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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Athfest 2011: Lera Lynn vs. the lightning strike

Friday, June 24th, 2011
Lera Lynn

As the sky opened up and rain poured down upon the eager fans standing before the main stage, local singer-songwriter and this year's Flagpole Awards winner for Best Americana, Lera Lynn, began her set accompanied by a rockin' full band. The southern indie folk sound, led by her lovely powerful voice and a great beat, entranced the crowd as she played through the growing storm. Strong winds and the ever-approaching thunder became part of the set as it blended with her music almost seamlessly. The rain began to fall in torrents as lightning flashes illuminated the cloud-covered sky, but still we stayed to see this girl play. Then, in what is simultaneously my favorite moment from Athfest 2011 as well as the most overwhelmingly terrifying event I've witnessed in a while, the drummer lowered his drumstick towards the drum to create the final beat of a song when an insanely loud crack of thunder echoed through the air. For a moment, everyone froze in time, consumed by shock at Zeus's own contribution to Lera Lynn's tune... And then, the crowd ran for cover, utterly frightened but wildly energized by the experience.

Along with many of the fans, I huddled under the 40 Watt marquee, determined to keep all of my electronics dry as I watched the festival's volunteers rush to cover all of the amps and equipment on stage with plastic. It was not long before news came to us of the source of that inexplicable crash. Apparently, the roof of Trapeze, a bar right next to the Hull Street stage, was struck by lightning, sending bricks flying through the air. Mercifully, there was only one person who sustained minor injuries (so minor that they refused medical help) which is a miracle considering the thousands of people in the vicinity. We, the people of Athens, are indeed a lucky bunch!

Waiting for the sky to clear and hoping to avoid any more incidents with the vicious lightning, I remained by the door of the 40 Watt for quite a while as the Athfest volunteers began sweeping the water off the main stage to prepare for the next band. Turns out, my choice of location was just brilliant because, through the door, I had the chance to feed my ears a taste of 'Powers' incredible tunes as they did their soundcheck inside the venue. Tragically, I've never seen this band with my own two eyes yet, but now having heard their sound and having missed their unbelievable shows two Athfests in a row, they top my list of bands to catch in action as soon as I can! Finally, after what seemed like an hour but was probably not nearly that long, the storm ceased, leaving behind it the coolest temperatures we've had at Athfest in over three years. Making my way out of the cozy little alcove, I headed for the main stage, eager to find out just what would happen next!

For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2011, from preparation guides to articles on some of the best featured bands and shows, click here! More entries on all the bands and madness of the festival will be posted daily, so be sure to check back often. Plus, get ready for show footage and Athfest vlogs coming soon to the Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel as well!

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