VALDOSTA — Valdosta is about to wake up.
The Seventh Annual Valdosta Wake Up Fest will take place Friday through Sunday, Aug. 9-11, at the Valdosta Wake Compound. Gates open 10 a.m. and music starts 2 p.m. Friday.
Jimi S. Davies, founder and organizer of the festival, said the goal of the fest is to be a family-driven event catering to everyone having a good time. There will be games such as horseshoes and cornhole, and activities such as swimming, skateboarding, wakeboarding and wakeskating. Art and food vendors will also be there.
Davies said the festival started as a birthday party he threw for one of his friends. Davies is a touring musician within the DIY circuit and knew some cool bands he’d met on tour who could come play. They brought in 15 bands to play.
“We didn’t have a stage or anything. We just kind of played in the dirt,” Davies said. “We had a keg and it was really more of a party.”
The party went well enough that Davies thought it was something he could do as a public festival. So, the next year he brought in a stage and a better sound system. It’s been growing since.
“Every single year we’re bigger and better,” Davies said. “We take note of everything that could have possibly been done better from the previous one and then we fix that.”
The wakeskate contest will be 2 p.m. and a skateboarding competition will be 5 p.m. Saturday. World-renowned wakeskaters from the Philippines, Australia and Europe have come to compete in previous years.
For those first-time wakeboarder and wakeskaters just wanting to learn and not compete, staff and instructors will teach and rent out equipment.
“If you’re a first-timer don’t worry,” Davies said. “It’s a great place to learn.”
A pass must be purchased to wakeboard and wakeskate.
Davies said he is excited for all the bands coming to perform. Acts include Lingua Franka, a hip-hop artist and also the commissioner of Athens; Trail Diver, a jam band that “Grateful Dead kids” will like; and Rainbow Sally and the Suicide Snails, a band of kids whose lead singer is only 10-years old, Davies said.
Davies will be performing his solo act, Jimi Davies and Bruce the Guitar, to close out the festival.
Campsites will be available to festival-goers for $15 a night. Under Construction Barbecue from Moultrie will cater dinner Saturday and breakfast Sunday.
Parking is $5 a day.
The event is not for profit and all proceeds go back to pay to the touring acts. Volunteers manage the festival.
More than $800 in prizes such as skateboards, gift cards and cash will be awarded at the competitions. Buywake and Grain Wakeskates sponsor the wakeskate competition. Ambush Skateboarding will sponsor the skateboard competition.