Turbo Fruits plays Savannah Stopover Music Festival. Photo by Geoff Johnson
Geoff Johnson

Turbo Fruits plays Savannah Stopover Music Festival. Photo by Geoff Johnson

Savannah Stopover: 5 Must-Dos Beyond the Music

Note: Savannah Stopover for 2021 will not take place in March when it's typically held. Read the statement on the Savannah Stopover Music Festival website.


Savannah is no ordinary town, and Savannah Stopover is no run-of-the-mill music festival. From its low-key 2011 beginnings offering bands a respite from driving and an in-transit paycheck en route to the now-behemoth South by Southwest festival in Austin, Savannah Stopover has grown each year yet retained its homey vibe.

Savannah Stopover. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson.
Savannah Stopover. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson.


Its shows take place across a diverse set of 10 intimate venues with capacities ranging from 75 to 600, all in walking distance from one another in the historic district that captures what Savannah is all about. Best of all, according to festival founder Kayne Lanahan, “It’s very easy to show-hop because of our open container laws. You can grab a beer at one venue, hear a few songs and take your go-cup down the road and right into another club! We have people who brag about how many shows they manage to see over the three-day period.”

The three-day shindig sets a self-imposed cap of 100 bands despite receiving seven times that many applications to play. This, of course, means the acts are increasingly top-notch and diverse. The homespun hospitality extends to bands as well as concertgoers. Rather than feeding musicians the quick pizza or to-go burger stipulated in a typical contract rider, festival coordinators bring them together for catered communal meals. “It’s kind of like being at a big dinner party. They get great Southern food, interact with lots of other bands and often find friends they haven’t seen in a while. It’s like a big homecoming with musicians all high-fiving and hugging each other,” beams Lanahan, a Coca-Cola marketing exec during the Atlanta Summer Olympics who eventually relocated to Savannah to be closer to family.

Oysters at Sorry Charlie's
Oysters at Sorry Charlie's


Although Savannah Stopover offers plenty of musical immersion, with mornings and Friday afternoon free, it’d be a shame not to take in some of the city’s other unique charms. Lanahan offers her top five:

  • A ghost tour in a sawed-off hearse is always a hoot. Since these are most popular at night after the music has started, a walking tour in the historic district is another great way to both see the city and experience its colorful history.
  • You’re gonna need coffee after a late night of revelry, right? The Coffee Fox is a great option.
  • Vinyl fans should check out Graveface Records and Curiosities in the Starland District (the schedule includes a Graveface Records label showcase on Saturday afternoon at the Congress Street Social Club.)
  • Abe’s on Lincoln is the oldest bar in Savannah, rumored to be quite haunted and the site of the fest’s Secret Shows.
  • For a nice dinner, I’d recommend Sorry Charlie’s Oyster Bar, which is on Congress Street, in the heart of the Stopover performance venues.

(Further suggestions are available at the festival site.)

Published: February 2021
Written by: Glen Sarvady
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