The Savannah market is considerably smaller than other cities in the region that for years seemed more attractive to booking agents — places like Atlanta, Jacksonville, Columbia, S.C. Athens, Ga., is smaller than Savannah, but obviously has a great indie music tradition and excellent venues.
But now it’s pretty clear that Savannah has turned a big corner in recent years, thanks to the work of a whole lot of good people — and thanks too to the simple fact that bands and agents seem to be getting a little savvier about booking shows in medium-sized markets even if it means making a few compromises.
Much of our thanks goes to Savannah Stopover and CEO Kayne Lanahan (a very occasional contributor to hissing lawns). Stopover just started 4 years ago, and parent company MusicFile Productions has expanded into the daylong Revival Fest in the fall and some pretty extraordinary shows throughout the year.
For a quick barometer of the success of these efforts, plus the work of the Savannah Music Festival, check out Stopover’s post The Year in Music, which links to 8 different “Best of” lists of albums or songs for 2014. A typical entry is this one for Paste’s 50 Best Albums of 2014:
Highlights:Savannah Music Festival alums Justin Townes Earle and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are here along with Rosanne Cash who plays SMF next year. HFTRR makes another list, along with fellow Stopover IV artists Future Islands and St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Mac Demarco, Sturgill Simpson and The War on Drugs also appear, as does King Tuff who plays at Hang Fire in January.
Savannah Stopover books a lot of bands that most music fans don’t know — yet. The festival is establishing a great track record of presenting talent poised to break out on the national stage.