Into its 28th season, the Savannah Music Festival is yet again bringing to our fair city some of the greatest living musicians and world-class stylings for perhaps one of the most unique music festivals in the United States.
"Music brings people together," said Rob Gibson, Savannah Music Festival executive and artistic director. "It brings people together in profound ways. It illuminates our differences, but it also bonds us in our similarities. We are all just people. We are sharing a country.
"We don't want to build walls. We want to break down walls. That's what this music festival is about in many ways."
The Savannah Music Festival represents a global notion that art, and especially music, is inherently human, and does not belong to a single group or ideology.
Crossing genres and pulling from styles the world over, the 17-day festival, taking place in 11 venues across the Historic District, will present the finest in roots, traditional and classical music with a little bit for everyone.
CLICK HERE to read Joshua Peacock's top daily picks for the entire festival.
While a lot of festivals in our country boast diversity by scheduling hip hop and rock acts, or pop and jazz on the same poster, you'd be hard pressed to find a single festival that draws so deeply on the foundation of all musical styles the world over like the Savannah Music Festival does.
In the midst of this year's array of features, you may find the U.S. debut of the Haitian roots group Chouk Bwa LibÃ¨te, a jazz organ summit featuring two of the greatest organists to grace the keys and levers of a Hammond B3, Cajun music, chamber music, Americana, soul, opera and lots of Beethoven. Not to mention critically acclaimed rock stars like the Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell and Hiss Golden Messenger.
As I've written in this column before, the Savannah Music Festival is engineered not just as entertainment, but also, perhaps more importantly, as an educational tool for our city and region. While the arts and humanities are increasingly characterized as an expendable venture by the leaders of our society, festivals like these continue to brandish the torch of musical art, which enriches the soul of our society.
Art is not expendable. Music is not a luxury. If one were to express the true nature of humanity to a visiting alien, in attempt to describe what comprises our very soul, art would be the language of that expression. (See Carl Sagan.)
What is increasingly frustrating to artists the world over is the ever-decreasing value placed in the arts and humanities. It is imperative as a society to re-educate ourselves on the importance that human expression through art has had on the grand narrative of our species.
The greatest art of the world has not come from a single race, a single country or a single gender. To grasp the full influence of humanity's ability to express itself through art, a global portrait must be painted. Regardless of the walls that divide us, we will always be united by the art we make.
Here stands as a shining beacon, marking the idea of a global soul, festivals and organizations like the Savannah Music Festival. It's a place you can experience music from places and worlds away from your own bubble and still be shaken to the core.
It is imperative in our modern times to raise a flag of unity in support of the humanities and arts, to support those who are championing the very soul of our species.
By buying a ticket to Savannah Music Festival (or any other artistic endeavor both large and small in our city), you contribute to the furthering of an idea, not just a festival or an organization. You contribute to an idea that the arts are a catalyst for the progression and evolution of the human race, that through the voice of art, we find the soul of humanity.
Joshua Peacock is a freelance writer for Do Savannah. He studied playwriting and music at the University of Iowa. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DURING THE FEST
Keep up with Joshua Peacock's festival experience with blog posts and reviews here.
IF YOU GO
What: Savannah Music Festival
When: March 23-April 8
Where: Downtown Savannah Historic District