Preview: Savannah Stopover Festival 2016

By on Thursday, 3rd December 2015 at 9:00 am

Header photo: Ra Ra Riot, by Shervin Lainez

While major music festivals like Coachella, Lollapolooza and SXSW may seem like Mecca for music lovers, the cost and travel time required to attend those events is often prohibitive. For those unable to make the journey to a larger event, smaller regional and local festivals fit the bill perfectly, connecting audiences to artists they might otherwise never be able to see in live performance.  The Savannah Stopover Music Festival scheduled for the weekend of 10-12 March is one such boutique festival, leading directly into the week of SXSW 2016. The coastal Georgia festival will include a number of bands headed to Austin for SXSW, as well as a host of American acts ranging from traditional folk to self-described “queer pop”. Shows will take place across Savannah’s historic downtown district at intimate, relaxed venues that promise better acoustics and longer sets than punters might experience in the chaos of a larger festival.

Headlining the current docket for the Savannah Stopover Festival are upstate New York art pop collective Ra Ra Riot, who will release their new LP called ‘Need Your Light’ in February 2016. The album’s first single, ‘Water’, is a billed as a collaboration with Vampire Weekend keyboard player Rostam Batmanglij, who also contributed to title track ‘Need Your Light’. Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot frontman Wes Miles previously recorded together as an electro-pop duo under the name Discovery, and they channeled the free spirit of that side project for ‘Need Your Light’. You can check out the product of their latest merger in the recently unveiled lyric video for ‘Water’ just below.


London based alt-rock band Yuck have also just completed a new record, their third full-length LP and the follow up to 2014 EP release ‘Southern Skies’. No information has yet been released about the new album, but the band will play the Savannah festival as a true stopover on their way to Austin for SXSW, so presumably album promotion will be forthcoming. In the meantime, you can have a listen to Yuck’s recent single ‘Hold Me Closer’.

One of the most intriguing acts on the Savannah Stopover Festival lineup is Hiss Golden Messenger, led by singer/songwriter M.C. Taylor. Their recent project ‘Heart Like a Levee’ involves a full stage show and a recorded LP of the same title, both inspired by photographer William Gedney’s series of pictures shot in rural Kentucky in 1972. Hiss Golden Messenger premiered the stage show on the 13th of November at Duke University, in Taylor’s native Durham, North Carolina, just ahead of a short run of shows with fellow Savannah Stopover artists No BS! Brass Band. Taylor and his colleagues will complete work on the ‘Heart Like a Levee’ LP before heading back out on tour with Dawes in December.

There are a number of interesting and diverse duo acts on the Savannah bill, including the up-and-coming punk-pop pair Diet Cig (featured in the video below), married folkies David Wax Museum, and the aforementioned queer punk artists PWR BTTM. Solo acts are more-than-adequately represented here by TGTF alumni Christopher Paul Stelling and Luke Rathborne, along with Canadian singer/songwriter Alex Calder and the potentially fascinating avant-garde artist Taryn Miller, who goes by the stage moniker Your Friend.


With another list of acts to be announced in January, the Savannah Stopover Festival promises a full weekend of new music from both emerging artists and established favorites. If a trip to Austin isn’t in the cards for your Spring Break next year, a weekend getaway to Savannah might just be the perfect alternative.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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