10 reasons to go to Shaky Knees

10 reasons to go to Shaky Knees this year

By Jordan Smith

Festival season is upon us. As a music-lover and long-time employee of a radio station, I know more than anyone how frustrating it is living so far away from major fests like Pitchfork and Governor’s Ball. But recently Atlanta festival Shaky Knees has given us a closer option, and its lineup is always stellar.

Later this week I’m headed to Shaky Knees on behalf of WUSC, and you better believe I’m gonna turn that shit upside down. While I’ve never been a hula hoop girl or a rave queen (I simply don’t have the energy), I’ve been to my fair share of festivals with wide ranges of quality and experience. After honestly believing I was going to die at Bonnaroo and gaining a solid 5 pounds at SXSW from free beer, I’ve nailed down my festival preferences and here are my top 10 completely unbiased and objective reasons why Shaky Knees is the best one and everyone should go:

10: You don’t have to camp

This brings us back to why I thought I wouldn’t make it out of Bonnaroo alive. Don’t get me wrong, I love camping and have been called “crunchy” on more than one occasion. However, when you’re out all day running to catch sets and getting dirt kicked on you from unnecessary moshing, the last thing you want to do is go home to a tent. At Shaky Knees you can leave to the beautiful metropolis of Atlanta and a nice, plushy hotel room/AirBnB that won’t charge you to shower.

9: It’s close to Columbia

Everyone that lives in Columbia and enjoys live music knows the drives to Atlanta and Charlotte by heart. They also know how important it is to support local music! Incubus and Beck aren’t local, but if we want local events and festivals to succeed and grow then support is crucial. You don’t need to book a flight, all you need to do is make your friend with a Prius shells out, like, $5 in gas and you’re there.

8: Atlanta

We’ve all seen Atlanta season 2 at this point, right? I hope so. We know that Atlanta is awesome. The great thing about festivals that are in cities is that if you aren’t digging the lineup for one day, you can go explore! The World of Coca-Cola, the High Museum of Art, the Waffle House Museum and the Atlanta Aquarium are all at your fingertips. My personal favorite places in Atlanta to hang out are East Atlanta Village and Chinatown. Sidenote: Chinatown is just a shopping center, but don’t sleep on it. Best $2 bao I’ve ever had.

7: The Food

Say the words “food truck” and I’m there. This year’s vendors includes Chipotle, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Bento Bus, Humpty’s Dumplings and more. With a ton of vegan and vegetarian options, everyone will be pleased with their meals at Shaky Knees. It doesn’t sound like a dealbreaker, but when you get the munchies halfway through the Deerhunter show (we’ve all been there) you be stoked that you can grab a dumpling or a popsicle instead of a shitty piece of cheese pizza.

6: David Byrne

Ok, so he may have been on the lineup last year. But if Shaky Knees is cool enough for the Byrne-man then you should definitely be there. Sit in Central Park and think about how he breathed the same air a mere year ago.

5: Tame Impala

Psych-bros of the Southeast, rejoice! Some of y’all have been obsessed with Tame Impala since 2015 and it really shows. As annoying as the fanbase is, I admit that their stuff slaps and they are a lot of fun live. So I’ll be attending my second Tame Impala show at Shaky Knees. Don’t tell anyone. Just think, it could’ve been Death Grips!

4: Father John Misty

See no. 5

3: There’s something for everyone

A huge perk of the Shaky Knees lineup is its diversity. Festivals I’ve attended in the past have been either genre-centric, targeted towards one specific age-group or made up of mostly new indie bands. All of that is great, but a 3-day pass at Shaky Knees gets you big names like Beck and Cage the Elephant, as well as the smaller acts we love like Japanese Breakfast and IDLES. If you’re into psych-rock you’re sufficiently covered with Oh Sees and Tame Impala, and if you love the blues then you’ve got Gary Clark Jr. All age groups and genre niches will have something to look forward to.

2: The lineup

I’m probably seeming repetitive here, but it’s true. This is the real reason anyone goes to a festival – to see GOOD artists. So in this bullet point, here are the artists that I haven’t mentioned yet that are amazing and you should listen to (in no particular order): Tash Sultana, Interpol, Sharon Van Etten, Black Lips, Calpurnia, Soccer Mommy, CHON, Curtis Harding, Natalie Prass, Low Cut Connie, Liz Phair, Lucy Dacus, Maggie Rogers and Foals.

1: Tears for Fears

I never said this was an unbiased article! Quite honestly, the biggest reason (aside from the 9 I just listed of course) I’m going to Shaky Knees is to see Tears for Fears. I think we’re at the point where we can all recognize that 80’s groups like these are more than just a guilty pleasure. For some reason I never see Tears for Fears grouped with the synth-pop/new wave big boys Depeche Mode and Soft Cell, but they’re up there! 80’s pop bands need MORE RECOGNITION, and honestly, Songs from the Big Chair……. a masterpiece.

If this all-inclusive, comprehensive list doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. If you’re at Shaky Knees this year and want to hang with WUSC, let us know! Can’t wait for my knees to be shaken!

Tickets for this year’s festival are available at shakykneesfestival.com