Underneath the semi-scorching summer sun, thousands of festival-goers descended upon Atlanta’s Central Park for three days of head-banging care-free fun during Shaky Beats. As a first time EDM festival attendee, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But with a lineup filled with some of EDM’s biggest names and talented artists across the board, I knew that the next three days would be nothing short of a grand ole’ time.
Friday afternoon marked the official start of Shaky Beats. As I raced against traffic in an Uber, I couldn’t help but to feel the surge of excitement pulsing through my veins. I arrived just as Ludacris was taking the stage at Peachtree. He took it way back, delighting day-one Luda fans with old hits. The crowd sang along to songs like “Move Bitch” while Ludacris and his DJ/HypeMan amped the crowd up for the remainder of the night.
Once his performance ended, I bounded over to the Piedmont stage to catch Dillon Francis. Dillon was the soundtrack of many college pregames, so it was pretty amazing to watch him live. He delivered a hyper high-energy set that kept the crowd moving right into the end of the night and the night’s last performance.
Needless to say, Marshmello’s set united the entire park for a spectacular show. I’ve heard and seen so much about the man who wears a marshmallow inspired helmet, that it was a bit surreal to see him on stage.
Saturday was a brand new day filled with all of the ambitious drives to see as many performances as possible. A few seconds after entering the festival grounds, I headed to the shaded Ponce De Leon stage to catch Atlanta duo Halogen. They’ve been gaining much deserved buzz around the city due to their summer “Houswerk” series and delighted the early birds with an infusion of house-inspired dance vibes.
It was a pleasant surprise to listen and see sets that included the use of live instruments. Both Phantoms and Louis Futon opted to take that route and, much to my surprise, the crowd seemed to get even rowdier when an artist would kill it during a guitar solo or trumpet solo.
My main goal for Saturday was to see Playboi Carti perform “Magnolia” live. Fifteen minutes before his set began, the crowd poured in and lighters were ablaze. Unfortunately, during his set (and my favorite song) I ended up taking a trip to the medic tent due to an asthma attack caused by all of the dust. Luckily for me, I was up and running by the time Zedd was on. As I raced out of the medic tent and into the night, I was stunned by the crowd that had developed. As I looked out before me, it was a sea of neon lights, flags and hand-made signs.
To be honest, I would have been quite okay if Zedd’s set lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
Sunday was for rallying. After two days of frolicking in the sun and indulging in $12 Shaky Rita’s, I was spent but was quickly revived upon arrival of Troyboi’s set.
After grabbing yet another Shaky Rita, I made my way to Dr.Fresch’s set, twice. During his first set, I hung back, taking in the non stop shuffling, chants and cheers of people As soon as he wrapped up his first set and headed to his second set of the day, I knew I had to take part. It was a true party in the woods. And the party did not stop as TOKIMONSTA delivered a hip-hop inspired set that was packed with good vibes and energy.
Closing out a festival seems like a pretty big responsibility, but Kygo ended it on the perfect note. Spreading a message of love, acceptance and positivity. Shaky Beats may be considered to some as one of the “smaller” festivals of the bunch, but they this weekend proved that this event can hang with the best of them.
Photos by Jason Mastowski for Bullet Music