A new entertainment complex on the Savannah River is hosting bands each week to keep live music flowing for eager tourists and locals.
Set against the backdrop of large, passing container ships, area bands are turning up the volume on weekends at the new Plant Riverside District outdoor venue located at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
While inside the converted power plant, piano music serenades visitors daily, and each Sunday, live jazz music plays on the rooftop lounge for the brunch crowd. The newly opened entertainment complex features a hotel, restaurants, bars and music venues, mixed with history exhibits, games and fun artifacts for kids of all ages.
It’s the latest project from the Kessler Collection, a robust company of hotels and entertainment facilities which offer boutique experiences with unique charm.
As Plant Riverside District ramped up its opening this spring, things pivoted with the outbreak of the coronavirus. In response, staff have implemented social distance measures and hygiene protocols to ensure a safe experience for visitors and employees.
But more so, staff say their calling is to bring entertainment back into people’s lives during an unprecedented year.
"COVID-19 has impacted all of us in all different ways," shared Tyler Gray, Entertainment/Activities Director for Plant Riverside District.
"Yes, we require masks, and social distancing is encouraged, but being able to bring a sense of normalcy and enjoyment through live music and entertainment is something quite rare at the moment, and allows people to take a moment to breathe and enjoy life for a few minutes."
With its internal music venue set to open mid-2021, Plant Riverside District has launched its weekly outdoor concert series to a great response. Each Friday and Saturday night, local groups perform for crowds spaced around the district’s grassy knoll facing the flowing Savannah River.
Savannah country music group, Lyn Avenue, was one of the first groups to perform at the new outdoor venue.
The soulful four-piece say they were grateful to perform again after many of their summer touring shows were canceled due to the pandemic.
"We were so excited to have had that opportunity and have loved seeing the growth and the continued awareness of this great venue and new district of Savannah," shared CC Witt, lead singer of Lyn Avenue.
Witt says the unique atmosphere of the outdoor location has made the Plant Riverside District one of the premier places for bands to connect with fans downtown.
"We absolutely love the community aspect - it's a place for families to bring chairs and come out to see our shows," Witt added.
"Between the location, the gorgeous backdrop of the cargo ships going by and the bridge, it really feels like the quintessential ‘Savannah’ venue," she shared.
Inside, Plant Riverside District keeps the music flowing each day with piano players from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Generator Hall, and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Beethoven Terrace Piano Bar – a unique space that overlooks the main lobby of the hotel.
Local musician Jeremy Davis performs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday for brunch with his group the Fabulous Equinox Krewe. The band performs cool jazz and lively standards atop the Plant Riverside District in the Electric Moon Skytop Lounge, offering elevated views of the riverfront.
"The food is amazing, as are the views and the music!" he added.
As a professional musician, Davis knows firsthand how strained the entertainment industry has been this year under the weight of the coronavirus.
He says he’s grateful for venues like Plant Riverside District that are finding new and innovative ways to keep the music playing, responsibly.
"We are thankful for the outdoor spaces to perform and the great lengths that PRD has gone through to make the indoor live music spaces socially distanced and safe too," Davis shared.
For more information about music and events at Plant Riverside District, visit: www.plantriverside.com.