Crowds gather at Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown for a recent Winddown Wednesday concert.
Crowds gather at Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown for a recent WindDown Wednesday concert.

By Beth Clark

Atlanta is famous for its mind-numbing rush hour traffic, but on Wednesdays during the summer you can forgo it entirely by relaxing after work at Centennial Park. Not only is it good to be out in the sunshine after a day in the cubicle, you’ll also be treated to free live music.

Every Wednesday from April to September, an event called Wednesday WindDown fills the air with music that reminds you that summer is about frivolity,  laughing with friends, and shaking a tail-feather or two. From 5:30 to 8 p.m., Centennial’s Southern Company Amphitheater is chock full of people ready to jam and have a good time. Some have even arrived more than an hour beforehand to secure themselves a good spot.

Anywhere you sit will give you a great view of the stage, and for nearly three hours, your body will rock to a great lineup live jazz, funk, soul, or blues music. Check Centennial Park’s website for an up-to-date list of the acts slated to perform for the next two months. When I went on Aug. 6, it was Jamaica’s 52nd Independence Day, and the musical acts played songs to celebrate the Jamaican culture and spirit, sponsored by WRFG 89.3 FM. You can get a look and listen at this link.

Winddown Wednesday 1If you plan to attend, the first step is to invite everyone you know; Wednesday WindDown is a great opportunity to catch up with friends, get the homebodies out of the house, and make memories together. Next, you might want to bring a cooler with food and drinks (no glass, please), as you will work up an appetite. (But you’re welcome to buy refreshments from the food stalls at the park.) And finally, think of your bum: do you want to sit in a chair or on a blanket? A blanket can accommodate more people, but it is harder to pop up and down to dance from a blanket, so choose wisely!

The Southern Company Amphitheater is located near the park entrances closest to CNN Center. There is ample parking in nearby decks and parking lots, on the street if you snag a spot (always pay the meter!), or take MARTA or hoof it over.

Beth Clark is a writer and dancer living in Atlanta. Curiosity is her compass, and this city has irrevocably stolen her heart. Find more of her explorations at

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.