The season of cold beer, warm grass, overpriced hot dogs and watching people do cartwheels to live music, otherwise known as Festival Season, is upon us. And it's a beautiful thing. You're most likely familiar with the big guys — the Sweetwaters and Dogwoods of the bunch — and their big crowds, rows of vendors, and seemingly endless supplies of carnival food. But Atlanta also offers a few less mainstream fests, from bathrobes and bowling to corsets and vaudeville. Here are three alternative ways to get your festival on in the next few weeks.
S.T.E.A.M. Fest, 4/14-15
Hosted by Atlanta's own Artifice Club and Avondale's Academy Theatre, S.T.E.A.M. Fest is a quintessential two-day steampunk celebration in Avondale Estates, a gathering of likeminded "retro-futurists" who take delight in both nostalgic attire and intricate, elaborate weaponry. The retro throwdown will include artists, performers, entertainers, costumers, and more, according to their website—from a performance about Sherlock Holmes' older brother to juggling and fire-eating from Thimblerig Circus. It will be, to say the least, quite the curious experience. And you know how we feel about the curious.
Lebowski Fest, 4/27-28
Dude. When our friends at Thrillist broke the news that Atlanta would get its very first Lebowski Festival, we immediately broke out our most tattered bathrobes, Kahlua, and bowling shoes. Expect a bowling party, a screening at the Masquerade, and, of course, plenty of White Russians. The Dude abides.
Atlanta Fringe Festival, 5/9-13
This grassroots festival, in the works since 2010, will definitely not feature the typical kind of arts 'n crafts you might see at other festivals around town. Fringe Fest hopes to introduce Atlantans to a wide spectrum of nontraditional art from artists and performers they drew from a hat back in January, including local orgs Twinhead Theatre (comedy performance), Hot Toddies Flaming Cabaret (burlesque and circus), and Thimblerig Circus (clowning!). The 25-act lineup also includes out-of-state guests from coast to coast.