Itinerary

Savannah Music

Points of interest, music festivals and venues in "The Hostess City of the South"

Widely recognized for its rich history and architecture, Savannah also embraces music and the arts. A melting pot of musical creativity, the city is home to the Savannah Philharmonic, the Coastal Jazz Association, the Savannah Folk Music Society, rock and punk bands like Cusses and Crazy Bag Lady, Americana bands like Waits & Co. and The Train Wrecks, hip hop artists like DJ Basik Lee and Miggs, and a metal scene anchored by internationally recognized bands Kylesa and Black Tusk.

The 17-day Savannah Music Festival, Georgia’s largest musical arts event, creates timeless and adventurous productions while the indie-focused Savannah Stopover emphasizes new and emerging acts. The Savannah Jazz Festival celebrates the uniquely American art form, the Savannah Folk Festival immerses visitor in folk music and dance traditions and the Savannah VOICE Festival focuses on opera, classical music and musical theatre. Street artists and buskers playing in the parks and squares add to the soul, charm and character of the world-renowned historic district. No matter where Savannah’s famed cobblestones lead you — to restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries, museums, churches or theatres — you’re likely to encounter music that is anything but ordinary…just like Savannah.

Below, use the itinerary to find must-see music venues, festivals and more points of interest, and listen to music by local artists in the "Our Savannah Picks" playlist.

  • Venues
  • Points of Interest
  • Music Festivals
    Che Malambo to perform at the 2017 Savannah Music Festival
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  • Points of Interest

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Venues

1. The Lucas Theatre for the Arts

Established in 1922, the Lucas Theatre is a longtime cornerstone of culture in Savannah with a regular schedule of films, performances, concerts and the upcoming 2016 Summer Cabaret Series. Managed by the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Lucas hosts the Savannah Philharmonic and select Savannah Music Festival performances.

2. Trustees Theater

When it opened post-World War II, Trustees Theater was known for being the first southeastern theater with adjustable air conditioning. Today, the theatre is recognized for booking classic films and top touring bands, including recent stops by Grace Potter, Neko Case, the B-52s and more. It also serves as a venue during the Savannah Music Festival.

3. The Jinx

With its brick-and-velvet décor, friendly, tattooed staff and robust show schedule, the Jinx is Savannah’s rock ‘n’ roll headquarters. Though it has nurtured influential Savannah’s metal scene, the venue and watering hole presents a variety of regional and touring acts from indie rockers The Black Lips to soulster Charles Bradley and hosts the long-running Hip Hop Nite on Tuesdays.

4. Barrelhouse South

If you like to dance the night away to groovy bass lines, make the laid back Barrelhouse South your destination. Most nights of the week, blues, funk and jam bands including regulars Vudu Shakedown blaze the stage, and on Wednesdays, patrons get into the fun during the Open Jam.

5. Congress Street Social Club

At least four nights a week, Congress Street Social Club presents DJs and bands including local favorites DJ Blackout, The Accomplices, The Train Wrecks, Eric Culberson and on Sundays, the blues-jam of Voodoo Soup.

6. Savannah Theatre

First opened in 1818 in Chippewa Square, Savannah Theatre is one of the longest-operating theatres in the country.With a talented cast of musicians, the theatre presents a variety of seasonal and popular productions including Savannah Live, a two-hour variety show featuring a high-energy band and eight singers.

7. The Wormhole

This eccentric neighborhood dive and concert venue has opened its doors to a number of national punk and indie artists, including HELMET, Band of Horses and Neil Hamburger. The small stage is perfect for audiences who want to be eye level with their favorite unconventional musicians.

Jazz fans should check out Jazz’d Tapas Bar, Vic’s on the River, Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant and the Sunday Jazz Brunch at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. For a little bit of everything musically, consider The Warehouse, Little Lucky’s, Bayou Café, Z2 or Molly MacPherson’s Scottish Pub and Open Mike Mondays at Abe’s on Lincoln. For country music, scoot over to Saddle Bags Savannah or for something completely different, visit Savannah Smiles: Dueling Pianos Saloon. For music on the beach, head over to Tybee Island where lots of restaurants and bars feature live music including Nickie’s 1971, Rock House and Tybee Island Social Club, where the Sunday Bluegrass Brunch features a sumptuous menu and music by Pavin’ Gravy. For a calendar of live music events, check out Connect Savannah and for recommendations, see Hissing Lawns, a popular local music blog.

