The world of music is making its way back to Savannah in 2020 with the latest installment of the Savannah Music Festival.
A consistent staple of bringing all types of music to the various Savannah venues and spots, 2020 seems to be no different as the Savannah Music Festival plans to host a number of stalwarts from past festivals while also beckoning in a number of acts that could have the musical community begging for more.Get Savannah arts and culture news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our morning, afternoon and Dine newsletters
“You'll see artists that maybe will skew (towards) a little bit younger audience. But we're definitely fully committed to the artistic makeup of what's there: jazz, classical and American (or) international roots music,” Ryan McMaken, artistic director of the Savannah Music Festival, said.
"We weren't looking looking to shake anything up so much as I would say, elaborate upon what's been established.”
Among the acts that should invigorate the usual festival goers is the return of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, who previously came to SMF and played the Ships of the Sea venue. This year, they’ll be one of the opener acts with a performance at the Johnny Mercer Theater. Other highlights include the Atlanta Symphony, Amythyst Kiah (fresh off a recent appearance at Savannah Stopover) and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
McMaken said Philip Dukes, a fixture at the festival since 2004, has joined the staff to curate chamber music, and this year’s slate is sure to have people excited with four evening concerts and five recitals planned.
Locally, Velvet Caravan will be apart of a gypsy jazz celebration that also includes the John Jorgensen Quartet and Frank Vignola. The Savannah VOICE Festival also is back as a co-sponsor with the Music Festival on a number of concerts, including an evening with Meechot Marrero.
Marrero is no stranger to Savannah as the Puerto Rican soprano has been a staple with the VOICE Festival for years, including roles as Juliette in “Romeo et Juliette,” Mimi in “La boheme” and Lucy England in Menotti’s “The Telephone.”
Another highlight, according to McMaken, is North Carolina-born Madison Cunningham, who recently has been on tour with Andrew Bird, but will be at the Savannah Music Festival to open for Sarah Jarosz. “That’s a big one for us,” McMaken said.
As the Music Festival enters its first full year with McMaken and executive director David Pratt at the helm, McMaken said they were looking to provide what people have come to know the Music Festival for, but also look for new audience opportunities and expand the range even more.
“I think the best thing to say is that it's an institution that has an artistic vision that was established before we kind of came in as the leadership team,” he said. “Working with (Pratt) has been really great, sort of keeping that focus, but also looking at new audience development opportunities.”
Tickets for the Savannah Music Festival go on sale Wednesday with the festival taking place from March 26 through April 11, 2020.