5 things you MUST DO at SweetWater’s 15th annual 420 Fest this weekend

Written by Tiffany Clemons / Photography by Michelle Stancil
for The Southern Rambler Live Music and Coastal Lifestyle Magazine

Follow us on Instagram at: @tsrlivemusic @tiffdontkillmyvibe @mcspixs

SweetWater Brewing Company and Happy Ending Productions, organizers of the three-day music festival, have put together one of their best lineups yet. Topping the roster is Widespread Panic, who will perform 4 sets across two nights, followed by The Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Rebelution, Moon Taxi, Turkuaz, Knower, Flow Tribe and “boatloads” more.

So, while you are running from set to set during this non-stop music filled weekend, make sure you stop to EXPERIENCE everything the fest has to offer including these five MUST DO things:

  1. CELEBRATE the earth! Earth Day is April 22 this year, but what you may not know is that 420 Fest originated as an Earth Day celebration 15 years ago. Since, SweetWater has continued its efforts towards being eco-friendly and sustainable, as well as working to protect our waterways. Because without good water, you can’t make good beer. So, while you are at Centennial Park celebrating, make sure you visit the Planet 420 Eco-Village featuring hands-on workshops that will teach you how to be more eco-friendly in your own day-to-day life. Other 420 Fest green tips include riding your bike, (there will be complimentary bike valet provided by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition) recycling your recyclable beer cup, (there will be a lot of those!) throwing anything that you can’t recycle in the Big Belly Solar Trash Compactor, and don’t forget to bring an empty water bottle to fill at one of the free water stations on site. For more information, visit the fest’s Sustainability page.
  2. SHOP the Artist Market and Merch Tent. This year’s poster was designed by Matt Leunig who is known for his work with String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, and Primus to name a few. Posters will be limited as well as merch items inspired by it. Word on the street is that you will be able to catch Matt sometime during the weekend at the Experience tent just across the way from the merch tent. On the other side of merch tent is the Artist Market where dozens of artisans will be to share their art with you. If you are looking for something more, check out the 4:19 Auction. Auction items can include concert tickets, signed memorabilia, photos and more with proceeds benefitting performing artists’ charity of choice. TEXT 420Fest to 243725 to register.
  3. MEET & GREET your favorite artists at the Relix Tent. So far, they have announced Friday’s schedule that includes Cory Wong (of Vulfpeck) at 4:30pm, John Medeski’s Mad Skillet at 5 and Pink Talking Fish at 5:30. Follow @420Fest on Instagram for more announcements. You also never know who will show up at the Experience tent!
  4. DRINK BEER. This one is pretty much a no brainer at 420 Fest, but only at 420 Fest can you try SweetWater’s artist inspired brews. Together they created one of a kind brews including “IPPPPA,” a session IPA coming in at 5.2% ABV with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, “Already Gold,” a crisp light refreshing 5% ABV golden ale with Iration, and “Fruition’s Fire,” a 4.7% ABV Berliner Weiss style with peaches and fresh jalapenos with Fruition. There will be more beer, meet and greets, panels, and more at the SweetWater Experience tent all weekend. Visit the EXPERIENCE tent page for a full list of beer offerings and tent schedule. In between brews, don’t forget to EAT FOOD at one of the many food trucks in the Food Village and most importantly STAY HYDRATED!
  5. EVERYONE ORCHESTRA. You may or may not have noticed the “Everyone Orchestra” on the lineup. Well, who the heck is that? WELL, it’s actually an extremely jam band compiled of many of your favorite artists and literally a ONE NIGHT ONLY type of set. A definite MUST DO. The orchestra will be conducted by Matt Butler and will consist of Natalie Cressman and James Casey of Trey Anastasio Band, Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass, Anders Osborne, Jon Cleary, Ryan Stasik of Umphrey’s McGee, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, Mike Dillon of Les Claypool and Mimi Naja of Fruition. This insane jam will go down ON Saturday 4/20 at 2:30pm on the SweetWater Main Stage

If you don’t have tickets to the fest yet, you can still purchase tickets online or at will call. If you are looking to run to the fest, check out the SweetWater 420 Fest 5k Road Race with available packages that include both your race registration and festival wristband.

Before I head to Atlanta, let me offer you one PRO-TIP… pack your rain boots. The current forecast calls for rain on Friday morning. While the Centennial Park lawn is typically green and luscious, it has been known to turn into a giant mud pit after a rainfall. Take it from me and bring them just in case. The rest of the weekend’s forecast looks perfect for festing and I’ll raise my SweetWater 420 Strain G13 IPA in hopes that it’ll dry right up. See you there!

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