The Savannah Stopover festival might only be three years old but it already has the makings of a go-to festival. There's the charming, walkable downtown area with venues just steps from each other. You can tote your (inexpensive) alcoholic beverage around the streets. The price for a three-day pass was an insanely-reasonable $75. The festival schedule felt manageable with only about 100 bands on the docket. (And just about all of these bands are heading to Austin this week.) There were a lot of hallmarks to SXSW, and indeed one person offered up the observation that the current size of Stopover reminded him of the very early years of SXSW.
But the thing that is so important to any festival, whether it be SXSW or Coachella, is having a strong line-up. And Stopover very much had this. From Mac DeMarco on the first night through Turbo Fruits at the very last, there were solid bands up and down the schedule. It was extremely well curated. On the second day, the free Of Montreal concert in Forsyth Park was weird and wonderful among the Spanish Moss. It was the Athens band's first time performing in Savannah. Chris Cohen and Ducktails were excellent over at Knights of Columbus a little later in the evening.
And the all-Georgia lineup at the same venue on Day Three (3/9) featuring Whaleboat, Ponderosa and The Whigs was raucous. I'm sure the festival's plan, as it should be, is to continue growing. My hope is that it doesn't grow too much. Or that it at least doesn't strive to SXSW levels of attendance or insanity. Its location and size make it a perfect alternative to that monster a few states to the West.