Shaky Knees 2021 Recap – Day One

Shaky Knees came back to Atlanta, this time in October....
Shaky Knees 2021 Recap - Day One
Shaky Knees 2021 Recap - Day One

Shaky Knees Festival was held in Atlanta, Georgia from October 22nd thru the 24th, instead of the typical May dates, due to the pandemic.

Last year’s Shaky Knees was cancelled entirely; a casualty of COVID, leaving thousands of music lovers in the Southeast starved for their beloved festival and its array ire of music performances.

This year’s “SK” was one of its best. Right from the beginning, there were thousands of people flocking into Atlanta’s Central Park as soon as gates opened on Friday. All were hoping to secure a good spot and a concert T-shirt for their favorite bands. The line at the Merchandise tent never wavered throughout the weekend, as fans sought the treasures held within.

Atlanta has very pleasant weather in the fall, making it so much more comfortable than the usual “SK” May festival weather, where temperatures can reach up to 90 degrees. This may explain the high energy of the crowd this year.

Although Run the Jewels was on the main stage on Saturday night, and acts like Living Color and Arlo Parks were featured, the festival could have benefited with a more diverse line-up that could also attract a more diverse set of attendees. What it lacked in diversity, however, it certainly made up for in positivity. There was a band or artist for just about every preference.

The organizers did a great job of attracting a multiplicity of genres and styles. From the melodic to the heavy, but never aggressive. Since Friday was the first day of the festival, fans began by exploring the park to plan their schedules, ensuring their presence at their favorite artists’ performances.

Once acclimated, concertgoers appeared to be moving in herds, as they made their pilgrimages from stage to stage, hoping for a good glimpse of their musical heroes or new discoveries.

Ty Segall & Freedom Band

It did become clear, however, that for Friday night, Foo Fighters were the hot “ticket” for most fans – and who could blame them? Many had traveled from all over to attend “SK” in the biggest city in the Southeast – and Shaky Knees always delivers.

Talking to people from as far as Chicago, and as close as a few streets away, It seemed that everyone was just happy to be back together, secure in the fact that all attendees had to show proof of vaccination as the entered the gates. “This is what we’ve been waiting for all year”, said a man who had come all the way from Nashville to see Foo Fighters, The Strokes, The Hives and IDLES [we’ll get to IDLES on the Saturday recap. Spoiler Alert: They were one of the most dynamic bands of the entire festival].


The excitement continued to build, with bands like Glove, Specialists, Tejon Street Corner Thieves and more, as the crowd wandered throughout Atlanta’s Central Park, while Cults, and Dermot Kennedy entertained fans at the main stage: “Peachtree.”

Dermot Kennedy

Shaky Knees is divided by four different stages – three of which are named for Atlanta Streets:

  • Peachtree: The main stage where all closing acts performed.
  • Piedmont: The second largest stage, adjacent to the main stage and allowing for quick access between them both.
  • Ponce De Leon: The third largest stage, on the opposite side of the park, where indie bands with slightly smaller audiences perform.
  • Criminal Records Stage: An even smaller venue, but one with a vibrant line-up of up-and-coming artists.
St. Vincent

The stars of the night were St. Vincent and Foo Fighters. As an artist and performer, St. Vincent is the complete package. From choreography, to production to performance, she hit all the right notes, enthralling the crowd.

The “Fighters” closed the evening with an unprecedented three-hour performance full of energy and amazing riffs. They have the entire audience singing along with every single song. They even teased the fans with some “Nirvana” intros. [note: the band did not allow photography]

As the night wound down, it was clear that Shaky Knees, 2021 was off to a great start, leaving the audiences craving more.

Mac DeMarco

Concert Reviews