A six-pack of SweetWater 420 Fest memories

unConventional hit the second day of Sweetwater 420 Fest at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday (April 21) and picked up a six-pack of micro-stories that encapsulate what this homegrown Atlanta festival is all about.


Andrea Buchanan, 31, a business design student at the Atlanta branch of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), hung out with her family and hula-hooped to the tunes of Grammy-winning bluegrass act The Infamous Stringdusters. She was in a familiar spot, across Marietta Street from the Georgia World Congress Center’s indoor corridor that connects the convention center to the Omni Hotel and the College Football Hall of Fame. She has worked on SCAD’s design project to reimagine this important gateway to the country’s 4th largest convention center.


In what’s become an annual tradition, good buddies Michael Daniels (left) and Kahtan Araim (right), graduating seniors at Georgia State University, attend the 420 Fest together. Araim’s birthday is April 18, and he counts on celebrating with Daniels every year as 420 Fest falls on or around Earth Day (April 22) annually.


Nursing students Macie Bushell (left), Chelsea Pitock (right), and Olivia Hundt (center), got to the festival early Saturday afternoon to claim a front spot right up next to the stage barricades. They took turns guarding their prime viewing space, waiting roughly seven hours for the evening’s headliner, Tedeschi Trucks Band. Bushell was so excited, she said she might cry when the band took the stage as the sun began to set over Centennial Olympic Park.


On the periphery of the festival, for those not inclined to jam elbow-to-elbow with the rest of the crowds closer to the stages, the inflatable hammock was the way to go. Some folks brought their inflatable hammocks to the park, some purchased them on site, setting up de facto camps of ultimate chill zones. Ben Mazzucco of Newnan (pictured), brought an inflatable hammock with him, but purchased another one at the festival, a Wind Pouch, so that there was enough pillowy comfort to go around among family and friends.

              MOTHER EARTH

The Sweetwater 420 Fest was founded as an Earth Day environmental celebration, and the event’s sustainability focus includes support of local charities, waste reduction and the Planet 420 Eco-Village featuring hands-on environmental education. A new twist this year is the festival’s inaugural charity auction, where patrons can bid on items supplied by artists performing at the three-day event, such as the D’ Angelico guitar (pictured below) signed by artist-in-residence Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. Also, festival-goers are encourage to use steel reusable cups (pictured below) for their beer and other beverage refills – it reduces the amount of plastic waste.


Guitarist Derek Trucks (left) has rock ‘n’ roll royal bloodlines. His uncle is Allman Brothers Band founding drummer Butch Trucks, and the younger Trucks was named after Derek and the Dominoes, the supergroup that included Eric Clapton and legendary guitarist Duane Allman. Derek Trucks eventually wound up playing Allman’s guitar parts when he officially joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1999. Meanwhile, Trucks’ drumming brother Duane is a member of Widespread Panic and the Hardworking Americans. Music is clearly about family for Trucks, who is married to bandmate Susan Tedeschi, a powerful and soulful vocalist and guitarist, who was already nominated for a Grammy before marrying Trucks. They each had their own namesake bands, but officially merged forces in 2010 to form the Tedeschi Trucks Band.