.
- In case you missed it, Panic's last 420 Fest performance fell on Sunday, April 23rd in 2017. The show kicked off in powerful fashion with "Disco" > "Arleen" and made for one of the hottest festival shows in recent years. I think it's safe to assume there will be much more where that came from this weekend.
2. Joe Russo's Almost Dead: There are tribute bands, and then there's JRAD.
- Prepare to hear the music of the Grateful Dead like you've never heard it before. If you've had a chance to catch this band before, you know to expect the unexpected. These guys use the Dead's catalog as a launching pad into another dimension, and there's no telling where they'll take a jam at any given moment. Friday night will be dominated by the two-and-a-half hour set from Joe Russo's Almost Dead.
- The all-star cast features Joe Russo (drums/vocals), Marco Benevento (keys/vocals), Tom Hamilton (guitar/vocals), Scott Metzger (guitar/vocals), and Dave Dreiwitz (bass/vocals).
3. Stay in tune with the jam scene's hottest rising acts.
- While the lineup is consistently diverse, you can always count on 420 Fest to feature several of the jam scene's hottest rising acts. Take a look at this year's lineup, and you'll see exactly what we mean.
- Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Billy Strings, Big Something, & Turkuaz are absolutely "can't miss acts" this year. There is a reason that you continue to see these names rise on festival billings each year. You can also find them packing out venues across the country, while releasing new, original material that we're all singing along with in no time.
- Surely you're familiar with the mad scientist known as Keller Williams. Have you heard about Grateful Grass though? This set is appropriately scheduled for 12:00 PM on Easter Sunday. Bring your bible, 'cause Keller's gonna take us all to church.
- Everyone Orchestra will feature a fully improvised set from members of Umphrey's McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, Jane's Addition, Greensky Bluegrass, and more on Saturday at 2:30 PM.
4. This lineup offers a beautiful variety that any music fan can enjoy.
- It's a challenge to even begin keeping up with the amount of annual music festivals in 2019. While many of the these lineups are designed to cater to a specific fan base, such as jam bands or bluegrass, 420 Fest steps outside the box. While there's plenty of jam over the weekend, major national acts such as The Avett Brothers, Moon Taxi, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Rebelution, and Iration.
5. THE BEER: Who could forget about the beer?
- You'd be hard pressed to find a brewery with tastier options from top to bottom. This brewery's impact on the city of Atlanta, our beloved music scene, and the entire Southeast, really, can't be overstated.
- Prepare to see the following SweetWater brews across the festival 420 Pale Ale, IPA, 420 Strain G-13 IPA, 420 Strain Mango Kush Wheat Ale, Peach Love & Happiness, and Guide Beer: A Lager.
- Have you heard about the artist collaboration brews? This year you will find the Pigeons Playing Ping Pong's IPPPA, Iration's Already Gold, and Fruition's "Fruition's Fire."
- Take a break from the sun and stop by the SweetWater Experience Tent, a weekend-long craft beer centric event where you can taste your way through 25 unique styles of SweetWater beers. Enjoy presentations a wide variety of topics. We've included the schedule for the SweetWater experience below.
6. Sustainability: SweetWater 420 Fest's eco-friendly focus grows stronger each year.
- Did you know that 420 Fest started as an Earth Day celebration in 2005? Festival organizers continue to go the extra mile each year with so many ways you can contribute.
- Make sure to purchase your refillable Steelys cup to do your part and protect the environment this weekend.
- Make sure to stop by the Planet 420 Eco-Village, where the majority of environmental workers spend the weekend raising awareness for Mother Earth. Hands-on workshops engage attendees and educate them on how to become more eco-friendly in their day-to-day lives.
- The festival offers a heap of transportation options, such as MARTA and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, which allow for eco-friendly choices to avoid the hassle of parking downtown.
- To date, 420 Fest has donated over $120,000 to various neighborhood organizations including CPNO, Park Pride, and Friends of Candler Park (where the festival was previously held).
7. You never know what you'll find in the artist + craft vendor market.
- There's more to SweetWater 420 Fest than just music and beer. Each year, dozens of artists and craft vendors from across the country are showcased at the 420 Fest Artist Market. You never know what you might stumble across amongst your artist village at a major music festival. Arrive a little early or maybe even take a break from the music and check out the entire festival grounds this year.
8. Lyrics & Laughter Stage will put a smile on your face.
- While the SweetWater Stage and 420 Strain Stage get the majority of the attention, one of our favorite elements of 420 Fest is the Lyrics & Laughter Stage, which is presented by Aisle 5. This stage hosts a mix of both local, up-and-coming bands, as well as a handful of nationally touring acts. We're especially excited for Cory Wong of Vulfpeck (Friday), SunSquabi (Saturday), Zach Deputy & The Yankees (Sunday), Hedonistas (Saturday), Flow Tribe (Friday), Travers Brothership (Friday), Voodoo Visionary (Sunday), and The Orange Constant (Sunday).
- You don't want to miss out on Joe Pettis and Andrew Michael either. These two stand up comedians will perform on each day in between various sets on the Lyrics & Laughter stage. Click here to check out the schedule.
9. Got a minute to give? Don't miss the 4:19 Auctions.
- The 420 Fest band charity auction will benefit each participating artists charity of choice. Participating artists include Widespread Panic (Tunes for Tots), The Avett Brothers (Press On), Joe Russo's Almost Dead (Atlanta Community Food Bank), Rebelution (Atlanta Music Project), Moon Taxi (We're Hear For You), Claypool Lennon Delirium (Atlanta Community Food Bank), Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (Music In The Park), SunSquabi (Can'd Aid Foundation), Billy Strings (Nicholas House), Cory Wong (Conscious Allience), BIG Something (Atlanta Music Project), Fruition (Atlanta Music Project), Pink Talking Fish (Positive Legacy), and Turkuaz (Positive Legacy)...just to name a few.
- Auction items include concert tickets, signed memorabilia, photos, meet & greets, and more. Mobile bidding began on April 16th and lasts through the end of the weekend. CLICK HERE to register for online bidding.
10. There's some serious after shows to choose from. Killer late night sets across the city.
- Not quite ready to call it a night after the headliner? No problem. The afterparties surrounding this year's festival are as strong as you'll find anywhere. Terminal West will host Ghost Light on Friday night and Billy Strings on Saturday. Aisle 5 will host Voodoo Visionary on Thursday, Higher Learning on Friday, SunSquabi on Saturday, and Knower + Nate Wood Four on Sunday. Additional afters shows we're keeping an eye on include Bird Dog Jubilee & Schema at Cotton Club (downstairs at the Tabernacle) on Friday and Runaway Gin "Make Phish Evil Again" at The Loft on Friday.
Here's a quick video recap from the 2018 festival:
Check out the full weekend schedule and map out your weekend below!