“We’re here for a good time. Mother Earth is here for a long time.” Thus the inspiration for Sweetwater 420, the amazing Atlanta music festival on the weekend closest to Earth Day. This year’s edition is perfect, as Earth Day (April 22nd) is smack dab in the middle of the three-day event: Friday, April 21st, to Sunday, April 23rd, at Centennial Olympic Park.
There are two main stages, the Sweetwater Stage and the Planet 420 Stage (presented by Gas South). The 420 Disco Stage is brought to you by Aisle 5, and there is also a Lyrics and Laughter Stage.
FRIDAY, APRIL 21
The Sweetwater Stage launches at 1 pm with The Hip Abduction and their bouncy island stylings, followed by Dirty Heads. moe. delights next, and the Trey Anastasio Band has the headlining slot.
Meanwhile, over on Planet 420, the Talent Tap Winner opens at 1. Guitar slinger Samantha Fish plays next, followed by Vermont’s Twiddle, with Talib Kweli closing.
The 420 Disco Stage mixes electronica and EDM, with Parrotice, JuJu Beats, Organic, Andy Bruh, Daily Bread, Tep No, and finally San Holo.
The Lyrics and Laughter stage begins with music: Tedo Stone, Chelsea Shag and CBDB, before turning it over to the comedians. ROFLYAO with Jon Rudnitsky, Jake Nordwind, Joe Pettis, Olive Lynch, Michael Rowland, Plug Chapman, Andrew Markle and Brian Moote.
BAM! Day one done!
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 (Earth Day)
Things gear up an hour earlier on Saturday, with Ron Pope on the Sweetwater stage at noon, followed by guitar great Anders Osborne. You’ll want to be there for the toast to Mother Earth during the middle of the set by Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Slightly Stoopid brings the madness to Atlanta, and Widespread Panic plays two sets (and two more on Sunday). Ain’t Life Grand?
Another Talent Tip Winner has the noon slot on Planet 420, with Porch 40 up next. Dynamite North Carolina sextet BIG Something rolls in on the strength of their great new album Tumbleweeds, and Dopapod jams things up next, celebrating their new album II SAW LIVE DOPAPOD EVIL WAS II. And multitalented Jackie Greene can and will do it all.
420 Disco, you say? Where We Are, The Morkestra, Hiku, McBeezy, Probcause, G-Buck and Savoy are “in the house.” And Hedonistas, Atlanta’s own Voodoo Visionary (with a great new album Off the Ground as well), The Steppin’ Stones and Stop Light Observations do the music portion of the Lyrics and Laughter Stage, before Jon Rudnitsky, Jake Nordwind, Joe Pettis, Brian Emond, Cherith Fuller, Andrew Markle and David Perdue take over.
SUNDAY, APRIL 23
The Werks (hosts of The Werk-Out) rush the main stage at noon, followed by Dark Star Orchestra; start trying to psych out what show they’ll cover! The Ween lads are next, and WSMFP, as they are affectionately known, play two sets again to shut down the festival.
One more Talent Tap Winner plays Planet 420 before PBR (People’s Blues of Richmond) rock you into the afternoon. The Temperance Movement (great name!) play next, and Big Apple funkateers Lettuce, basking in the glow of their amazing Fool’s Paradise, get the last shot.
In 420 Disco land, check out Patrick Morgan, Thrice, Clavvs, Xavier Blk, Sam King, SunSquabi (these boys are killer!), and the amazing Break Science.
Music on the Lyrics part include the Virginia Bensch Band, Augusta’s Funk You (yes, they will), Wild Adriatic, and, from Virginia, Major & the Monbacks. The Laughter portion is again headed by Jon Rudnitsky, Jake Nordwind, Joe Pettis, Jeremy Mesi, Dedrick Flynn, Andrew George and Lace Larrabee.
If we insinuated that Widespread Panic would shut down the music Sunday, we may have prevaricated — slightly. There are afterparties every night, including Thursday, which is technically a pre-party. All of these will be held at Aisle 5 at Little Five Points, presented by Aisle 5 and Happy Ending Productions.
Thursday’s preparty will be a monster, with Asheville’s funk ambassadors The Fritz, who have been titanic every time they hit the stage. Ditto for The Groove Orient, an great Orlando band also deep in the funk. Bird Dog Jubilee joins them for a great night.
The Friday after-affair is all Random Rab, so that will be an Oregon blast. Saturday’s show highlights Vegabonds and Morning Fatty, and the last gasp Sunday will let you dance with Jubee & Friends, featuring members of Higher Learning, Space Cadet, and Robbie Dude.
Try to get in a couple extra naps now. You’re gonna need your strength.
It’s 420, dude!