The Shaky Boots music festival was originally staged in 2015 in Kennesaw. After its first year, producer Tim Sweetwood changed the theme to EDM-themed Shaky Beats. But Shaky Boots will return in 2020. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Shaky Boots will relaunch in 2020 as Shaky Beats is shelved

Country music festival will take place in Central Park

Say goodbye to Shaky Beats and hello again to Shaky Boots.

The EDM-heavy festival – a counterpart to the annual alt-rock gathering known as Shaky Knees – will not return in 2020. However, the country-focused Shaky Boots will return for the first time since its inaugural outing in 2015.

Tim Sweetwood, president of C3 Presents and the founder of the Shaky brand, said the decision to shelve Shaky Beats, which has attracted top-name electronic dance music names such as Martin Garrix, Zedd and Kaskade, as well as hip-hop artists Nas and Ludacris, was purely logistical.

“Those shows are meant for loud sound systems and late nights, and that’s hard to pull off in a downtown metropolis,” Sweetwood said Thursday evening. “I want to play it louder and with pyro until 1 a.m. The electronic scene has logistics that I can’t do.”

Like Shaky Knees, the Shaky Beats festival was staged at Central Park near downtown Atlanta. 

The 2020 edition of Shaky Knees will be back at that location May 1-3, while Shaky Boots will command the park May 8-9. It’s a setup that allows Sweetwood to keep his staging and production intact for consecutive weekends – a situation that wasn’t possible when he produced Shaky Boots in 2015.

“I wanted a sister festival to Shaky Knees, which was Boots, and they were supposed to be in the same location. That location was taken from me, so they had to split. This will go back to the original plan,” Sweetwood said.

While the first Shaky Boots boasted a lineup including Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Dwight Yoakum, Dierks Bentley, Sara Evans, Ricky Skaggs, Jason Isbell and Kristian Bush, its location – Kennesaw State University – wasn’t particularly conducive to a music festival. 

The 2020 setup will mirror Shaky Knees’, but on a slightly smaller scale (likely two stages instead of the four utilized by Knees) and a crowd estimate of 15,000-20,000 per day.

As for the lineup, Sweetwood anticipates announcing it in about six weeks – after the country-themed ATLive concerts at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Nov. 15 and 17. The acts, he said, will be “a hair different” than the last Shaky Boots incarnation and total more than 20.

“It’s going to be a little less mainstream country,” he said. “You’ll have some elements of that, but also some Americana and folk and old-school outlaw country. Shaky Knees is a version of all things rock, and Shaky Boots is all things country across its many sub-genres.”

Sweetwood, who launched the Exit 111 festival earlier this month in Manchester, Tenn., - Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses and Lynyrd Skynyrd headlined - and produces the Innings Festival in Tempe, Ariz., and Sea.Hear.Now music and surf culture gathering in Asbury Park, N.J., said he’s more likely to bring the Shaky festivals to other cities than re-create any of his other events in Atlanta. 

But for the next few months, his focus is on the South.

“I’m excited (about Shaky Boots). I’m calling it a relaunch, so 2020 will be one of the first years I haven’t had a new festival,” Sweetwood said. “People have come to expect a certain level of entertainment and service at the festivals I do, so I have to make sure to meet that.”

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.  
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