Savannah Music Festival

A large crowd is watching a speaker at an outdoor concert.

5 Must-See Shows at the Savannah Music Festival

In today’s sensationalized, hypersonic, social media-crazed popular culture, we seem to be losing our appreciation for real, good music. As a multifaceted genre, music has always been one of the strongest binding forces among people. Regardless of whether you know the language in which a song is sung, no matter if you’re familiar with the instrumentation or the composers, you just know a great piece of music when you hear it. Music’s immediacy and unique abilities to convey and to compel make it an indelible pillar in the expression of the lived experience.

Now in its 28th year, the Savannah Music Festival will pay homage yet again to this universal pillar. Taking place March 23 through April 8, SMF 2017 is a world-class celebration of music from every corner of the earth. Artists and audiences will converge in music halls and theaters all around town throughout the festival. There’s definitely something for everyone at this diverse music fest, but in case you need a little help planning your schedule, here’s a selection that can’t be missed. For the full lineup, be sure to check out the SMF event page. And get your tickets today!

The Avett Brothers

This eclectic folk-rock band hails from North Carolina, and their regional success has spread like wildfire, earning The Avett Brothers national acclaim. The band is an SMF favorite, known for their high-energy performances that captivate crowds. With influences spanning from soul to alternative rock and every genre in between, The Avett Brothers are sure to deliver a unique performance that can reach every member of the audience. The beloved band plays at the Savannah Civic Center’s Johnny Mercer Theatre on March 23 at 8 pm. And luckily, there’s an encore performance on Friday at 8 pm.

Haitian Roots: Chouk Bwa Libete/ Leyla McCalla feat Dom Flemons

This year the SMF has the honor of presenting the US debut of Chouk Bwa Libéte, an outstanding Haitian Band. Haiti is known throughout the US as a nation of depravity and hardship, but few know of the true resiliency and pride of its people. Chouk Bwa Libéte is a profound example of the unrelenting spirit of the Haitian people. With a drum and dance percussive style, call and response vocals and a truly gifted lead vocalist, this band is sure to deliver an engaging performance filled with verve and passion. Haitian-American Leyla McCalla will also perform on a double bill with Chouk Bwa Libéte. A thoughtful and earthy songstress who flows between French, Kreyol and English lyrics, Leyla McCalla and her trio make for a must-see show. This double bill will be held on Monday, March 27 at 7 pm at the Charles H. Morris Center.

Earls of Leicester

Bluegrass buffs, you’re in for a good show. Two time IBMA Entertainer of the Year recipients, the Earls of Leicester will be performing on Thursday, March 30 at 7:30 at the Lucas Theatre. The six-man, all-star band will perform in homage to the pioneers of bluegrass music, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs. With banjo, bass and dobro strumming, it’s sure to be a roaring good time.

Hiss Golden Messenger/Sounds of Kolachi

One of the most appealing aspects of the SMF is the unique opportunity to see in live performance talented musicians and acts that you might otherwise never come across. On Saturday, April 1 at the Charles H. Morris Center, one of these special opportunities will present itself. East will meet West once again. North Carolinian folk-rock band will share a concert with Sounds of Kolachi, the 10-piece super group hailing from Karachi, Pakistan. Hiss Golden Messenger is defined by their folk-pop, alt-country roots, a distinct yet familiar sound in the contemporary American South, whereas Sounds of Kolachi presents for most an entirely new aesthetic experience featuring Oriental instruments and melodies juxtaposed against a raring electric guitar. This double bill will be one to remember.

Che Malambo

If you’ve never seen the malambo, a male percussive dance, you’ve got to see it at the festival. On April 6 at 7 pm, watch music in motion as the Argentine dance company Che Malambo puts their precise footwork to the reverberating drum of the bombos. Perfect for audiences of all ages, it’s an exhilarating spectacle that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

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