Six Atlanta Festivals to Enjoy This May

If you and your family enjoy music, food and fun,  Atlanta offers some great opportunities to enjoy all three this month. Starting with the Shaky Knees Music Festival on May 4th through 6th and ending with the Atlanta Jazz Festival on the 26th and 27th, the city is hosting a festival of some sort nearly every weekend. So, no matter when you’re visiting, you’re sure to find something the whole family will enjoy.

Here’s the rundown on some of the festivities and when they’re being held.

Shaky Knees Music Festival

Set in Atlanta’s downtown Central Park, the 6th annual Shaky Knees Music Festival takes place this weekend, May 4th through 6th. Over 50 bands will be performing, including Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, the Nationals and David Byrne. The doors open at 11:00 a.m. and shows begin at noon.(See the full schedule here.)

Tickets are available on the Shaky Knees Music Festival website. An adult 3-day general admission ticket is $189 + applicable fees; a 1-day ticket is $99. Children under 8 are free.All tickets include food from local restaurants, including vegetarian and gluten-free options, and unlimited water refills. (Bring your own container!) All ticket holders will be sent an identifying RFID wristband by mail that must be worn to gain entrance to the event. So if you haven’t purchased a ticket yet, you may want to do it now.

Chastain Park Arts Festival

Voted one of the country’s top 100 arts festivals by Sunshine Artist Magazine, the Chastain Park Arts festival takes place at Chastain Park along Park Drive on May 12th and 13th. Sponsored by  the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, the festival plays host to about 185 artists and artisans selling a variety of arts and crafts. Food trucks offering a selection of cuisine from local restaurants and beverage concessions will also be scattered around the park. Local musicians will play acoustic music throughout the event.

Chastain Park is located at 4469 Stella Drive in Atlanta. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday May 12 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday May 13. Admission is free.

Sweet Auburn Springfest

Set in the historic Sweet Auburn District of Atlanta, the Sweet Auburn Springfest is the largest free outdoor festival in the Southeast. Spanning a mile and a half, the outdoor party features 10 stages; dozens of vendors offering art, jewelry and fashion; and a Fun Zone with kid-friendly rides and attractions for the little ones. A food court will offer a selection of gourmet cuisine from local restaurants, and there will be plenty of wine, beer, and nonalcoholic beverages to choose from as well.

This year’s festival will take place on Saturday, May 12 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, May 13 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. The streets around the event, including John Wesley Dobbs between Piedmont and Hilliard Street, and Bell Street, Fort Street and Hilliard Street between John Wesley Dobbs and Auburn Ave., will be closed beginning at 8 a.m. on May 12. Visitors are strongly encouraged to take MARTA, since parking in the area is extremely limited.

The Atlanta Jazz Festival

One of several festivals taking place in Atlanta on Memorial Day Weekend, the Atlanta Jazz Festival follows a 40-year tradition of bringing free music to the people of Atlanta at Piedmont Park. The event showcases local and nationally recognized jazz artists, who top off a month-long stint of weekly performances at venues throughout the city with this one, huge event. In addition to performances by over 100 artists, the event also offers a neighborhood jazz series, a youth jazz band competition, and a family-friendly kids’ zone.

The Atlanta Jazz Festival starts on Friday, May 25th at 6 p.m and ends that night at 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday hours are 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. For more information, visit the Atlanta Jazz Festival on Facebook or contact the organizers directly at atlantajazz@atlantaga.gov or by phone at (404) 546-7246.

The Atlanta Caribbean Carnival

Also taking place on Memorial Day weekend, the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival is an annual event celebrating Caribbean culture, music and food in a family friendly atmosphere. Located in Atlanta’s Central Park at 400 Merritts Ave. NE, the event is preceded by a parade of bands in traditional masquerade costumes. Contact the president of Atlanta Carnivals, Patricia Henry at president.atlantacarnival@gmail.com ​for more information about the event.

The Decatur Art Festival

The Decatur Arts festival is being held on Memorial Day weekend in downtown Decatur. The festival starts with an Arts Walk on Friday, May 25 at 5 p.m., followed by the festival on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to about 150 high quality artists from all over the Southeast and beyond, the festival boasts a performing arts stage, where local singers, bands and musicians will perform throughout the event. There’s also a Kid’s Art Festival on Saturday, where children can play, interact, and enjoy “Four Minutes of Fame” on stage. Admission is free, and food and beverages will be available for purchase from local vendors attending the event.

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