ATLANTA FEST -- JUNE 14-16
The Christian rock scene functions much like the gospel music world did in the 20th century. Religious-minded acts from Creed to Evanescence often emerge from that community to find success in the secular world. But Atlanta Fest, held at Six Flags Over Georgia, isn't just a music festival. "It is the perfect opportunity for a family with teens or a church youth group to experience God in a real-world setting," reads the release on its website. Christians this year will rock to the sounds of Third Day, Aaron Shust and more than 40 pop, rock, hip-hop and folk performances, education seminars and Christian fellowship. $30 for one-day concert, $61 for one-day package, $77 for two-day package, $92 for three-day package. 10 a.m. Six Flags Over Georgia, 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell. 800-783-8839. www.atlantafest.com.
WILCO -- JUNE 19
As one of the towering bands of the past two decades, Wilco has left a complicated legacy. From popularizing alt-country with A.M. and Being There to expanding into experimental rock via 2004's A Ghost Is Born, Jeff Tweedy and Co. evolve as frequently as the times, often rendering past achievements irrelevant. It remains to be seen if the group's latest, Sky Blue Sky (released this month), ranks among its best. In the meantime, a world tour is in the offing. Dour indie-rock trio Low opens. $38. 8 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater, Stella Drive at Pool Road. 404-223-2227. www.classicchastain.com.
ATHFEST -- JUNE 20-24
Athens may be the least likely American city to enjoy a reputation as a major music market. A sleepy college town with a population of 100,000, it has a rock lineage that spans from legendary '80s bands such as R.E.M. and the B-52's to current indie stars such as Of Montreal and Elf Power. AthFest spotlights the depth of this closely knit arts community, featuring hundreds of visual artists, performers and groups. The festival produces a compilation CD, co-sponsors an awards show with Flagpole magazine, holds a much-beloved KidsFest and attracts thousands of people from across the South. This year's headliners are jam band Perpetual Groove (Friday), power-pop contenders the Whigs (Saturday) and mighty Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers (Sunday). $15 for evening wristband, free for daytime outdoor events. Downtown Athens. 706-548-1973. www.athfest.com.
STONE MOUNTAIN GOSPEL CELEBRATION -- JUNE 23
Now in its third year, the Stone Mountain Gospel Celebration draws together families for a day of spirit-raising church music. Hosted by Antioch Urban Ministries and Praise WPZE-FM (97.5), the event will include local and national gospel artists, step-dancing teams, spoken-word acts and speakers. $24 general admission, $19 for children ages 3-11. 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Stone Mountain Park, Highway 78 East. 770-498-5690. www.stonemountainpark.com.
CORNDOGORAMA -- JULY 12-15
Since launching in 1996, Corndogorama has grown into Atlanta's biggest indie-rock event. After years of being held at the Earl, it moves over to the new Lenny's Bar, where event organizers promise plenty of parking and few traffic hassles. Once you get to Lenny's, you can enjoy a dunking booth, tricycle races, corn-dog jousting, the Queen Corndog pageant and other activities. Competitive-eating competitions include the corn-dog challenge and, more intriguingly, a cricket-crunch challenge. More than 60 local and national bands will perform, including the Selmanaires, Snowden, Tenement Halls, Gringo Star and many others. Event details are still being confirmed, so check www.corndogorama.com for more info. $5 for day pass, $7 for night pass. Lenny's Bar, 486 Decatur St. 404-577-7721. www.lennysbar.com.
VANS WARPED TOUR -- JULY 18
This 12-year-old punk-rock bonanza has become an American summer tradition and a great showcase for local bands, too. The gutter-punk-friendly Heart Attacks landed a deal with Epitaph after playing a few shows on the 2005 tour, and pop-punk band Cartel made the leap to MTV after appearing on the 2006 edition. The big news this year is that Bad Religion, one of the classic hardcore bands, will reform for a summer jaunt. Other highlights include Coheed and Cambria and Meg & Dia. Atlanta bands Norma Jean and Family Force 5 appear on select dates, and expect the side stages to include many other local contenders. $28.75. 11 a.m. HiFi Buys Amphitheatre, 2002 Lakewood Way. 404-443-5090. www.warpedtour.com.
INTERNATIONAL SOUL MUSIC SUMMIT -- JULY 25-29
Last summer, Atlanta DJ and syndicated radio "Voice of Soul" Terry Bello organized an impromptu soul-music gathering. With only two weeks notice, he managed to bring together nearly 300 people to the downtown Marriott, including stars such as Jaguar Wright, Eric Roberson and Peven Everett. This year's edition hopes to expand upon that success, with a focus on bringing underground soul to the mainstream. Expect more panel discussions, nighttime concerts and jam sessions, and an awards ceremony. $125 for presale passes, $175 after July 6. Atlanta Marriott Downtown, 160 Spring St. www.soulsummitonline.com.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE -- AUG. 7
In the "American Idol" generation, Justin Timberlake is the moonwalking, ass-shaking man who would be king. Born and raised in Memphis, the boyish-looking singer came of age in the early '90s with "The Mickey Mouse Club" (along with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera), led the boy band N'Sync to gargantuan record sales and teen adulation, and now reigns as a pop ubiquity on par with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. His saving grace, the meaning to his celebrity, is that he's genuinely talented. "My Love" and "Rock Your Body" are as sharp and infectious as any singles released during this decade, and his "SexyBack" catchphrase summarized a cultural moment. The world shudders. $54-$181. 7:30 p.m. Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway. 770-813-7500. www.gwinnettcenter.com.
OPEN MIC MADNESS -- AUG. 13-18
The premise behind Open Mic Madness is basic: Draw together more than 100 acts, ask them to perform one song, and choose a winner after a few elimination rounds. It's the relative simplicity of the competition – any solo musician or band can enter – that makes it so great. Held over six nights at Smith's Olde Bar, Open Mic Madness becomes a showcase for Atlanta's diverse music community, and the number of industry players (journalists, radio programmers, major and indie label representatives) it attracts makes for a great networking opportunity. Past winners include Bain Mattox (2002), the Whigs (2003), Sovus Radio (2005) and Dead Confederate (2006). Who will triumph in 2007? Visit www.openmicmadness.com to apply. Ticket prices and times TBA. Smith's Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Ave. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com.
DRIVE INVASION -- SEPT. 1-2
At Drive Invasion 2006 over Labor Day weekend, there were post-sunset screenings of B-movie schlock such as 2001 Maniacs and the original Gone in 60 Seconds, galleries of hot rods and customized cars, burlesque shows and rockabilly rave-ups from Southern Culture on the Skids and the Gore Gore Girls, among others. Details for this year's installment have yet to be announced, but you can reasonably expect more of the anarchic same. The whole event becomes a distinctively Southern camp-culture celebration, complete with BYOB twice over (brought-in beer and barbecue grills). Check the website for information. Ticket prices and times TBA. Starlight Six Drive-In Theatres, 2000 Moreland Ave. 404-627-5786. www.starlightdrivein.com.