Feel the music this summer in Athens, Georgia! Music can be found anywhere, whether it's a one-night show at the Georgia Theatre or a multi-day extravaganza like AthFest and PopFest. However, there are some lesser known music events that are a favorite of locals—one in particular is the Sunflower Music Series.
The Sunflower Music Series is a yearly outdoor music concert series held at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, located off of South Milledge Avenue. This series runs throughout the summer and is held in the beautiful Flower Garden. Now in its 17th season, the Sunflower Music Series has placed both world-renowned and new-on-the-scene musicians in a world-class botanical environment. With a wide variety of music, ranging from folk all the way to jazz, fans both young-and-old love to spread out in the greenery of the beautiful garden, enjoy the smell of the blooming flowers, and float away to all of the music that surrounds them. To find out more about this event, I spoke with Williams Tonks, the director of Facilities and Visitor Services at the Botanical Gardens.
Why a concert set in the Garden? The Sunflower Series, now in its 17th season, was designed as a way to bring some of the original music for which Athens is internationally known to Garden lovers, and a chance for music lovers to have a concert experience in a Garden setting.
What kind of music genres can event-goers expect to hear? Usually Americana-oriented, original music producing artists, with occasional forays into jazz, world music and Klezmer music.
Who are some of the featured artists this season? Caroline Aiken, String Theory, The Whiskey Gentry and David Lowery
- Caroline Aiken's rich music history includes recording and performing with Bonnie Raitt and the Indigo Girls, opening for Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, Beach Boys, Janis Ian, and Richie Havens. Caroline appears in regional and national festivals, radio shows, workshops and concert series.
- Originally formed in 1993, String Theory plays old time, bluegrass and Americana music. While the lineup has evolved and changed throughout its history, the band has consistently been made up of some of Athens’ finest acoustic musicians.
- Atlanta-based band The Whiskey Gentry just released their third full-length studio album entitled Dead Ringer this spring. On it, the husband and wife duo of Lauren Staley & Jason Morrow and bandmates have created an effort that builds on many of the sounds of their previous albums – incorporating deep country, Americana, honky-tonk, bluegrass and a stiff shot of gritty rock ’n’ roll
- David Lowery is a mathematician, writer, musician, producer and serial entrepreneur based in Richmond, VA and Athens, GA.
When are the concerts held? The concerts are held monthly, always on a Tuesday, from 7-9 pm, in the Flower Garden of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.
How much is a season ticket? $50. Individual concert tickets can be purchased for $15.
What is your favorite part of the event? Strolling in the display gardens with music wafting through the air.
As people prepare to come for the event, do you have any insider tips for concert goers to get the most out of their experience? Bring a blanket and whatever picnic supplies you want-the Garden provides beverages and light snacks as part of the ticket price. Lawn chairs are allowed on the uppermost of the three tiers of grass in the Flower Garden.
Looking for a summer getaway? The Sunflower Music series is just one of the fabulous music events that Athens, Georgia has to offer. Explore some more of our wide-ranging musical events and start booking your summer trip today! We'd love to have you here in The Classic City!