Mentioned in this Itinerary

Points of Interest

1. City Market - Savannah

In the early 1700s, farmers and fishermen brought seafood, tobacco, okra, watermelon and other goods to City Market–Savannah’s social and commercial center. As the modern-day “art and soul of Savannah,” the open-air marketplace, lined with galleries, shops, restaurants and bars, still draws crowds and live music is a staple, indoors and outdoors.

2. Forsyth Park

Among its grasslands, historical monuments, statues and the dazzling fountain built in 1858, the historic district’s bustling 30-acre Forsyth Park now includes an amphitheater, which features concerts and serves as home base for the Savannah Jazz Festival.

3. Graveface Records & Curiosities

Operated by local musician and independent record label owner Ryan Graveface, this one-of-a-kind shop carries new and used vinyl along with a variety of random oddities.

4. Johnny Mercer Statue & Gravesite

The life size bronze statue of four-time Academy Award winning lyricist and composer Johnny Mercer stands in Ellis Square. It was unveiled in 2009 as part of the worldwide centennial celebration of the Savannah native’s birthday. Mercer is buried in Savannah’s hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery, which was featured in the 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

5. Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra

The community-based Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra has endeared itself to audiences since 2008 by performing symphonies and concerti by traditional composers including Beethoven, Brahms and Stravinsky, then shaking things up a bit with compositions written by Elton John, Paul McCartney and ABBA. 

Mentioned in this Itinerary

Music Festivals

1. Revival Fest

The one-day gathering at the Georgia State Railroad Museum features live music, craft brews, bourbon and Southern fare. Organized by MusicFile Productions, the team behind Savannah Stopover, the lineup is heavy on roots and Americana music with past performers including Sturgill Simpson, Cedric Burnside, Fruitbats, Southern Culture on the Skids and more.
 

2. Savannah Folk Music Festival

The Savannah Folk Music Society presents concerts, contra dances, First Friday events and Pickin’ Jams year-round then hosts the annual Savannah Folk Festival in October. A variety of folk, traditional and contemporary performances are featured, along with an Old Time Country Dance and a youth songwriting competition. Another popular component is the Noteworthy Art and More Auction featuring world-famous Gretch guitars which have been painted, carved and sculpted by Savannah-area artists.

3. Savannah Jazz Festival

Built on history and tradition, the Coastal Jazz Association presents the annual Savannah Jazz Festival, a week-long free event featuring styles from Dixieland and swing to be-bop and blues. Local participants include Savannah jazz veteran and trombonist Teddy Adams, guitarist Howard Paul (who is CEO of Benedetto Guitars, which is headquartered in Savannah) and percussionist Terry “Doc” Handy and past headliners have included Jon Faddis, Fred Wesley and Wycliffe Gordon.

4. Savannah Music Festival

Every year in late March and early April, the Savannah Music Festival takes over the city for 17 days, exercises its high artistic standards by featuring world-class artists from around the globe in more than 100 productions staged in venues citywide. Classical Voice America says, “…surely the broadest palette of any comparable festival in the world, ranging from country to folk to jazz to chamber” and the Toronto Star calls it “one of North America’s most distinctive musical events.”

5. Savannah Stopover

Launched in 2011 to capture bands traveling down the East Coast on the way to SXSW in Austin, Savannah Stopover quickly became a destination for bands and fans. With a mission of music discovery, festival organizers have an uncanny ability to spot emerging and in the past have presented Grimes, Ra Ra Riot, Wye Oak, Future Islands. More than 100 bands perform in a variety of local spots The Jinx, Ships of the Sea North Garden, Congress Street Social Club and more.

6. Savannah Voice Festival

Driven to bring classical vocal excellence to the city, Savannah Voice Festival presents opera, musical theatre and song. In an extraordinary partnership, Savannah Voice Festival, which is now managed by opera veteran Sherrill Milnes and soprano Maria Zouves, is co-producing opera with the Savannah Music Festival during its annual 17-day event, which included in 2015 a production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi.