Attending a music festival is a fantastic way to enjoy the performances of one’s favorite musical artists, and spend time outdoors with friends. Atlanta’s own Music Midtown and Shaky Knees festivals both occurred this fall, highly anticipated after a year off due to the pandemic. Pace students attended these events in great numbers, both of which had their strengths and weaknesses when it came down to which festival is ultimately the better option for each person’s personal preferences.
Music Midtown occurred on Sep. 18 and 19 and hosted a star-studded lineup, the highlights of which were 21 Savage, Maroon 5 and the Jonas Brothers on Saturday and Megan Thee Stallion, Jack Harlow and Miley Cyrus on Sunday. “I especially liked seeing Miley Cyrus on Sunday night,” said senior Harper White, who attended both festivals. “The lineup was pretty good but could have been better.” Overall, the student sentiment concluded that this lineup proved to be worse than years past at Music Midtown, which has brought in performers like Billie Eilish, Travis Scott and Lorde. This could be due to the many artists who released new music during the pandemic and are embarking on tours, like Harry Styles, or finally going on the tours that were previously postponed. Instead, fans were met with slightly more outdated artists who have not released recent music, such as the Saturday choice between the Jonas Brothers or Maroon 5.
At Shaky Knees, the music is usually less mainstream and more alternative, making it much more appealing to those with a different taste. On Friday, the highlights were Foo Fighters, Mac Demarco, and Dominic Fike. Saturday included Portugal The Man and Sunday showcased The Strokes and Phoebe Bridgers. These indie rock artists also allowed for newer musicians to be showcased and not be overshadowed by a massive popstar headliner like Miley Cyrus. “Shaky Knees had a totally different lineup than Music Midtown,” White said. “The highlight for a lot of people was seeing Phoebe Bridgers.”
In terms of accessibility, Music Midtown took place in the centrally located Piedmont Park, an open green space with a gorgeous city skyline. Public transportation was an option, as the Ansley and Piedmont Park area had extremely high traffic on festival days. Shaky Knees was held in the lesser-known Central Park, located in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, a slightly farther drive for the majority of Pace students. In terms of tickets, Shaky Knees was slightly more expensive, but also included an extra day, which Music Midtown did not.
Music Midtown seemed to attract the majority of teenage Atlanta, and served as a social event for Pace students and high schoolers across the city. Far fewer Pace students attended Shaky Knees, and the festival attracted a slightly older demographic, who were probably more there for the music, rather than the social aspect, which is partly because the artists at Music Midtown are typically more well-known among teens.
Finally, in terms of the overall vibe of the two respective festivals, Music Midtown felt exciting and chaotic. Fans were excited for the return of live music despite a lineup that was deemed “mediocre.” However, the crowds were an issue if one prefers a more relaxed experience at a festival, especially at the headliners’ and bigger artists’ shows. At Shaky Knees, the vibe is more mellow, which fits the type of music it provides perfectly. “Music Midtown is probably my favorite one,” White concluded. “You get to see all of your friends and the environment is exciting,” These festivals are quite different in what they have to offer, but luckily Atlantans have the opportunity to easily attend both every fall and decide for themselves which one they find superior.