Atlanta Record Label Fest founder Juliett Rowe is doing her part to help create a stronger, tight knit community within Atlanta’s local music scene. It’s not that Atlanta doesn’t already have plenty of community within the music scene, and overall, it’s a generally supportive scene of each other. If you’re paying attention even slightly to local music, there’s mounds of evidence that could be pointed to of the strong, supportive community that does exist. But really, when we are saying we support “each other”, who exactly is each other?
Is this “each other” friends and neighbors, local to a neighborhood in East Atlanta, or Cabbagetown, or Grant Park, or Downtown, or College Park, or Westside, or Decatur, or somewhere else? Maybe “each other” is related to a certain genre of music, whether it be hip hop, folk, post punk, pop, etc. Or perhaps “each other” is as simple as all of your friend’s bands that you love and support no matter what. Sure, community exists in Atlanta already.
Atlanta though, known as a city that’s very spread out and, thus disconnected, presents it’s own challenges to building a strong local music scene through community. If you were to ask anyone nationally what the Atlanta music scene is about, the go to answer would probably be hip hop. The next best answer might be punk rock. That though, doesn’t do justice to the talent that exists in this city. It spreads far wider than just rap and punk with artists all over the city pushing the boundaries and blurring the lines across genres. Still, the problem remains that Atlanta has built pockets of strong communities within, but we aren’t there yet when it comes to community as Atlanta, the city.
a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
The answer lies somewhere right there in the definition, yet Atlanta hasn’t quite built towards the big picture as a “community” who all live together in the same metropolitan area and shares the same interest, music. Instead, Atlanta tends to stick to the smaller communities, either thinking on too small of a level, or dreaming to big and forgetting the middle ground. It’s that middle ground where we need to meet, connect, and build the infrastructure within the music scene together as one community. Atlanta needs a music scene that’s able to match the stellar talent that already exists here.
Luckily, there are plenty of different groups around the city currently who are working towards breaking down the barriers, and helping better connect Atlanta and build the community it deserves. For Juliett Rowe, Atlanta Record Label Fest is her contribution.
On August 20th, the second annual Atlanta Record Label Fest kicked off at Aisle 5, the venue where last year’s first event was held. This year’s event though, took another step forward, expanding to two days, with more record labels, artists playing, and an even more diverse lineup. The big news this year, was the addition of record labels outside of Atlanta, expanding the community reach to surrounding areas such as Athens, and their vibrant music scene.
For Juliett Rowe and Atlanta Record Label Fest, they’ve taken a unique approach to building the Atlanta community, putting the record labels front and center; the labels who are often the lifeblood behind the scenes. This year’s Record Label Fest’s diversity covered the gamete with labels such as FULL PLATE (Atlanta – rap), Fall Break Records (Athens/Atlanta – jangle pop/psychedelia), Madison Records (Atlanta – pop/indie/alternative), Psych Army (Atlanta – psychedelic), Underground Field Recordings (Atlanta – noise/experimental/hip hop), and everything in between. For two days, fans, supporters and industry professionals, came out to Aisle 5 to browse, shop, connect, and listen to a small sampling of the talent that exists within Atlanta. Each day, tables were set up along the Aisle 5 walls with a different daily lineup of labels showing off vinyls, cassettes, t-shirts and more of their roster’s merch.
Not only could you network and find out more about each of the labels by talking to the people behind them at their tables, but each label had one of their artists play a set on the Aisle 5 stage, showing not only what the labels are about, but giving patrons the opportunity to see the artists live and possibly discover something new. Atlanta and it’s surrounding areas has more than it’s share of talented artists, and the Atlanta Record Label Fest went into the weekend with one of the stronger local lineups around already. A few last minute cancellations from out of town labels brought a mad scramble to replace their spots with additional labels and artists such as last minute add, DEEP STATE and their label Loud Baby Sounds; who floored the Aisle 5 crowd on Sunday night, again showing off the wealth of artists that exist in not only Atlanta, but also deep within the state.
The final label and artist lineup at Atlanta Record Label Fest 2016:
Saturday August 20
Slow Parade (Cottage Recording Co.)
Chelsea Shag (Madison Records)
Small Reactions (Bear Kids Recordings)
Monday/Friday, Willi Dudat, 4-IZE, Blctxt Contxt, and Boog Brown (Working Class Music Group)
Dr. Conspiracy (Psych Army Intergalactic)
Sunday August 21
Check out more scenes below from Atlanta Record Label Fest 2016, and make sure to follow ARLF on socials to keep up-to-date as they start preparations for next year’s fest and continue to work on uniting the Atlanta community.
Additional photos by Mike Gerry from the second annual Atlanta Record Label Fest at Aisle 5: