While the summer music festival season is in full fling, there’s one musically diverse Southern event that always catches City Paper‘s eye:, the annual AthFest Music Festival & Conference. Already in its 13th year, AthFest 2009 is set for Thurs. June 25 through Sun. June 28 in downtown Athens, Ga. Organizers highlight mostly local bands and solo artists on several outdoor stages and local music venues such as the 40 Watt Club, the Caledonia Lounge, Flicker Theatre, the Georgia Theatre, the Go Bar, Melting Point, and Tasty World, among others.

Unlike some of the other major festivals around the country, like the CMJ Festival in New York and South By Southwest in Austin, AthFest is impressively accessible and affordable. The convenient proximity of the venues is a serious advantage for those on foot as well.

Headlining acts on the outdoor stages include Bloodkin, the Black Lips, Dead Confederate, vintage jangle-pop band Dreams So Real (one of the featured acts in the 1987 rockumentary Athens, Ga: Inside/Out), the Randall Bramblett Band, Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood‘s new side project with the Screwtopians, and many others. The local alt-weekly Flagpole Magazine holds its “Flagpole Athens Music Awards” event at the historic Morton Theatre (the Dock Street Theatre of Athens) on Thurs. June 25.

Athens-based indie record label Ghostmeat Records recently released a 16-song compilation disc featuring a variety of veteran and up-and-coming rock, pop, and jam bands (many of them previously unreleased). Some of the highlights on the disc includes an unearthed track from Widespread Panic titled “Misdirection,” veteran studio engineer David Barbe‘s new project Magic Missile‘s song “Tragedy of the Commons,” and some trombone-flavored hip-hop from Deaf Judges on “Boom Box Lunch Box.” Five-Eight singer/guitarist Mike Mantione is jumpin’ around on the cover image.

Available in advance for $16, wristbands allow unlimited access to participating venues (outdoor stages are free and do not require bands). Wristbands also provide discounts or free entry to special events put on in conjunction with AthFest. Visit www.athfest.com for full details.

AthFest 2009 Outdoor Stages Lineup

Friday, June 26 (5-10 p.m.)

5:00-5:30 p.m. Monsignor Donovan Ram Jam Winner – Joachim’s Dream

5:30-6:10 p.m. The Empties

6:10-6:40 p.m. Tealvox

6:40-7:20 p.m. Twin Tigers

7:20-7:50 p.m. Those Darlins

7:50-8:30 p.m. Dead Confederate

8:30-9:00 p.m. Excali Brah

9:00-10:00 p.m. The Black Lips

Saturday, June 27 (11 a.m.-10 p.m.)

11:00 a.m.-Noon Pam Blanchard & The Sunny-Side Up Band

Noon – 12:40 p.m. Farmer Jason

12:40-1:20 p.m. Nappy Roots

1:20-2:00 p.m. Art Rosenbaum & Friends

2:00-2:40 p.m. Dancer Vs. Politician

2:40-3:10 p.m. The Warm Fuzzies

3:10-3:50 p.m. Venice is Sinking

3:50-4:20 p.m. Liz Durrett

4:20-5:00 p.m. The Ginger Envelope

5:00-5:30 p.m. The Starter Kits

5:30-6:10 p.m. The Corduroy Road

6:10-6:40 p.m. Gabriel Kelly & The Reigns

6:40-7:20 p.m. Don Chambers + GOAT

7:20-7:50 p.m. Jason Ringenberg

7:50-8:30 p.m. Bloodkin

8:30-9:00 p.m. Holy Liars

9:00-10:00 p.m. Patterson Hood & The Screwtopians

10:00-11:00 p.m. Darius Goes West [Film Screening]

Sunday, June 28 (11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.)

11:00 a.m. – Noon The Gospel Starlights

Noon – 1 p.m. Nuçi’s Space Camp Amped Student Band Showcase

1:00-1:50 p.m. Lefty Hathaway & The Half Dozen Brass Band

1:50-2:20 p.m. Marty Winkler & Michael C. Steele with special guest M. Lee Davis

2:20-3:00 p.m. Betsy Franck & The Bareknuckle Band

3:00-3:30 p.m. Bob Livingston

3:30-4:10 p.m. Holman Autry Band

4:10-4:40 p.m. JazzChronic

4:40-5:20 p.m. Grogus

5:20-5:50 p.m. Heavy Feather

5:50-6:30 p.m. Dreams So Real

6:30-7:00 p.m. David Barbe & The Quick Hooks

7:00-8:00 p.m. Randall Bramblett Band


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