Live Instruments Exist at Candler Park

photo by Jon Whittaker

The festival takes place at an actual park; a common trend for many Atlanta festivals. Candler Park is just down the road from Little Five Points, a super weird and different area. Cool shops, good eats (I’m a big fan of The Vortex), and plenty of music; check out the area if you get the chance. Take that setting brewed with Terrapin and you had Candler Park Music and Food Festival.


Music Genre: Jam Bands, Bluegrass, Funk, Reggae, Jazz, Rock, and Beat Box

Camping: No

Capacity: Extra Small

Crowd Type: Family, Bros, Deadheads, Chill People

Water Stations: Yes and thank you Fontis.


For the First Timers – It was my first time at the festival. It’s a low-key two day festival based around 10 musical acts this year, food trucks, and and good vibes. Wear comfortable shoes, wear sunscreen, and HYDRATE.

Standout Food – Super Tot Truck! I had the Yadda Yadda 86 green onions; solid choice. They’ll be around this season if you like tater tots! I had a mac bowl from Mac the Cheese as well. Poor timing on my part considering it was a hot Georgia day. I ate the Buffalo Chicken Mac, another solid eat. The food truck alley had several other choices from cold snacks and barbecue to noodles and tacos.

Musical Highlights – Candler Park’s one stage was a highlight in itself. In the rear looking at the stage was a pop up bar. I loved the eye in hand symbol on the sides of the stage; it was great to look at day and night. The image credited to Ian Flannery of Glass & Ink, was all over the festival even on some sweet free Terrapin koozies. The sound was good and light production at night was amazing. It really brought color to the live instruments.

All the acts minus Matisyahu were new to me and I like everything I heard. Plenty of the acts fit the mold for jam band as many sets had five or six member bands. We saw: Matisyahu, Railroad Earth, The Marcus King Band, Lake Street Dive, The Motet, and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.

Railroad Earth closed Friday night. Their set was tight. It’s the first time I’ve seen someone shred a violin live. The set had several parts to illustrate the violin in the beginning and end. My sister witnessed her first light up hula hoop performance by this talented brunette during their set. Attendees knew their music which always amplifies the vibes. The light production was cool. Overall a good set.

Lake Street Dive Saturday was another good set. I saw fan support there also as a few Lake Street Dive shirts were walking around. The “jazzy pop/rock” group shined with an afternoon performance amplified by the sensational lead vocalist Rachael Price.  The quartet is completed by bassist Bridget Kearney, drummer Mike Calabrese, and guitarist Mike Olson. They are currently touring the US, I would check them out if they come to your area.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead ended the festival Saturday. The band is known for playing Grateful Dead covers, hints the name. I didn’t realize why the vibes were different between the days (not a bad different), more Deadheads were probably present Saturday. Killer rock and jam set for sure. I enjoyed the piano play throughout the set most. There was a moment of irony as they played “Tennessee Jed” while simultaneously hockey fans cheered to a Nashville Predators goal on tv at the Old Fourth Distillery bar. Talk about perfect timing.

Things to Do – Eat, check out the different food trucks. Drink Terrapin and other beverages. Stop by the vendors, some were handing out free swag. I saw some cool clothes and designs at both the Buckhead Thread and Meet Me On Peachtree tents. Bai distributed some of there delicious drinks amongst other free swag. You could occupy the Old Fourth Distillery pop up bar as well.  Attendees played tailgating and park games; a very family friendly festival. It’s safe to say face painting since I saw a kid with a fierce tiger face paint job. I’ll put it this way, it’s hard to be bored at Candler Park Music and Food Festival.

VIP or Nah – I did not get to check out VIP, but I do know it was 21+.

Story Corner – I went to the festival with my older sister. A different environment for her but she had a good time. The night wasn’t over after the festival as we had tickets to a concert down the street. We walked to where we thought we parked only to find her car not on the street! Immediate panic sets in as her initial response was “They towed my car!” I wasn’t much help as my only contributing information was the street we parked on had a basketball goal and we didn’t park on the same street as the night before. She frantically walked the streets as I followed for another 20 minutes or so. After our brief Dude Where’s My Car episode we found her car on a neighboring street untouched. We ended the night to the funky sounds of Space Kadet and Russ Liquid Test at Aisle 5.

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