Thursday, January 16, 2014

Southeast's festival season already shaping up

If you're planning your 2014 vacation days you might want to consider the growing number of music festivals taking place within less than a day's drive. Sure, there's the mighty Bonnaroo, which announces its lineup February 19. But other, closer festivals are already revealing their lineups.

The closest is the 4th Annual North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival, which takes place May 10 at Huntersville's Historic Rural Hill. The roots music festival focuses heavily on regional craft breweries with beer tasting included in the price of admission. This year's lineup features Green Sky Bluegrass, returning act Sol Driven Train, Big Daddy Love, soul singer Jessie Dee, Spirit Family Reunion, and the John Stickly Trio.

In addition to Saturday's concert, campers setting up tents Friday night will be treated to Grateful Dead tribute act The Reckoning featuring Wes Powers and Rusty Cole of Sol Driven Train. It will perform the Dead's "Europe `72" album. Campers can also hear SDT's Joel Timmons and Ward Buckheister's acoustic duo Hit or Miss.

Tickets are available at a discount for now at Prices go up as the date approaches.

While Twitter was recently abuzz with the announcement that Outkast would reunite and headline the sold-out Coachella Music & Arts Festival in April (along with Muse and Arcade Fire) outside Palm Springs, Southerners don't have to venture quite that far to get a glimpse of Andre' 3000 and Big Boi together again. The Atlanta rap duo will headline the nearby Counterpoint Music & Arts Festival in Atltanta the week after its final Coachella date.

The April 25-27 festival takes place at Kingston Downs - a 5,000 acre site which is less than an hour outside of downtown Atlanta. The lineup focuses on electronic, dance, hip-hop, and jam and indie-rock bands that blur those stylistic lines. It also includes Pretty Lights, J. Cole, Foster the People, STS9, Major Lazer, Krewella, Big Gigantic, Sleigh Bells, Matt & Kim, Flux Pavilion, Thievery Corporation, Above & Beyond, Janelle Monae, A-Trak, Wolfgang Gartner, Boys Noize, Flosstradamus, Chance the Rapper, Griz, Shpongle, Phantogram, Moon Taxi, Run the Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike), School Boy Q, Papadosio, Rich Homie Quan, GTA, St. Lucia, Tycho, the Revivalists, YACHT, Minnesota, Ott, the Polish Ambassador, Thundercat, Poolside, Wild Cub, Lance Herbstrong, Dan Croll, Kill Paris, Congorock, Rubblebucket, xxyyxx, Tourist, Ratking, Watch the Duck, and several others.

Three-day passes are $180 (what Coachella prices used to be, by the way). Other ticket (including layaway) and camping options are also available here.

Atlanta also hosts the Shaky Knees Festival a couple weeks later on May 9-11. Tickets go on sale Friday. That three-day festival, which splits the difference between roots music and indie rock, includes headliners the National and Modest Mouse as well as Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Spoon, Local Natives, the Gaslight Anthem, Violent Femmes, Cage the Elephant, Portugal the Man, Iron & Wine, Jenny Lewis, Trampled by Turtles, Jason Isbell, Dawes, the Lone Bellow, Foals, Lord Huron, Cold War Kids, the Airborne Toxic Event, Deer Tick, the Devil Makes Three, Band of Skulls, the Hold Steady, Tokyo Police Club, Blitzen Trapper, White Denim, Wild Belle, Mason Jennings, Langhorne Slim, Charles Bradley, the Whigs, Houndmouth, Hayes Carl, Man Man, Gregory Alan Isakov, Graveyard, the Kopecky Family, Jackie Greene, Sleeper Agent, the Weeks, Apache Relay, Packway Handle Band, American Aquarium, and others.

You can check out the entire lineup and peruse ticket information here. Like Coutnerpoint, Shaky Knees has a new location this year. It'll take place at Atlantic Station. Tickets range from single day for $84 to a $475 VIP pass with access to lounges, bars, and viewing close to the stage. Three-day passes are $150. Advance tickets are cheaper if you get them now. There's no camping, but hotels are within walking distance (honestly you can't beat your own bed and a shower, if you ask me).

(Photo courtesy of