AthFest Educates Presents 25th Annual AthFest Music & Arts Festival 

Festival Showcases Artists, Raises Money for Local Music and Arts Education

September 9, 2021 Update:

A statement from the AthFest Educates Executive Director, Jill Helme, about the 2021 AthFest Music & Arts Festival: 

"We are very sad to announce that the 2021 AthFest Music & Arts Festival did not receive its final permit from the Athens-Clarke County (ACC) government due to the high number of current COVID-19 cases in the area.  Because the COVID-19 community spread numbers were above ACC’s threshold to permit special events, the county will not issue a final permit for the 2021 AthFest Music & Arts Festival scheduled for September 24 - September 26.  

We are incredibly disappointed by the cancellation, and we hope our community’s numbers improve drastically over the next few weeks. While improvements won’t change the status of the 2021 AthFest, there are still a number of upcoming special events that support our community’s local nonprofits and we’d like to see them spared the same outcome as the festival. We can only hope that by next year things will look better for all of us, and we’ll be able to produce the community festival we all love and miss.   

The team of dedicated volunteers and professionals who plan and organize the festival have been working for months on this year’s festival, with sponsors lined up, musicians booked, vendors in place and plans for a great festival in the works, with every intention for it to happen this year. We are heartbroken to say the least, but we understand: the community’s health and safety must come first.  

We strongly urge everyone to follow CDC recommendations for community safety so we all can move on and enjoy events like AthFest in years to come.  We’d like to thank our dedicated sponsors who chose to support this event regardless of the potential for cancellation and we encourage everyone to support those businesses and their products and services. You can see a list of our generous sponsors under the “Sponsors” tab at website.  

We’ll assess the situation in January 2022 when considering moving forward with a 2022 festival.  Until then, thank you to all the musicians, visual artists, vendors, sponsors, and volunteers for your continued support. Hopefully we’ll see you next year.   

AthFest Educates announced plans for the 2021 AthFest Music & Arts Festival to take place in downtown Athens, September 24th to 26th, 2021. The annual celebration of Athens’ creative scene is a multi-day, free, outdoor festival including live performances on three outdoor stages, an artist market, KidsFest, food and retail vendors and multiple beer gardens. The festival returns after being cancelled for 2020 due to Covid-19.  Due to the rescheduling of the festival from summer to fall, this year’s festival will not include the usual Club Crawl at music venues.  

Jill Helme, AthFest Educates Executive Director, said, “We're thrilled to be producing the festival we love once again and to be bringing the community together to celebrate Athens music and art. AthFest has been very lucky to have generous sponsors over the past 25 years and we're hoping the businesses and individuals that have supported us in the past will be able to do so again this year. Producing an event in this environment is challenging for all event organizers, both logistically and financially, and moving the festival to September adds a few new variables for us, but we're planning carefully and we know the community will be supportive.”

The festival takes place Friday. September 24th from 5pm to 10pm, Saturday, September 25th from noon to 10pm, and Sunday, September 26th from 12:30p to 8pm. There will be music on both the Main Stage (Washington/Pulaski) and on the Hull St. Stage (Hull/Hancock) as well as on a KidsFest stage (Washington/Lumpkin). This year’s music will be almost entirely Athens-centered. Athens bands interested in playing this year’s festival can find out more about the process on the website.  

Helme adds: “This year's festival will heavily feature our Athens musicians and visual artists. We are incredibly proud of the gifts these folks share with our community and the culture they are so instrumental in building. After more than a year of having to table their talents, we want to give them the stage, quite literally, to showcase their craft.”

KidsFest is a free family event that will kick-off Friday night when, from 6pm to 9pm, the UpNext Showcase takes over the KidsFest stage, with performances by middle/high school performers. Saturday and Sunday KidsFest will be in full force with activities, demonstrations, performances and exhibits by and for Athens’ youngest festival goers, including performances on the KidsFest Stage by step teams, dance troupes and musical acts. 

Sponsorships, merchandise, donations and beer sales are the main fundraising elements of the festival, with all proceeds going to AthFest Educates. The local nonprofit awards grants to teachers and community educators for high quality music and arts experiences and equipment for Athens area K-12 youth. More about AthFest Educates is at  The organization is also producing its annual fall fundraiser, the AthHalf Half Marathon & 5K, on October 23-24, 2021.  AthFest is funded in part by a CEP grant administered by the Athens Downtown Development Authority.

Media Contact: Rachel Allen 706-490-7188