by: Cody Chesneau
When looking back, it is hard to summarize a three day festival, with all new friends you have made, inclement weather, and amazing music. Nevertheless, Sweetwater lived up to its motto, “Don’t float the mainstream” from its Big Lebowski passes to the muddy grounds, to the main stage bands, and even the vendors.
I missed Friday due to the crazy rain that came in that day. I heard I didn’t miss much, as the rain turned the grounds into muddy mosh pit. That didn’t deter the hug fans though, who came out for Snoop Dogg and everyone else. I unfortunately missed ATL’s Local Eddie Gold and Ployd, who absolutely destroyed the Not So Silent Disco Stage.
Saturday was a completely different animal. I was able to get there at 2pm, and all the stages were in full effect. I took a gander over to the Double Nil play before I headed out over to the other stages, watching the unique 40 person March of the Fourth Marching Band and Anders Osbourne. It seemed pretty relaxing that day, even though the grounds were entirely covered in mud. The sidewalks were flooded with people trying to get to the next venue, or people trying to get some food.
I was really appreciative of how this festival was setup. At the farthest end of the festival grounds was the Not So Silent Disco, and between the next two stages were the food trucks, the drinks, and the vendors. In the corners of the main stage, they had the comedy tent, filled with improv groups, a VIP area (which had inflatable couches, great bathrooms, an adult Jenga board, and personal hammocks), as well as an employee area, which offered discount beers and their own food trucks and hammocks and dining areas. There were so many food/drink choices to choose from there! I ended up having a combination of BBQ and a complimentary beer from the VIP area, where you could get any Sweetwater beer you’d ever want.
Which leads me to the beer selection. It was incredible! Honestly, they had more beer than you could ever possibly drink. I became a huge fan of their IPA, it has just enough bitterness to kick you in the chest, but enough sweetness to make you coming back for more. These stations were located all over the festival, so you could drink at any of the stages you wanted. Finally, they even had a section where for just 20 dollars you could get unlimited refills of water, soft drinks and a complimentary tin cup along the way.
The vendors were fantastic, too. I was thrilled to see the type of vendors that came through the music festival scene. Each was an artist who had their own story to tell. They had everything from t-shirts, to African goods, to artistic prints, pinecone necklaces, and even custom flat rim makers. I was able to get a few pictures and shirts to represent my Atlanta heritage while I was there.
On Sunday, the rains had torn through the festival grounds leaving very little grass that had not turned to sludge and mud. That didn’t stop the party or hinder anyone from coming.
By the end of the third night, there was almost no space to move around due to the massive amount of people in attendance. On the bright side, I was able to see Cassian, 311, and Anna Lunoe, who all destroyed their sets and had people moving from the beginning to the end. Each day was crafted to have the perfect blend of underground music or expand your mind to genres you not heard of or seen before.
All in all, except for the weather, I was extremely appreciative of the set-up and the professionalism of the festival. I thought they were looking good for only being in year five. The music, food, drink, and arts were all great. If you are looking for something different to do in Atlanta, look for this next spring. I know for me, I will be planning on getting my pre-sale tickets next year as soon as they come out, and I suggest you to do the same.