By Jhoni Jackson
There’s only one strictly local fest in Atlanta that dares to reach all points of the city’s vast spectrum of genres: Little 5 Fest, which goes down on Saturday, Sept. 29. The day-long event completely encompasses the eclectic neighborhood of Little Five Points, consuming venues like Aurora Coffee, the Clothing Warehouse, Tijuana Garage and the Star Bar to feature more than 90 bands.
Bryan Bankovich, Creative Director of Newmerica, the marketing outlet known for its wacky video promos, says this installment is about three times bigger than last year’s. Staple promoters and businesses, from Criminal Records to SMKA to El Myr to Sevananda to Team Luis, have curated showcases highlighting bands, electronic artists, hip-hop artists, DJs and even spoken word.
“Sevananda has their own artist coalition and they’re doing a showcase at the Five Spot during the day, which is pretty much…all the members who do spoken word or are in their own band. I think that’s a really interesting thing because we’re really trying to branch out and make it, across the board, a multi genre type of event where it’s not just hipsters or punk rockers, where it’s a nice cross-section of people. A lot of times there’s not a lot of crosspollination, so we want to get people to see other kinds of music. Malissa [Sole of Fourth Ward Heroes] had a big hand in that, bringing in other types of music,” Bankovich notes.
Justin Sias, member of Starfighter and longtime player in the Atlanta music scene, founded the fest in 2005 as the Other Sound. He changed the name to Little 5 Fest in 2011, the same year Bankovich joined. This year Malissa Sole and her crew (Embassy Recordings, SMKA, Whynatte) are also on board, in addition to Team Luis and Pretty Ambitious Records.
As if the lineup wasn’t already hitting all the high notes, this go ‘round there’s even a musical. Storied theatre 7 Stages will offer a free matinee performance of its original Dracula: The Rock Opera to the first 75 fest pass-holders through its doors.
“I think that’s a cool thing in terms of a festival,” Bankovich says. “And it’s a rock opera on top of that, which I think is really cool. It really adds to the charm of the whole thing.”
Expansive to say the least, Little 5 Fest’s array of acts includes locally beloved bands like Abby Gogo, Ocha la Rocha, the Forty-Fives, Anna Kramer & the Lost Cause, Hawks and Noot d’ Noot. Spencer Garn of Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics will perform twice, once in the Little Vinyl Lounge downstairs at the Star Bar (4:15 p.m.) and again at 10 p.m. as a DJ at El Myr, where artists will spin throughout the entire day.
The Coathangers have a similar schedule with a DJ set at El Myr around 9 p.m. followed by a performance around midnight at the Star Bar. They’re also named by the trouble-makin’ hellian in Newmerica’s Maury Povich spoof:
Like the 7 Stages musical, Bankovich and company’s marketing adds its fair share of fun to the fest. Check out the fest’s Facebook page for more videos, as well as some hilarious images.
Passes are available for $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Individual venues are also offering tickets for their own showcases. The historic Highland Inn is knocking 50 percent off room costs for the night, so making a real outing of Little 5 Fest is quite the steal.
“For next to nothing, you can spend the whole day down here!” Bankovich says. “You’ll pay half-rate of a room, 30 or 40 bucks, plus a $15 ticket. For under 60 bucks, you get to party like this.”
For more information, see www.littlefivefestatlanta.com.