Shaky Knees Music Festival invited WLUW’s Mike Daly to hit the road this year to Central Park in Atlanta, Georgia to take on this year’s installment.
Shaky Knees was originally developed in 2013 to bring a premier indie music festival to the city of Atlanta. This year’s festival took place May 3rd-5th and brought Tame Impala, Beck, and Cage the Elephant to headline the fest.
Taking place within the beautiful Central Park in Atlanta, Georgia, I am hoping Shaky Knees has found their home for years to come. The layout was very refreshing compared to my midwestern festival experience with everything being wide open and accessible.
The festival was split into two main areas connected by Pine Street and Central Park Place, each having their own entrance to make getting to a certain stage as you enter painless. With Atlanta being nicknamed “Hotlanta” by many of the bands, there were loads of shaded areas with great views available for every stage.
Shaky Knees consisted of 4 stages including Peachtree, Piedmont, Ponce De Leon, and Criminal Records. Each stage having their very own vibes based on the bands playing on them. Peachtree being the main stage with the infamous “Shaky Knees” signage and where all the headlining sets took place. Shaky Knees had everything: top notch sound, insane visual and lights production, lots of great viewing spots anywhere in the park.
Another thing that other festivals should take notes on was the use of temporary artificial grass around most of the stage. This kept the infamous dust clouds that generally happen when you have thousands of fans going crazy all weekend on unprotected grass.
Throughout the day, you could find the bigger crowds for acts like Grouplove, Foals, and Interpol at Peachtree. While the sub-headliners took place at Piedmont, such as Tears for Fears and Gary Clark Jr, both drawing deep crowds. Piedmont and Peachtree would alternate acts all weekend which helped prevent sound bleed and were a short walk from each other.
Walden @ Criminal Records stage Photo: Quasar Media
Criminal Records stage is named after a well-known record shop within Atlanta. This stage surrounded by loads of trees hosted some very intimate sets that included Natalie Prass, Duncan Fellows, and Deerhunter who closed out the stage on day 3. While the adjacent Ponce De Leon stage, which was a massive tent on top of a paved parking lot, hosted some of the rowdier acts like Black Lips and Oh Sees as well as indie darlings Japanese Breakfast and Calpurnia.
Photo: Sydney Gawlik
While flowing through the crowds at Shaky Knees, I noticed something that stuck out.
Amongst the positivity and the laid-back crowd were loads of Shaky Knees branded tattoos on people.
I was curious, as I haven’t seen a Pitchfork or Lollapalooza permanent tattoo on somebody just for the sheer love of the fest. I found out from somebody that came to the festival directly from a tattoo parlor that Shaky Knees offered free 3-day GA passes for life to anybody that would get a Shaky Knees tattoo.
This was the last year of the deal for anybody thinking about getting one for next year. I overheard Atlanta tattoo shops were absolutely flooded with people looking to lock in the free Shaky Knees passes. Pretty neat little incentive they had! What a way to get your brand out there!
Tame Impala Photo: Roho Foto
Tame Impala closed Shaky Knees 2019 with an experience unlike any other. New songs, new visuals, and more lasers and confetti than you can ever dream of. Kevin mentioned Shaky Knees 2015 was the first festival headline set they ever did and how special it was to be back. They delighted the crowds with half of the set being from Currents and the rest being from Lonerism, Innerspeaker, or the yet to be released or titled 4thalbum. The visuals were stunning and very trippy, one scene had Kevin shooting lasers from his eyes and another had his face morphed into having 5 eyes. A truly mind melting psychedelic experience that everyone should experience once in their lifetime.
Foals Photo: Roho Foto
Japanese Breakfast Photo: Quasar Media
Catch Japanese Breakfast in Chicago at Lollapalooza on Friday, August 2nd.
Curtis Harding Photo: Sydney Gawlik
Special thanks for having WLUW 88.7 FM attend Shaky Knees 2019!