The Creative Coast’s blogspot is Savannah’s sounding board for local thinkers, innovators, wanderers and wonderers. Guest bloggers share their thoughts, opinions and creative noodling from all over the map. This week’s blog is from Kayne Lanahan, CEO and founder of Savannah Stopover Music Festival. Read on for Kayne’s Top Ten reasons why music sounds better in Savannah…..
I sit here writing this on a rainy Saturday afternoon, a mere 12 days before our third Savannah Stopover Music Festival. I am ensconced in our temporary pop-up Ticket and Registration office at 217 West Broughton Street. The Stopover playlist is blaring and I’ve been busy handing out information about the festival, selling tickets and waiting for Panhandle Slim to stop by so we can discuss hanging some of his amazing music-themed folk art on the walls… and I think I’ve just convinced some folks from Charleston to come back to Savannah for Stopover Weekend.
It feels surreal to fathom how far we’ve come, how much we’ve learned and to contemplate where it all might lead down the road. There’s one thing I do know: we couldn’t have come this far in a few short years any place else in the world but Savannah, Georgia. The volunteers, the sponsors, the local bands, the support of the local press and our kick ass staff are all simply amazing; let alone everyone who has attended the festival and helped us spread the word.
While there are a million things that go into putting on a music festival for 100 bands in three days, we’ve learned that what resonates with fans and bands and press alike are those wonderful Savannah-esque moments that form an indelible imprint of a town come to life with music, camaraderie, art and life in one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world.
Much has been written about all of the great music coming to town beginning March 7th and we couldn’t be more excited about it, but I thought it would be fun to highlight the top ten things, other than music, that I am most excited about that will unfold over the next two weeks. These are the things, big and small, that help make Savannah Stopover an “only in Savannah” event and I can’t wait to see what untold things get added to the list come March 11th. Here goes:
- Local Homes for Bands: I don’t think there’s another festival in the world that’s crazy enough to do this, but we offer all touring bands the opportunity to stay in private Savannah homes while they are here. We can’t begin to thank our local hosts who participate in this program enough; many of them house different bands each night. There’s a reason Savannah is called “The Hostess City” and these bands never, ever forget the generosity they are shown.
- Knights Of Columbus Hall: What other festival has a venue located in an 1849 pre-civil war mansion once owned by the Derenne family that also served as headquarters of the Hussars militia group? It’s now home to the Knights of Columbus’ “Mother Council of Georgia” and houses a bar, a ballroom once used as a gymnasium, and will host nine concerts during Stopover, including Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. If you’ve never been in this incredible building at 3 West Liberty (@ Bull Street), you’re in for a treat!
- Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon Moonshine: Fruit flavored moonshine in mason jars! One of our favorite new sponsors will be handcrafting custom Stopover cocktails for our Artist Lounge and VIP areas and in select venues around town. These fine folks hail from Piedmont, NC but we’ve adopted them. And BTW, there’s gonna be a full moon Stopover weekend. Howl at it!
- The Stopover Barbie Chandelier: SCAD volunteers and our own Creative Director, Russell Kueker, have teamed up to hand craft a three-tiered chandelier made entirely of Barbies. It’s on display at 217 West Broughton Street. Just cuz.
- Bike Valet @ Forsyth Park: Who needs festival limos and drivers? Stopover style means you get to valet park your bike at the March 8th Montreal Concert in our own beautiful Forsyth Park. Thank you Savannah Bicycle Campaign for all you do to make Savannah bike friendly.
- Wes In Drag: Hangfire Bar captured the essence of Stopover #1 when owner Wes Daniel and his fantastic staff threw a Bollywood-themed party in honor of Brooklyn band Prince Rama. This year, Wes and his staff kick off Stopover 2013 on Thursday, March 7th with a night of All Girl Bands, including the return of Prince Rama (yes, they are princesses, not princes). My guess is you just might see Wes in drag this year!
- Stopover Branded Leather Koozies: Elizabeth Seeger of local leather goods store Satchel loves making leather Koozies for our Band Bags. This year, she’s taking it one step further with our own branded Stopover leather Satchel Koozie. Buy’em for $12 at Stopover HQ at 317 West Broughton or at Satchel beginning this week. They’re slim, weathered and fit perfectly in the back pocket of your jeans when not in use.
- The Artist Lounge @ The Sparetime: At most festivals, fans don’t get to meet, let alone interact, with the bands. Our Artist Lounge is open to our bands, staff, volunteers, press and VIP pass holders and we all gather together at the end of every night for late night revelry, turns in the DJ booth and a chance to really get to know these artists. Life long fans and friends are made! If that weren’t enough, Clara and Jane Fishel of Sparetime also cook all of the food for our band dinners and late night snacks every night. Amazing people!
- Local Artist Band Posters: Local students and artists get to design posters for their favorite Stopover bands and enter a juried poster competition. They’ve been dropping off their posters all week and we get so excited every time a new one comes in. It’s like we’re opening a present; so much time and love goes into each one-of-a-kind poster. See them on display at our Opening Night Event and Concert at Ships of The Sea Museum Garden on Thursday, March 7th where we’ll announce the winners. Some amazing local businesses help us make the poster project possible – - Creative Approach, Atwells, Utrecht, Foxy Loxy Café and Print Gallery.
- Stopover Go Cups: It’s nice to have a little memento of a festival when it’s over. Our favorite is our green and white cups, a reminder that Savannah is one of only a few places in the U.S with open container laws. We love seeing people carrying them around town all year long. Sixteen ounces of fun! I can personally attest that they last after many, many spins in the dishwasher, so wherever you pick up your first one at this year’s fest, use it all weekend and for months to come. If you throw one out, please remember to recycle.
Let us know what you think helps make Savannah Stopover uniquely Savannah…the local bands, the food, the people, the hopping around town, our great volunteers? And share your ideas for the future!