Do Savannnah

Revival Fest, an all-Southern celebration, returns to Georgia State Railroad Museum

  • Ranky Tanky
  • Big Sam’s Funky Nation
  • Blackfoot Gypsies
  • Blitzen Trapper
  • Bottles & Cans
  • Cale Tyson
  • Caleb Caudle
  • Hardy & The Hard Knocks
  • Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics
  • Sweet Thunder Strolling Band
  • The Train Wrecks
  • Southern Culture on the Skids performs at Revival Fest in 2016. (Photo by Geoff L. Johnson)
 

Revival Fest, an all-Southern celebration, returns to Georgia State Railroad Museum

26 Sep 2017

After a one-year hiatus, Revival Fest has returned to the Savannah fall schedule with its most varied and possibly strongest lineup yet.

The single-day festival, which focuses on a showcase of Southern-infused vintage music complemented by bourbon, beer, cocktails and food, will once again take over the the grounds at the historic Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah.

In the past three iterations, a host of great acts have shared the festival’s two stages. Those Darlins, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Southern Culture on the Skids, Futurebirds and Roadkill Ghost Choir are just a few of the great bands to play.

This year, the lineup continues the festival’s ethos, with rock, country, blues and soul. New lineup additions include more funk and even a celebration of Gullah culture.

The family-friendly event will have something for everyone, including food trucks, local vendors and, in the best of Southern traditions, lots of excellent drink choices. The festival also acts as a fundraiser for the Savannah Children’s Museum, located at the railroad museum. The yearly festival is produced by MusicFile Productions, the parent company of Savannah Stopover.

“The enthusiasm for Revival Fest has been so heartwarming and we’re thrilled to be bringing it back in the same iconic location that made the first three years so special,” said Kayne Lanahan, CEO of MusicFile Productions. “We love the juxtaposition of music styles across the South. To go from the sounds of New Orleans funk to traditional Lowcountry Gullah to country, blues and everything in between in one day is really special; you really get so see how all of this music is connected.”

Cheers

In years past, Revival Fest has featured a balance of local and regional brewers and distilleries, offering patrons the chance to see what their Southern neighbors are brewing up. There is a larger focus on local vendors this year, offering a chance to show everyone the bourgeoning brewing and distilling culture in Savannah, which has seen a recent spike in institutions.

Savannah craft brewers Southbound Brewing Co., Coastal Empire Beer Co., Moon River Brewing and Service Brewing will offer up their best beers, while Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Co. and Scofflaw Brewing Co. will also be on hand.

The festival’s spirits sponsor, Brown-Forman, returns with a showcase of bourbons. Savannah Spirits rum and Atlanta’s Old Fourth gin will give patrons even more cocktail choices.

Most notable in the festival’s offerings will be specialty cocktails from the soon-to-open Lone Wolf Lounge. The boys from Lone Wolf will have four options on hand: The Chocolate Mint Julep, a bourbon julep; Honky Tonk Angels, an herbal and pineapple bourbon sour; Make Duran Duran Again, a lavender and orange blossom, electric-blue vodka; and Beat The Drum Slowly, tequila blended with ginger, lemon, honey and smoke.

Culinary delights

Food trucks are awesome, and Savannah is learning just that this year. The Big Cheese, The Squeaky Beaver, Molly MacPherson’s and King of Pops will provide a plethora of food options for in between shows and as an all-too-important base for all that good booze.

Here comes the best part

Bands will be staggered between the two stages all day, so guests won’t miss a minute of the music. In addition, Savannah’s wandering troubadors Sweet Thunder will be performing at various times during the festival.

Sweet Thunder Strolling Band, Savannah

2 p.m. and throughout the day

Comprised of Savannah musicians from all quadrants of the local music scene, Sweet Thunder Strolling Band only makes a handful of appearances each year. Sweet Thunder — somewhere between a New Orleans jazz funeral band, a marching band and street buskers — will kick off Revival Fest with a stroll through the grounds, priming patrons for a day of killer vintage music. Expect surprise strolls all day long, a set list of familiar tunes and perhaps something wonderfully unexpected.

Bottles & Cans, Savannah

2:15 p.m. Bridge View Stage

While the blues form the foundation of Bottles & Cans, this Savannah band’s soul is much richer than any standard label. Soaked in swampy vibes, simple percussion and the raw, guttural vocals of frontman Ray Lundy backed by a revolving crew of Savannah musicians, the Bottles & Cans live experience is a journey through Southern music.

Caleb Caudle, Winston-Salem, N.C.

