(Sophie Reiss/Profile Desk)

Little Five Points, which their website proclaims is Atlanta’s “hub for culture and creativity,” has displayed the city’s counterculture since the ’70s. With its streets lined with record shops, thrift stores and funky bars, the neighborhood has served as a meet-up spot for Atlantans from all walks of life. 

The streets of Little Five Points were busier than usual on April 6 with hardcore music, local vendors and skateboarders weaving through the commotion. They were taking part in Little 5 Fest — an annual festival that beckons Atlantans to “catch Atlanta’s sickest bands, artists and skaters.” Little 5 Points Business Association and Market Hugs sponsored the event.

The festival took place on Seminole Avenue, the back road behind eclectic clothing store Junkman’s Daughter and Stratosphere Skateboards, with local vendors packed in the street bookended by two musical stages on either side. In the five-minute walk along the vendor-packed street, attendees could get a haircut and a massage, browse handmade jewelry and admire hand-painted clothes. 

Each booth was operated by independent artists and business owners, giving them the chance to interact with each other. Candace Brower is the owner of Pollen8 Houseplants and Landscape Design, a nostalgic film-themed plant shop on Moreland Avenue in Little Five Points. It was Brower’s first time as a vendor at Little 5 Fest. Her plant-filled booth was set up next to the skate stage, where local bands performed against the backdrop of skateboarders gliding up and down makeshift skate ramps. Festival-goers wove in and out of her booth, admiring the brightly painted plant holders. 

Brower emphasized how all the Little 5 Fest vendors collectively contribute to the atmosphere of the event. 

“We’re all like a team,” Brower said. “And we just all work together, and it’s really awesome to be a part of a collective. We all look out for each other, so it’s awesome.”

From 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., local bands filled the two stages as the joyfully chaotic noise spread throughout the street. GutBust, an Atlanta hardcore band, played in the late afternoon on the skate stage. As the lead singer screamed over heavy drums and guitar, audience members opened up a mosh pit in front of the performance. They kicked and shoved with a playful violence as they enjoyed the music, smiles beaming on their faces. 

Known for their genre-bending, aggressive music style and anti-establishment lyrics, hardcore punk bands like GutBust have been contributing to local music scenes, like this one, across the country since the 1970s.   

Lilith Apodaca was one of the moshers. An Atlanta local, she has been “obsessed with music” for over 12 years and has found community through attending local music events.

“I feel like the local scene is kind of for anybody,” Apodaca said. “Anyone can be part of it if they want to, and they can start a band if they want to. I think accessibility is what makes it really easy [to get into].”

The accessibility that Apodaca referred to and the community that Brower found is something that has also resonated with Anna Zhai (27C), an Emory student who grew up in Atlanta. Although she has walked the streets of Little Five Points for years, this was her first time attending Little 5 Fest.

“The more you come out to these events, the more people you end up knowing, and it just becomes a nice community where people know each other and work together on projects,” Zhai said.

As the streets ebbed and flowed with festival-goers and the mosh pits expanded and contracted, the steady hum of a neighborhood alive with art remained. A sense of familiarity hung in the air; attendants mingled with vendors, greeted old friends, and sang along to the obscure music.

“When I think of Atlanta as my hometown, I think about Little Five Points,” Zhai said.

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Sophie Reiss (25C, she/her) is from Atlanta, GA and is majoring in history and English and creative writing. Outside of writing for the Wheel, she plays on Emory’s Women and Gender Expansive Frisbee Team, and is involved in the Emory Pulse. She enjoys taking naps in odd places and poetry.