If you are overwhelmed by the Savannah Stopover schedule, you are not alone.
The indie music festival, now in its ninth year, will present more than 80 bands in venues throughout the Historic District from March 7 to 9.
Savannah Stopover focuses largely on up-and-coming acts, and the lineup always includes many new names even for those of us who routinely write about music.
I have learned over the years to trust the Stopover programming. Festival CEO Kayne Lanahan and her staff spend all year listening to bands for the festival, so attendees can be confident that quality acts will be playing throughout the festival.
A first-time Stopover attendee could have a great experience by just wandering from venue to venue, but most folks will want to organize their experience around specific bands, venues, genres or other criteria.
Service Brewing on Indian Street, which is just a short walk from the North Garden of the Ships of the Sea, will be a Stopover venue for the first time, and there are excellent lineups at both of those large venues on all three days.
Fans of Charleston-based SUSTO are probably already planning to see the band’s headlining set on March 9 at Service, but the brewery also has an amazing night of Americana rock headlined by Andrew Combs on March 8.
And don’t sleep on The Bright Light Social Hour from Austin and The Minks from Nashville at Service on March 7. The sets will begin well after the stunningly talented Lucy Dacus finishes her performance at the opening night event at Ships of the Sea, so pass holders will have time to check out both local and touring acts at other regular venues that are just a few minutes walk away from each other – Barrelhouse South, Club One, Congress Street Social Club, El-Rocko Lounge and The Jinx.
Savannah Stopover tries a few new things every year—and this year’s experiments are especially intriguing.
The Wayward Bar at the Perry Lane Hotel will host three shows, including the stellar guitarist William Tyler at 6 p.m. on March 8.
Six acts comprised of area middle and high school students will be participating in a showcase from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on March 9 at Congress Street Social Club. There are also 10 other local acts performing during Stopover this year, including bands with strong followings like The Train Wrecks, who will be sharing The Jinx stage with The Artisanals and Ruen Brothers on March 7.
Lovers of country will want to check out another of the festival’s special events – Stopover in the Yard at The Grey on March 9 with rising stars Skylar Gudasz and Savannah Conley.
I am especially excited to see the Welsh band The Joy Formidable on March 9 at Ships of the Sea and two of the edgier acts performing at The Jinx—Priests on March 8 and Mike Krol on March 9.
Tastes vary, of course, so if you have the time, you might want to get as many recommendations as possible and listen to the festival’s Spotify playlist (above). Odds are that you will discover new favorite acts through those previews or during the festival itself.
Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged (www.billdawers.com) and hissing lawns (www.hissinglawns.com). Email firstname.lastname@example.org.