3 p.m. Paint Shop Stage

Over the past decade, Caleb Caudle has produced seven studio albums and toured with the likes of Jason Isbell, Margo Price and Justin Townes Earle. The alt-country, Americana songwriter caught the attention of several national media outlets with 2016’s “Carolina Ghost.” Caudle made Rolling Stones’ Top 10 New Country Artists list earlier this year. Rooted in traditional country music, Caudle pulls from a deep well of influence to write songs that vary in vibe from The Eagles and America to Willie Nelson.

Ranky Tanky, Charleston, S.C.

3:45 p.m. Bridge View Stage

Four Gullah descendants and “one disciple” joined forces to celebrate and continue the traditions of West African music through a contemporary lens. Ranky Tanky, loosely translated from the Gullah language as “get funky,” celebrates the rich history of Lowcountry music and the culture of enslaved West Africans, whose mixture with English culture formed the basis of the Sea Island music. Somewhere between jazz and traditional spirituals, the music of Ranky Tanky is deeply spiritual, ghostly, moving and beautiful.

The Train Wrecks, Savannah

4:30 p.m. Paint Shop Stage

Savannah’s “hardest gigging band,” who just finished a headlining spot at the annual Statts Fest, will play their second Revival Fest in 2017. They appeared at the inaugural festival in 2013. The Train Wrecks released their fourth studio album, “Once Again,” this past summer. Expect the usual from Savannah’s most prolific live band: high-octane, foot-stomping alt-country music that will get you moving and keep you entertained.

Cale Tyson, Cleburne, Texas

5:15 p.m. Bridge View Stage

One of the many Nashville products pushing the edges of modern country music by not adhering to the pop-country format, Cale Tyson has earned high acclaim with his latest album, “Careless Soul.” Tyson will bring a full band to Savannah for his Revival Fest debut. “Careless Soul” is filled with as much soul as country heart, complete with hints of indie-rock influence, all grounded in the twangy, steel guitar-accented old soul of great country-western music.

Blackfoot Gypsies, Nashville

6 p.m. Paint Shop Stage

Influenced by a various patchwork of rock, from the Rolling Stones to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Beach Boys, the Nashville quartet is a rock ’n’ roll band with a punk attitude. Emerging out of the ever-growing underground rock scene in the home of country music, Blackfoot Gypsies have moved from clubs to headlining festivals in the last seven years. Their fourth studio album, “To The Top,” was released earlier this year, and would have been a chart-topper in 1975. Soaked in country-blues, with hints of everything from garage rock and surf rock to Dylan-style folk, “To The Top” is a contemporary rock album built on the entire history of America’s musical folklore.

Hardy & The Hardknocks, Athens

7 p.m. Bridge View Stage

Tapping the wealth of influence inherent of Athens, T. Hardy Morris (Hardy & The Hardknocks) writes driving garage-rock songs with drips of country and Southern rock influence. The band’s last studio effort, 2015’s “Drownin’ on a Mountaintop” is ramped up with distorted guitars, accented by steel guitar and honky-tonk rhythms. Morris’ gravel vocals recall the likes of both outlaw country and grunge singers, materializing with the music in a unique mixture of Southern rock.

Big Sam’s Funky Nation, New Orleans

8 p.m. Paint Shop Stage

The spirit of New Orleans is ever present in the foundation of native son Big Sam, but with his Funky Nation, he’s expanded his sound into a bold and brassy, funk-laden musical leviathan. Big Sam’s Funky Nation is as funky as Parliament, as soulful as James Brown and as jazzy as its birth city. Big Sam leads the troupe on trombone and vocals. Revival Fest is sure to get funked out.

Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, Atlanta

9 p.m. Bridge View Stage

Since their 2012 debut album, the Georgia soul masters have earned national acclaim and thousands of fans with their uplifting jams. Behind a traditional horn-saturated soul sound, reminiscent of the best of Stax Records, Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics have shared the stage with Erykah Badu, The XX, Gary Clark Jr., Animal Collective, Lee Fields and Kendrick Lamar. They’re set to release their second studio album, “State of All Things,” soon.

Blitzen Trapper, Portland, Ore.

10 p.m. Paint Shop Stage

Despite being the only band not based in the South, Revival Fest headliners Blitzen Trapper have spent 14 years harnessing a wealth of Southern sounds, melding them with a variety of influences to create one of the most unique working rock bands in existence today. They’ve released eight studio albums since 2003, with varying degrees of direction from country, rock, folk, soul, prog rock and even hip-hop. Their ninth effort, “Wild and Reckless,” is due out this year.

IF YOU GO

What: Revival Fest

When: 2-11 p.m. Sept. 30

Where: Georgia State Railroad Museum, 655 Louisville Road

Cost: $35 or $95 VIP

Info: revivalfest.org

Sections: 
Top