Metro Atlanta’s rich music scene is one of the area’s best draws. This distinction was proven anew last weekend after the latest installment of the Amplify Decatur Music Festival.
April 13’s event in Downtown Decatur Square was top-billed by R&B and gospel legend Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy of alternative rock band Wilco. Renowned musicians Julien Baker, Kevn Kinney, and The Bitteroots also took the Amplify Decatur 2019 stage.
Building communities through music and fun
More than just a highly anticipated party for fans of local and live music, Amplify Decatur serves a greater purpose.
The event is the brainchild of Decatur-based non-profit organization Amplify My Community. The group, founded in 2010, adopted a straightforward model. The model called for the staging of a concert or concert series and sending all proceeds to a local charity. Top priorities of its preferred charities are poverty, homelessness, and hunger in the area.
The plan was first tested out in 2011 with a show at Eddie’s Attic, headlined by The Bitteroots, the Lindsay Rakers Band, and Trances Arc.
The idea proved as effective as it was simple. Audiences flooded in to enjoy high-quality musical performances, raising $6,000 for the Decatur Cooperative Ministry. The said group provides sustainable homelessness alleviation and prevention services to at-risk and homeless individuals in DeKalb County.
Based on its early success, Amplify My Community has expanded to Tennessee, North Carolina, and even Virginia. The organization began branding its events under the Amplify banner in 2014.
To date, Amplify My Community has raised more than $300,000 overall – with more than $190,000 in Decatur alone.
Where legends are celebrated…and made
Now on its fourth year, Amplify Decatur continues to impress with its noteworthy performers.
Previous installments were top-billed by the likes of Grammy Award-winning folk, blues, and country musician Lucinda Williams, singer-violinist Amanda Shires, and indie folk band The Lone Bellow.
This year’s lineup was yet another treat for Decatur’s music-loving audience.
Mavis Staples is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, with an illustrious career spanning nearly seven decades. She was a member of the gospel, soul, and R&B group, The Staples. They are remembered for timeless tracks like “I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself,” and “Freedom Highway.”
Staples’ prolific career has included collaborations with music’s most recognizable icons ranging from Ray Charles to Bob Dylan, as well as contemporary hitmakers like The Gorillaz and Arcade Fire.
Jeff Tweedy is best known as the founder of Americana rock band Wilco. The two-time Grammy Award winner recently released a solo record entitled, “Warm.” Coinciding with Amplify Decatur, Tweedy released a companion album called “Warmer,” of which only 5,000 vinyl-only copies have been made available worldwide.
Twenty-three-year-old Julien Baker is a critically acclaimed singer and songwriter whose emotive and haunting style has made her a star in the indie music scene. The Memphis native is a member of alternative rock band Forrister and co-founder of supergroup boygenius, joining fellow indie stars Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus.
Homegrown musical talent is represented in this year’s festival by Kevn Kinney and The Bitteroots.
Kinney is the lead vocalist and songwriter of Georgia Music Hall of Fame-inducted rock band Drivin N Cryin. He has been elevated to cult icon status for being one of the most prolific musicians in the region. Kinney also has several solo acoustic and folk-rock albums released since 1985. These were produced even while he was active with his band.
The Bitteroots is an Atlanta-based jam-rock band that also starred at the first Amplify Decatur event in 2016. The group blends its members’ blues and roots influences to produce six records featuring all-original music.
The next big thing in Decatur’s colorful annual events scene
Amplify Decatur is the signature event among Amplify My Community’s growing line of live performances and concert series. With four successful music festivals under its belt to date, the organization is poised to grow even bigger through time. And it shows: the concerts, as well as everything around them, keep improving each year.
This year’s festival introduced Premium seating, which allotted 100 seats directly in front of the stage. Perks that came with this seating were unlimited beer and wine, as well as access to VIP bathrooms. Premium tickets expanded the Amplify Decatur audience experience, raising the bar over already impressive VIP perks like preferred seating and four complimentary drinks.
Enjoy the lively Decatur lifestyle up close and personal
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