Modern Skirts Meet, Hotel Fiction and More on Day 1 of September Days | Arts & Culture
A mix of young and old, students and locals, families and pets gathered on the Southern Brewing Company lawn Friday night for the first night of the September Days Festival.
Modern Skirts reunited for just one night after nearly a decade of separation, the latest to occur after Hotel Fiction, Heffner and Fishbug took to the stage. The four groups represent only a fifth of the 20 groups performing at the three-day festival.
The festival, produced by Troy Aubrey and Drew Beskin of Aubrey Entertainment, was held after the cancellation of the AthFest Music & Arts festival for the second year in a row. The Athens-Clarke County government has not granted AthFest an event permit due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. In its place, many artists have turned to various smaller, safer venues to perform.
“I was very happy that at least something was happening,” said Cullen Pynn, a sophomore at the University of Georgia.
The festival, while not quite the same as AthFest which normally features over 100 bands in downtown Athens, has always allowed local musicians to perform in front of never-before-seen crowds for music. local since before the pandemic.
Stella Perkins, lead singer of Fishbug, the opening band, described the energy as “spectacular.”
“I think that was absolutely the best of times… having him here was pretty awesome,” Perkins said. “It sounds a lot like AthFest from a musicians’ point of view: big stage, big sound, big crowd.”
The Southern Brewing Company’s green space spans five acres. In addition to the stage, vendors with tents and two food trucks were set up on the site. Although the masks were recommended by event planners, most festival-goers did not wear them outdoors.
Fishbug was followed by Heffner, a five-strong guitar ensemble who entered the Athens music scene in 2019. Next, Hotel Fiction, a UGA student duo with over 40,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. The pop duo, Jade Long and Jessica Thompson, were joined on stage by a number of accompanying musicians.
In the fourth act, which featured the headliners of the Modern Skirts festival, a large crowd surrounded the stage as participants danced and enjoyed drinks from the brewery. Some festival-goers had come to Athens specifically to see the alternative rock band, which officially disbanded in 2013 but agreed to reunite for the festival.
Hannah Martinez was in attendance on Friday and said she had been to AthFest three or four times in the past. She said she was disappointed but understanding when it was canceled this year. As a mother of children too young to get vaccinated, she had to consider the safety and overcrowding of the festival.
“To me, it feels more laid back, more relaxed,” Martinez said.
The name of the September Days Festival, said event organizer Aubrey, is derived from a Modern Skirts song of the same name. Released in 2004 on the album “Catalog of Generous Men”, the song declares “September days are the happiest days of the year”.
Aubrey hopes the festival will become an annual event.
“Athens needs a fun fall festival,” Aubrey said. AthFest normally takes place in June.
“The guys haven’t signed up, but I would like Modern Skirts to be a headliner again,” Aubrey said.
On Saturday, nine groups perform, including Monsoon, Wieuca and Five Eight. On Sunday, The Pink Stones, Elf Power and Sonderluster will perform with four other groups. Tickets are $ 15 in advance, $ 20 at the door, and $ 35 for a weekend pass. Doors open at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.