First Savannah Stopover Festival scheduled for March 9-12

UPDATE 3/21: For all my posts about the Stopover, go here.

Savannah folks are going to be reading and hearing A LOT more in the next two months about the ambitious plans for the Savannah Stopover Festival, which is actively booking acts traveling to SXSW. For performers — and even fans — traveling to Austin via I-95, we’re right along the way.

Organized primarily by MusicFile Productions, the Savannah Stopover has so far booked more than two dozen acts to play over four days. Some Savannahians will know some of the performers because they have roots here, are currently based here, or have played here in the past, including Aux Arc, Cusses, Dare Dukes, Lady Lazarus, Little Tybee, Sunglasses, and Venice is Sinking. The slick Savannah Stopover website has the full list with information, photos, and audio. More bands will be announced in the coming days.

The festival venues include several of Savannah’s key live music spots (The Jinx, Live Wire Music Hall, The Wormhole, Hang Fire, and The Sentient Bean) as well as several other interesting locations, including Civvies, The Creative Coast office on Wright Square, and the Desoto Row and Starland galleries.

It’s just great to see so many venues pulling together to make the Savannah Stopover possible. Meddin Studios will do recording sessions with visiting bands, the Pyschotronic Film Society plans to screen a few rock documentaries, and there will be an exhibition of original posters in Starland.

Passes can be purchased now through the festival website — the general 4-day pass is currently priced at $45 for a limited time.

I’ve heard lots of speculation in recent years about a music festival like this one. The Savannah Music Festival, a truly remarkable world-class event, takes place right after St. Patrick’s Day, but it doesn’t routinely book the kinds of bar bands, up-and-coming acts, and indie musicians that the Savannah Stopover is attracting in its first year. So this isn’t competition in any sense to the SMF.

The biggest question will be whether Savannahians will come out in force to support the various acts and venues. Will those who go out for live music once a month make the effort to go out to multiple venues on multiple nights over the same weekend? I think there’s plenty of demand — many Savannahians are hungry for more of a music scene and feel like too many touring musicians pass us by. It’s just a matter of getting the word out and working out logistics.

I’ll have a lot more to say about the festival and about individual acts in the coming weeks. It’s exciting to see bold and daring programming like this.