From inception to playing regular shows and steadily gathering local popularity, bands will inevitably venture out of the safe haven of their hometown to play to strangers in other cities.
One advantageous tool for burgeoning bands who wish to grow their audience is the now ubiquitous music festival. There are lot of music festivals in the U.S. Last year, according to the Washington Post, more than 32 million people attended festivals in the U.S., more than the population of Texas.
People love music and want to find their next favorite band at a live show, which, in my opinion, is just a little bit more fun than finding your favorite band via an album. (Don't get me wrong, I am on the lookout for my next favorite album every week. This week, it's Mt. Eddy's debut "Chroma." Last week it was Sorority Noise's new LP, "You're Not As ___ As You Think.")
In recent weeks, two of Savannah's more popular acts have announced they'll be joining the roster at two Georgia music festivals. Garage-rock quartet COEDS is playing the Athens Popfest in early August, and Americana/blues/jazz outfit Lulu the Giant is slated to play Macon's Bragg Jam Festival at the end of July.
So why is this a big enough deal for me to spend an entire column talking about it? It's all about ambassadorship. Savannah couldn't have two better ambassadors heading to these regional festivals than COEDS and Lulu the Giant - both of which are shaped by some of the city's most talented musicians.
It's also a little unusual in recent years to have young Savannah bands play a festival, outside of the Savannah Stopover Music Festival, which puts local bands on its roster each year. Savannah's Black Tusk, of course, and Baroness, as well as Velvet Caravan have played major festivals in the last few years. But that is to be expected from those tenured bands. Ryan Graveface's band Casket Girls has played festivals, also not unusual for his many projects, which is partly thanks to the decade-old Graveface Records label and its outreach.
COEDS and Lulu the Giant are relatively young acts, and this is a big deal for them. Each just released their debut albums within the last year. Outside of Savannah, they might not have the largest following - with the exception of COEDS, who released their album "Thrill Me!" on Florida's New Granada Records.
Playing these festivals is a big deal. It's a big deal for the COEDS to play a festival featuring bands like Superchunk. (Check out their new album as well.) It's a big deal for Lulu the Giant to play Bragg Jam, which will also feature Chicago indie-rock giants Twin Peaks and Austin's White Denim.
While these two Savannah acts have risen in the local scene in different genres, they are both playing ambassadors to a city still flourishing with good rock 'n' roll. Yes, flourishing, even after several bands have disbanded or gone on hiatus and a load of musicians have left the city. There are at least five new bands you haven't heard, because they are in the works right now. This fall in Savannah's music scene is going to be pretty fantastic, I imagine.
Last week, I was chatting with the guys from Post Animal, a Chicago pysch-rock band, and they told me they added Savannah to their tour after one of their friends told them about the scene here. Check the local listings each week on Do Savannah's Big Calendar, and you'll find bands from around the nation coming to play this town. Good bands.
Thanks to years of hard work from hundreds of local musicians, promoters and concert-goers, people outside the city know about Savannah. Thanks to the COEDS and Lulu the Giant, even more will know. Keep working it, Savannah.
Joshua Peacock is a writer and musician. He studied music theory, jazz and playwriting at the University of Iowa. He is a contributing editor for Do Savannah. Empire of Sound has won two Georgia Press Awards in the last two years. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.