Atlanta’s Top 5 Festivals This Season (Freebie Included!)

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I literally feel as though I were born with the sole purpose of “festival-ing” through life. It’s as if I came out of the womb with a flower crown encompassing my head, and a love for all things food, music, arts & crafts, and a good time. I come alive in the springtime, and not because of the season’s fresh blooms and sunshine (which are certainly a plus), but the kickoff of Atlanta’s best festivals coming out of hibernation. It’s okay if you weren’t meant to be a 70's Woodstock hippie because my top five festival favorites are intended for everyone:

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1.     Atlanta Jazz Festival: May 26th & 27th (Piedmont Park)

A summertime favorite in the city, the Atlanta Jazz Festival is free fun for the entire family! Taking place at the historic Piedmont Park, the festival showcases more than 100 local and national jazz greats, a neighborhood jazz series, youth jazz band competition, and a kid zone with many other family-friendly activities. Fun fact: Over the years the Atlanta Jazz festival has been backdrop to musical legends such as Miles Davis, Dizzie Gillepsie and Nina Simone. The Atlanta Jazz Festival is the perfect way to spend your Memorial Day weekend!

Pricetag: FREE!

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2.     Candler Park Music & Food Festival: June 1st & 2nd (Candler Park)

Celebrating their tenth festival in the park, this year’s Music & Food Festival in Candler Park is sure to be one for the books! One of my personal favorites of the season, I find this festival to be one that locals sleep on/don’t know of. The vendors are top notch and the naturalistic scenery is completely swoon-worthy. Sponsored and brewed by Terrapin, tickets are currently on sale and are valid for both days of the festival weekend. If you’re a fan of festivals such as Shaky Knees and Shaky Beats, this event is intended just for you.  

Pricetag: $30 (General Admission), $80 (VIP) *all proceeds go to the development of Atlanta Department of Parks & Recreation and Candler Park

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3.     Tunes from the Tombs: June 9th (Oakland Cemetery)

Okay so I’ll admit that the first time I heard about this festival I wasn’t sure if my pure excitement was acceptable, or distasteful. This festival is intended for the unconventional, and takes place at the historic Oakland Cemetery. If you’ve never taken a tour of the cemetery (because that’s what we all do in our spare time, tour cemeteries, right?) I strongly suggest you add such to your Atlanta bucket list.  Coming back for its eighth year, Tunes from the Tombs is Oakland Cemetery’s annual summer musical festival that brings some of Atlanta’s favorite bands to the city’s most unique performance venue. Rock in peace with cold drinks, the hottest food truck, one-of-a-kind souvenirs, kid’s activities, and much more!

Pricetag: $10-$20 (General Admission), $75 (Rock in Peace VIP)

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4.     Virginia-Highland Summerfest: June 9th & 10th (Virginia Avenue)

Okay so I lied, and I apologize. Summerfest is by far my FAVORITE festival in Atlanta each and every year. Favored by my ‘festie bestie’ Stephanie and I, each year we made it a tradition to peruse this craft lover’s paradise, concluding the day with sangria and tacos at a nearby restaurant. What’s not to love? First and foremost, the neighborhood of Virginia-Highlands is absolutely adorable, and you shouldn’t be surprised if you come upon a classic lemonade stand or two. Celebrating 35 years of art, music, and fun, this festival truly kicks off the summer in the best way possible! Roaming this festival feels as though you’re on the Yellow Brick Road, as it’s never-ending with the best local artists and vendors. I’ve found the majority of my most precious possessions at this annual event and know that you will too!

Pricetag: FREE!

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5.     Atlanta Ice Cream Festival: July 28th (Piedmont Park)

Came through drippin’ (drip drip!)...with ice cream that is. Let’s all make Cardi B proud by saving up those calories and attending the 7th Annual Atlanta Ice Cream Festival in Piedmont Park this summer. This tasty festival not only features tons of delicious frozen treats, but also includes a 5K Fight Cancer Walk, live music, vendors, and health and wellness education. Come ready to enjoy America’s favorite dessert, but also be ready to enhance your mind on maintaining a well-balanced lifestyle all year long. I already spoke with your personal trainer and can confirm that this event is “cheat day” approved…well kinda. Whatever, treat yo self!

Pricetag: FREE!

But it doesn’t stop there, because Atlanta’s festival game is just that strong. See below for an extended list of recommended festivals occurring in the upcoming months:

May: Kirkwood Spring Fling, Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Atlanta Caribbean Festival, Chastain Park Arts Festival

June: Atlanta Streets Alive, Atlanta Summer Beer Festival

July: Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival, Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival

August: Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival, National Black Arts Festival, Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

Did I leave out a festival favorite true to the city? Share your recommendation/s in the comments below!

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