The Arts Are Back! Live events, festivals return after a year of pandemic closure and streaming

Working: A Musical at the Alliance Theatre.

With most of Georgia’s pandemic restrictions lifted by the governor and the accelerated rollout of the vaccine, Intown arts organizations are returning to live performances and events this month. And while it’s not a complete return to “normalcy,” being able to see a play, concert, Broadway show, and stroll through a weekend art festival is a step in the right direction.

Of course, there will still be COVID-19 precautions in place. Most organizations will still be practicing social distancing and many will require masks, so be sure to check the precautions before you buy your tickets and head to the venue.

You can also check out Intown’s shiny new Rough Draft Atlanta events calendar featuring things to do around the city at calendar.roughdraftatlanta.com

Happening Now

State Farm Arena
The Downtown venue will host its first entertainment event in more than a year May 7-8 with the “In Real Life Comedy Tour” featuring Mike Epps, DC Young Fly, Lavell Crawford, Karlous Miller, and Kountry Wayne. Tickets were selling out fast due to reduced capacity in the arena, so be sure to visit statefarmarena.com to snag yours.


Virginia-Highland Porchfest
& Rock N Run 5K
Taking a cue from the Oakhurst neighborhood’s successful Porchfest (which is set to return in the fall), VaHi’s event is set for May 8 from noon to 6 p.m. Porches along five streets will host live music from 56 different musicians and bands, while food trucks will be parked along Barnette Street. Wear a mask and watch for monitors who will be ensuring social distancing. For a list of the bands and to sign up for the accompanying 5K race, visit virginiahighlanddistrict.com/events/porchfest-and-rock-n-run-5k/.

The Threepenny Opera at Atlanta Opera. (Photo by Ken Howard)

Atlanta Opera
The Atlanta Opera is wooing patrons back with two production – “The Threepenny Opera” and “The Threepenny Carmen” – being held outdoors in an open-air tent in the Cobb Energy Centre parking lot through May 9. The Opera made national headlines last fall when it returned to live performances with a pair of shows in the “”Molly Blank Big Tent Series” on the Oglethorpe University campus. The Opera is also collaborating with True Colors Theatre Company on “The Concert for Unity” at Southwest Arts Center on May 9 at 2:30 p.m. featuring Black opera stars. For more information and tickets visit atlantaopera.org.

Variety Playhouse
The Little Five Points hall reopen its doors with concerts by Trevor Hall on May 11 and The Residents on May 17. Visit variety-playhouse.com for tickets and details. 

Alliance Theatre
The Alliance has returned to live performances outside its home at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown. The Under the Tent Series is featuring a concert staging of “Working: A Musical” now through June 6 and the Woody Guthrie-inspired “Songs to Grow On” May 6-16. For tickets and more details, visit alliancetheatre.org

Les Trois Femmes Deux by Mickalene Thomas at the High Museum.

High Museum
The High Museum is stepping up its offerings with a spring and summer of big exhibitions including “Our Good Earth: Rural Life and American Art” and “Underexposed: Women Photographers from the Collection” – both running through Aug. 1 – and the touring “Calder-Picasso” opening on June 26. For tickets and details, visit high.org.

Georgia Tech Arts Skyline Series
Art at Tech is also taking its programming outdoors with the socially-distanced Skyline Series, which continues in May with the Atlanta Ballet (April 30-May 9), Dance Canvas (May 15-16), Terminus School of Modern Ballet (May 17-18). For tickets and details, visit arts.gatech.edu.

Bike to the Future at MODA.

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)
MODA reopened last month for private, hour-long visits for parties of one to 10 people at a time. through May 31. On exhibition is “Bike to the Future,” showcasing the latest in bicycle design featuring bikes from Philippe Starck, Tobias Knockaer, Edison, VanMoof, Civilized Cycles and more. For tickets and information, visit museumofdesign.org

The Masquerade
The iconic music venue is set to bring fans back to Underground Atlanta on June 12 with a show by Hot Mulligan, Heart Attack Man, Meet Me @ The Altar, and Super American. Other upcoming concerts include Tech N9NE (June 16), the Sad Summer Festival including All Time Low and The Story So Far (July 10), and Cody Ko and Noel Miller (July 25). For the full lineup of upcoming shows, visit masqueradeatlanta.com

Festival Fever: Chastain, Ponce, & Piedmont Park
The Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces is restarting its slate of festivals beginning with the Chastain Park Spring Arts & Crafts Festival on May 15-16, Spring Festival on Ponce on June 5-6, and Piedmont Park Arts Festival on Aug. 21-22. For a full calendar of events and details, visit affps.com

SUPERnatural at Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
“SUPER natural: Aerial Art in Motion, Glass Art in Bloom” opens May 15 featuring  a custom-made “skynet” billowing in the air above Storza Woods like a flock of multi-colored birds, while over-scale glass floral sculptures blossom throughout the more formal gardens. The skynet, called “Dream Flora”, is an experiential aerial sculpture by Patrick Shearn of Los Angeles-based Poetic Kinetics, known for its large-scale works of public art; the contemporary glass art is the creation of Seattle artist Jason Gamrath. For details, visit atlantabg.org

Coming Soon

Hamilton at the Fox.

Fox Theatre
The blockbuster musical “Hamilton” presented by Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta will welcome fans back to Fabulous Fox from Aug. 25 to Sept. 26. Other shows and concerts coming in the fall include Chris Tucker Comedy Tour, Allstar Legends of Hip Hop, Bill Burr, Boz Scaggs, Bill Maher, “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” Sarah Brightman, and Widespread Panic’s New Year’s Eve show. For details and tickets, visit foxtheatre.org.

Dogwood Festival
The 85th annual event is now scheduled to take place in Piedmont Park Aug. 6-8. For updates, visit dogwood.org. 

Atlanta Symphony
The ASO will perform famous film scores (at “Movie Magic” live Ameris Bank Amphitheater in Alpharetta on June 26. Tickets are already available at Tickemaster. Symphony Hall reopens on Aug. 22 for “One Night of Queen” performed by Gary Mullin & The Works. Other upcoming live shows include “Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox” (Sept. 8), Alan Parsons Project (Sept. 12), Amos Lee with the ASO (Sept. 24), and Chris Botti with the ASO (Nov. 5). For tickets and a full calendar visit aso.org.

Dragon Con
The annual sci-fi, fantasy, and cosplay fest is selling tickets for its annual Labor Day extravaganza, Sept. 2-6, at dragoncon.org