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Blues, Jazz & BBQ plus July 4 festivities add up to grand party on River Street


Blues, Jazz & BBQ plus July 4 festivities add up to grand party on River Street

27 Jun 2017

There will be back-to-back parties on River Street from June 30 through July 4.

“We’re going from the Blues, Jazz & BBQ Festival into the Fourth of July celebration,” says Victoria Smith, executive director of the Savannah Waterfront Association, which hosts the events. “We’re not going to take a day off. We will be active the whole time.”

The Blues, Jazz, & BBQ Festival will begin June 30 and run through July 2. It will feature Southern blues, smooth jazz and barbecue vendors along River Street.

“This year promises to be even better, with the additions of a second music stage and a Kidz Zone in Morrell Park,” she says. “We hope everyone will come out and enjoy a weekend full of family fun.”

There will be a VIP tent in Morrell Park with putting greens and cigars, plus an event, Canvas & Cocktails, with an artist who will create unique keepsakes for attendees. Admission to the VIP tent, which includes snacks, is $10. Military families will be admitted free with tickets, which can be obtained at

There is a $40 charge for the Cocktails & Canvas event, which includes all supplies, snacks and cocktails.

Family activities, including games for children and contests for all ages, will be at Morrell Park at the east end of River Street. Bands will perform at Rousakis Plaza and Morrell Park, and local artisans and crafters will sell their wares.

“Saturday’s lineup in Morrell Park is turning into a very special event, with headliner Jeremy Davenport from New Orleans,” Smith says. “A renowned and talented jazz musician, his unique style and mood of storytelling weaved into his original music and lyrics creates a feeling reminiscent of a time when jazz was at its peak but with a modern twist … Do not miss bringing your lawn chairs and blankets and listen to this natural-born entertainer.

“We were also incredibly lucky to land guitar player Mac Arnold,” Smith says. “Mac’s fellow band members through the years reads like a who’s who of blues legends — James Brown, Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Otis Redding, John Lee Hooker and more. He and Don Cornelius even produced ‘Soul Train’ together.”

Arnold will celebrate his 75th birthday the day before he performs in Savannah with his band, Plate Full O’ Blues.

The Earl James Band also will perform. He has played with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes and Chubby Checker and also toured with The Commodores.

Owen Plant will perform in the VIP tent July 2 and Keith Daniel of Keith & Ross will perform in the VIP tent July 4.

On Sunday, a cornhole tournament will begin. There also will be a flag-painting contest, football-throwing contests, movies and more.

“Our community partners are featuring different things for the military,” Smith says. “We’re hosting a VIP section for any military family on the Fourth of July.”

Bring chairs to sit on and compete in the beach chair contest.

“We will see who can create the most unique chair,” Smith says. “We’ll listen to good music. The other big thing we’re doing is showing kids’ movies on Friday and on Sunday night in Morrell Park.

“We’re having a putting green contest where we’ll give away a hotel stay,” she says. “We’ve got a lot of fun things going on.”


What: Blues, Jazz & BBQ Festival

When: 4-10 p.m. June 30 and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 1-2

Where: River Street

Cost: Free admission to festival; $10 for VIP tent; $40 for Cocktails & Canvas event

Info:, 912-234-0295

Also: Fourth of July festivities July 3-4, with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. July 4


June 30

Morrell Park: Missionary Blues, 6 p.m.

Rousakis Plaza: A Nickel Bag of Funk, 7:30 p.m.

July 1

Morrell Park: Veronika Jackson, 1 p.m.; Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues, 3 p.m.; Jeremy Davenport, 7:30 p.m.

Rousakis Plaza: Main Street Trio, 2 p.m.; Tradewinds, 4 p.m.

July 2

Cocktails & Canvas with artist Alyson Harris, Morrell Park, 12:30-3:30 p.m. $40 admission includes all materials, cocktails and snacks. Tickets at

Morrell Park: Laiken Love, 2 p.m.; Willie Jackson Blues Band, 4 p.m.; Danielle Hicks & The Resistance, 6 p.m.

Rousakis Plaza: Brett Barnard & The Hitman Band, 7 p.m.; Bottles & Cans, 9 p.m.

July 3

Morrell Park: The Christy Alan Band, 4 p.m.

Rousakis Plaza: Andrew Gill & Jim Marshall, 4 p.m.; American Hologram, 7 p.m.; Esteban’s Hat, 9 p.m.

July 4

Morrell Park: Earl Williams Band, 2 p.m.; Isaac Smith Band, 5 p.m.; Tell Scarlet, 7 p.m.

Rousakis Plaza: Coty James, 3 p.m.; Jimmy Wolling Band, 5 p.m.

Fireworks: 9:30 p.m.