Party in the Park Atlanta 2013 – Review + Photos

Passion Pit - Jon Whittaker

Passion Pit – Jon Whittaker

Let me begin this review by saying that Yeasayer might be one of the best bands I’ve seen live in years. I’d heard from a handful of friends that their sound carried over seamlessly from recordings to their live set, but I wasn’t expecting the performance they delivered at Party in the Park Atlanta this past weekend. And they were just the second act of the day.

Held in downtown Atlanta’s beautiful Centennial Olympic Park, the second annual Party in the Park hosted thousands of attendees eager to see local opening act The Electric Sons, along with Yeasayer, Grouplove, Ellie Goulding, and headlining act Passion Pit. The electro-heavy lineup didn’t keep fans of all ages from enjoying yet another successful year of what is already shaping up to be one of the best small festivals in the South.

We arrived at Centennial Park just before gates opened and The Electric Sons played the opening set of the day. The band clearly spent the past month doing nothing but promoting the event to their fans, as a long line of fans donned in TES sunglasses and merch were wrapped down the street. As the gates opened, their fans rushed towards the stage – accompanied by the morph men from the band’s video for “Breathing Electricity”. The Electric Sons have a good thing going for them and I’m excited to see what their future holds. They’ll be playing a show at Terminal West in Atlanta on 5.31 if you’re interested in seeing them.

Party in the Park 2013 - Jon Whitaker

Party in the Park 2013 – Jon Whitaker

Yeasayer took the stage next and received a warm welcome from an audience that seemed largely unfamiliar with most of their work. Nonetheless, the sea of rompers was churning shortly into the first song – picking up motion as the band played through more well-known songs like “Ambling Alps” etc.. The band was eager, kinetic, and comfortable during their first time in Atlanta in months. Yeasayer provided the perfect amount of “weird” for a day that was largely dominated by acts with far more radio-friendly sets – and one long haired frat star who wouldn’t quit yelling “play Sleepyhead” during their set. Wrong band.

The weather continued to cooperate as Grouplove took the stage – keyboardist Hannah Hooper clad in a skeleton-print morphsuit and sunhat, swirling and stomping around the other members. Atlanta loves Grouplove. There’s no debating that. Since I first saw them perform a special acoustic set at The Stuffing last November, I knew that had some serious fans in town but those paled in comparison to the dozens of young girls along the front barricade of the stage. Here’s to an equally-danceable follow up to Never Trust A Happy Song….

red stripe musicEllie Goulding was… well, what you would expect; bass-heavy, anthemic, and responsive to the audience. It makes complete sense that she would be on this lineup, but it wasn’t a highlight for me by any means. Atlanta does have some great dancers though..

As headlining act Passion Pit took the stage, the downtown Atlanta skyline provided a perfect backdrop for a day well spent. had a crew at their show at The Masquerade last year, which was incredibly exciting in that environment, but seeing them in front of the thousand of screaming fans was exhilarating.

We won’t gripe, but we would have loved to see another regional act on the bill. Atlanta and Athens have some of the best emerging talent in the country and I’m sure there’s a number of bands that would have loved to be a part of the festival billing (and could have held their own).

You can go ahead and send a big “thank you” to Rival Entertainment – the Atlanta-based company behind PitP – because on June 14th & 15th they’re hosting the Red Stripe Mid Summer Music & Food Festival, a two-day music, food, and beer festival with a full day of local entertainment and performances by Webster,  Connor Christian & Southern Gothic, The Whiskey Gentry, The Soul Rebels… and EDWARD SHARPE & THE MAGNETIC ZERO’S! How ’bout it… We’ll see you soon!

Words by Sean Pritchard – Photos by Jon Whittaker (Full Album)