Atlanta arts preview: 6 best things to do this fall
Fall in Atlanta is a rich reward after a stifling summer. From major festivals like ONE Musicfest to Elevate's pop-up public art, get outside to enjoy the arts.
- But don't worry, we have ideas for if the weather turns south, too.
Here's our fall arts preview guide.
1. Attend a festival
Atlanta's festival season took a hit with the cancellation of Music Midtown this year, but there's still much to look forward to.
One Musicfest: Music fans from across the Southeast and beyond will journey to the Old Fourth Ward this fall for what’s been called "urban cultural Woodstock."
- This year's ONE Musicfest headliners include Lauryn Hill, Lil Baby, Jazmine Sullivan, Jeezy and a "street legends set" with the duo of Rick Ross and Gucci Mane.
- The two-day festival, now in its 12th year, is scheduled for Oct. 8-9, all outdoors across multiple stages at Central Park, Renaissance Park and the Civic Center.
- The lineup also includes Ja Rule, Ashanti and Doug E. Fresh.
- Pro tip: Festival goers can only enter at 501 Piedmont Ave. NE, across the park from where your phone will take you. Rideshare users should ask to be dropped at 395 Piedmont Ave. NE.
Oakhurst Porchfest: If you want something a bit more chill, Oakhurst Porchfest should be on your to-do list.
- The long-running community music festival that transforms porches into mini-stages is set for 11am to 7pm Oct. 8 in Decatur.
- The low-key and laidback event stretches throughout walkable Oakhurst and draws locals and visitors (including famous out-of-towners like Andrew Lincoln of The Walking Dead).
Outlaw Music Festival: Also on the fall calendar is country legend and noted horticulture fan Willie Nelson, who's bringing his Outlaw Music Festival to Ameris Bank Amphitheatre on Sept. 9.
- Jason Isbell, one of the best songwriters right now in America, joins Nelson on the Outlaw lineup as part of Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit. Tickets here.
2. Get outside for one of these cultural events
- Elevate: The city’s annual exhibition of temporary art in public spaces runs Sept. 16-Oct. 9.
- Arts festivals: Hundreds of painters, photographers, sculptors and metalworkers set up in Buckhead Village, Chastain Park, Druid Hills, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs and elsewhere throughout the fall.
- Lore: Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre's outdoor dance experience explores family and heritage in Serenbe’s Wildflower Meadow from Oct. 21-30.
3. See live music
Atlanta's concerts have range. Here's what we're looking forward to:
- For local pride: Georgia native Lil Nas X at Coca-Cola Roxy, Sept. 27
- For rock music lovers: Alice in Chains, Bush and Breaking Benjamin, Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, Sept. 28
- For a chill night: Nathaniel Rateliff at The Eastern, Sept. 29. And The Head and the Heart with Shakey Graves at Cadence Bank Amphitheatre, Oct. 14
- For R&B jams: Atlanta R&B Music Experience, State Farm Arena, Oct. 1
- For the 1990s: Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction at State Farm Arena, Oct. 11
- For pure country joy: Turnpike Troubadours at Pullman Yards, Oct. 29
4. Escape rain with these indoor activities
- Atlanta Black Theatre Festival & Creative Arts Conference: Plays including "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" and "Nancy at Home" plus staged readings pack the event honoring BIPOC in drama. Sept. 1-4
- Out on Film: Atlanta’s LGBTQ cinema festival celebrates its 35th anniversary from Sept. 22-Oct. 2.
- Southern Rites: Photographer Gillian Laub's two-decade study of a south Georgia town from segregated proms to Black Lives Matter runs Sept. 22-Jan. 8, 2023, at the Atlanta Contemporary.
- Monir Farmanfarmaian: A Mirror Garden: The first posthumous exhibition of the Iranian artist who mixed geometry, tradition and abstraction opens Nov. 18. at the High Museum of Art.
- Everybody: Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie Award winner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins explores life and death in this acclaimed play. Sept. 2 through Oct. 2, Alliance Theatre
Puppets, live music and scary stories collide in "The Ghastly Dreadfuls," an 18-and-up vaudeville show that's become one of Atlanta's most creative Halloween traditions.
- The fun starts Oct. 12 at 8pm at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
6. Visit musical Macon
Detroit and Memphis are two cities that have made historic contributions to American music during the 20th century.
- But for Scott Freeman, a journalist who began his career in Macon and authored biographies of Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers Band, Macon ranks just as high as its more well-known counterparts.
The big picture: Freeman calls Macon the "sleepy little town in the middle of Georgia" that gave birth to Little Richard, James Brown, the Allman Brothers Band and Redding — icons who defined music in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
- "You go there, and you feel this sense of history," Freeman, the executive editor of ArtsATL.org, told Axios.
- "There's something in the water," Redding's grandson, Justin Andrews, told Axios. "The music world definitely owes a lot to Macon."
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