On the Sunday morning after Savannah’s 3rd annual Revival Fest, I fired up Spotify and listened to Have Gun, Will Travel‘s stellar new album Science from an Easy Chair, which is based on the famed Shackleton expedition.
Have Gun, Will Travel’s set was one of the highlights of a day filled with highlights. Revival Fest — which is a project of Savannah Stopover parent company MusicFile Productions — booked excellent acts in its first two years, but this year raised the bar several notches higher.
Of course, festivals are never easy, especially not when they’re disrupted by rain. The weather really wasn’t all that bad on Saturday, but we’ve been drowning here in Savannah for weeks. The day started out gray, with ominous forecasts and worrisome radar, and that obviously scared some people away.
But the rain was light and moved out pretty fast, and festival organizers and Capital A Productions nimbly moved a couple of acts to the indoor stage and kept things running pretty close to on time.
We’d already had a great afternoon by the time the sun set behind Holy Ghost Tent Revival, which offered a few minutes of stunning views.
At some point on Saturday, I realized that I was doing a shitty job of getting photos of the crowd, the vendors, etc., but Revival Fest will surely be posting plenty of those to Facebook soon. I’ll ask MusicFile’s CEO Kayne Lanahan for an attendance figure at some point too — given the sprawling grounds, the two stages, and the 12 hour length of the 2015 fest, I have no sense of the total turnout.
I’ll have a lot more photos to post later, once I figure out a game plan for sharing them and for more detailed posts about some of the bands.
The day got rolling with Savannah’s Missionary Blues, which sounds stronger and fuller with each gig.
And then came Savannah-based The Grand Gestures. They had only played a couple of public gigs before, but the group already has a mature sound and is comprised of some the city’s most talented acoustic players.
Once again, Sweet Thunder Strolling Band performed between sets. The band is an organic project, and the ensemble fittingly changes from year to year and doesn’t stick to any simple formula.
Caleb Caudle is a brilliant young songwriter, and on Saturday he fronted a brilliant ensemble.
Have Gun, Will Travel was the first of the bands to play on the festival’s outdoor stage. I couldn’t have been more impressed.
Robert Lee Coleman & The Night Owls, whom I also shot at Bragg Jam, cruised down from Macon — that’s a trip I hope they’ll be making routinely.
You’ll definitely be hearing more from Margo and the Pricetags — the incisive songwriting and the classic country sound are brilliant combination.
I haven’t followed Horse Thief‘s rich rock sound at all (the Oklahoma City band was supposed to play Savannah Stopover this year but got caught in the epic snowstorm), but after Saturday’s set I’m excited to dig into their work.
Really, what a sublime set from Asheville’s Holy Ghost Tent Revival:
Singer-songwriter Christopher Paul Stelling has played Savannah Stopover for the last five years, so we’ve been able to watch his career take off.
I’ve raved about young Oklahoman Parker Millsap before, and I’m sure I will rave about him again soon.
Those Darlins is one of my favorite live acts — and the Revival Fest show still surpassed my expectations.
It was quite a coup for Revival Fest to get the recently reunited Fruit Bats, who will be headed out on the road soon with My Morning Jacket.
Southern Culture on the Skids has the southern surf soul rock thing down — and the Savannah audience (at least those who soldiered through the extended day) ate it up …
I’m excited to see how Revival Fest develops from here, and, as I said above, I’ll be posting more about the festival soon.