Classic City American Music Festival celebrates local musicians | Arts & Culture
From the yard behind Southern Brewing Company, the sounds of violins and southern chants spread through the parking lot on July 3. Upon entering the courtyard, people encountered food trucks, a variety of beers, and American flags.
The Classic City American Music Festival hosted nine local groups ranging from Americana to bluegrass to country music. Held a day before Independence Day, the event unabashedly celebrated American music.
âNo one in Athens would do anything for July 4th because everyone thinks he’s dead,â said event organizer Troy Aubrey of Aubrey Entertainment. “People are always looking for things to do – I mean, look around.”
Aubrey referred to the crowds of people sitting on blankets and chairs in the Georgia heat, lining up for beers or eating food from local food trucks. At the front of the courtyard was the stage where the musicians performed.
The festival started with the Hibbs Family Band, a local family quartet in Athens. The band was a perfect introduction to the event, combining bluegrass and folk music with a touch of alternative rock. The violin has worked its way into every song, rooted in bluegrass themes between ballads and upbeat tunes.
Although the festival followed the general theme of American music, each act was radically different from the next. The Valley Below demonstrated angst with significant electric guitar and bass presences and hoarse, hoarse vocals. Atlanta-based duo Andrea & Mud performed music that was an approximation of blues and country, describing themselves as the niche genre of âsurf-westernâ.
The Broken String Band, originally formed in Athens, were delighted to be back in the city.
âAthens, it’s good to be back! the group told the audience. “It’s been a long time. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
While watching the show, most of the spectators also tasted some beer and food from one of the vendors. Food Trucks Wrapped Wright and Uncle Ernie’s Pub n ‘Grub served at the festival. Wrapped Wright bills itself as a soul-steeped Spanish food truck, serving tacos at the event. Uncle Ernie’s was originally located in downtown Athens, but will move to Hawthorne Avenue in addition to its food truck business, according to owner Daniel Battinelli.
Athens resident Maria Baxter attended the festival with her mother and said she enjoys the family atmosphere.
âI always thought this place was just an indoor bar for people who wanted to come and drink way too much, and it probably wasn’t a very family environment,â Baxter said. “I’m so surprised it’s just a really nice environment for families.”
Indeed, families made up the majority of the public. Children blew bubbles, people walked their dogs, and couples hid from the scorching sun. In the typical spirit of July 4th, everyone celebrated with their loved ones.
As the end of the pandemic neared, couple Tori and Reggie Brooks were excited to see live music again as music festival fans. They said they would be more than happy to attend a local festival like Classic City American again.
âIt’s one of those things where you can just show up and do your own thing,â Reggie Brooks said. “And there’s not a lot of pressure or anything.”
There have been several other performances by MrJordanMrTonks, Packway Handle, Grassland String Band, Heart of Pine and Parts & Labor. As the night wore on, more and more people showed up.
Aubrey said he was happy to have hosted the event in an open space where, even near the end of COVID-19, people could be as safe as possible. Brian Roth, co-owner of the Southern Brewing Company, said he was more than willing to provide space for this to happen – especially to support local musicians who struggled during the pandemic.
The evening ended with celebratory fireworks and the buzz of excitement that once again accompanied the live music.