Larkin Poe at Savannah Stopover. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson
Geoff L. Johnson

Larkin Poe at Savannah Stopover. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson

Savannah Stopover: A Music Festival Made for Road Trips

Catch bands on their way to SXSW at this Savannah music festival, and work in a few stopovers of your own along the way.

What started as a creative way to capitalize on Savannah, Georgia’s logistical good fortune has grown into a sought-after gig and major music festival.

For a decade, Savannah Stopover puts on stellar lineups of ones-to-watch, saw-them-whens and look-at-them-nows of music's hardest working touring acts, before they get to Austin's SXSW.

Deerhunter, The Joy Formidable and Lucy Dacus have topped bills that include The Bright Light Social Hour, William Tyler, The Beths, The Ruen Brothers and so many more — including nearly 20 Georgia-based bands at each festival.

Scheduled for early spring, Savannah Stopover takes over 10 venues and spaces around Savannah’s historic district. Throughout three days, live music radiates within this walkable downtown radius, where you can carry your drink with you, quintessential Hostess City-style.

Crumb at Savannah Stopover. Photo by Geoff Johnson
Crumb at Savannah Stopover. Photo by Geoff Johnson

Start Early and Take it Slow

Make time to stopover before Stopover. If you’re making your way to the Georgia Coast, don’t forget other opportunities to experience the state’s music scene along the way.

Make a Stop in Macon

In fact, Macon, Georgia, is welcoming Stopover travelers. Stop in The Rookery for a Gram Parson’s Cosmic Club, a Little Richard Pennimelt or a Dr. John Burger topped with a fried egg, cheese and bacon. The Rookery is now home to its own listening room, the Creek Stage at the Rookery, where you can expect Americana acts like Cris Jacobs on your way to Savannah, or simply mosey around the corner to the Hargray Capitol Theatre and catch Blues Traveler or Jeff Tweedy on your way home.

The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House in Macon
The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House in Macon

The music city in the middle of the state also is home to the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House and Rock Candy Tours, a music history tour company that can plan a private music tour that fits into your Savannah travel schedule. It’s also worth noting that Macon’s annual Bragg Jam Festival has a sister music festival friendship with Savannah, so y’all come back to Macon and catch some of the same acts this summer.

Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival in Tifton, Georgia
Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival in Tifton, Georgia

Barbecue & Blues Worth a Stop in Tifton

If you’re wanting to schedule a real, slow-cooked Southern experience on your way to Savannah, the Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival, Tifton’s signature festival, also takes place in early March, with live music and a sanctioned barbecue competition featuring professional and backyard cooking teams.

Zydeco music at Mardi Gras Tybee
Zydeco music at Mardi Gras Tybee

Let the Good Times Roll in St. Marys and Tybee

This is also around Mardi Gras, so expect Tybee Island and St. Marys to keep the good times rolling after their annual events, which often take place the week before Stopover. Get in some Tybee Island time before or after you arrive in Savannah. Take a dive at Huc-a-Poo’s, which hosts live music before, after and during Stopover as a "completely unofficial" concert event "at the greatest dive bar on Earth, showcasing some of our favorite bands on Earth!"

Savannah River Street
Savannah River Street

Pre-Stopover in Savannah

Once you finally arrive in Savannah, stop the clock and take it all in. Savannah isn’t the Big Easy, but it is Georgia’s oldest city and historically designed to slow down and embrace that Southern port city vibe that is all its own.

Start with some Savannah jazz, and since it is the Carnival season, Huey’s on the River is a good launch for brunch and dinner, full of Cajun-Creole eats and Southern seafood flair. You’ll have live music by the Savannah River, a River Street view and free beignets to line your belly for the days ahead.

Also, catch a Savannah Slow Ride for a city overview. This must-see mobile tour attraction is a bike tour-meets-bar tour, where you pedal your way around town, pub crawl and have a place to put your drink the entire time.

Now, Here's How to Stopover

Savannah Stopover. Photo by Caila Brown
Savannah Stopover. Photo by Caila Brown

Decide Your Days

A regular priced three-day general admission pass grants access to all festival concerts and includes the Opening Night Event. 

Upgrade to a VIP Pass, where patrons receive perks like priority entrance at all venues, VIP Lounge access, an invitation to The Stopover Artists’ Lounge (with complimentary drinks + snacks all weekend!), and access to private events and official after-parties.

One-Day and Two-Day Passes are also available for those who can’t Stopover all weekend. Early Bird Tickets and VIP Passes sell out quickly, so keep an eye on those when Stopover sales go live.

Customize Your Schedule

The Stopover site makes it easy to pick your favorites, see the schedule grid by band, times or other layout options, and create your own personal Stopover experience.

Charge Your Phone

Stopover’s social media networks have some of the best, up-to-minute updates, from now through the festival. Download the Stopover Mobile App for band bios, links to music, plus a GPS-enabled map and access to your customized schedule.

Get in the Mood

The Stopover site has an incredible playlist of this year’s incredible line-up, plus the Spotify channel, too, that have you listening now, on your way to Savannah and even the days after, as this jam-packed Georgia music festival continues to ring in your ears.

Published: September 2019