I am going to skip the chronology for a while and bop between continents so…
A lot of my travels are booked really far in advance so it was purely accidental when I realized I was hitting both Georgias within a couple of months of each other. Both trips were great but about the only thing they have in common is the name.
Getting to the state of Georgia was pure coincidence. A couple of years ago I went to a Christmas party for a client and some consultants from Portland were able to attend the party. I had been to South by Southwest not long before and got into an animated discussion of indie music with Brian, which made him recommend the Savannah Stopover.
It’s a fairly new music festival focused on young bands that are generally undiscovered except by a few fervent fans. His sister had moved to Savannah from NYC and discovered a lot of fledgling bands drove through Savannah on their way to Austin and were keen to have more chances to showcase their music so she found some likeminded people and started Savannah Stopover where bands can play the weekend before South by Southwest.
If you are like me and knew about SXSW before the internet back when indie music was very indie and new band recommendations generally came from college radio stations or word of mouth, you will love the Savannah Stopover because it is like South by Southwest was in the early days before the corporations and Ashton Kutcher discovered it.
It’s actually fun to do both but Savannah will be a lot cheaper and easier to navigate than Austin.
Since it was going to take me close to a day to get there and get home, I went for the full VIP package, which is very reasonably priced and comes with some extra perks like hanging out with the bands late at night and an after party where I actually got to meet Brian’s sister, which was very cool and closed the loop on the whole lucky chapter.
I got a little overly ambitious and tried to do historic inns at the same time so it was late and dark by the time I got to headquarters to pick up my festival pass so decided to not be too ambitious about finding all the venues that night. Wanted to first enjoy the early evening complimentary wine and
snacks perk at the inn. Was good enough to count as a light dinner.
I’d walked by the El-Rocko Lounge on my way to pick up my pass so decided I could give it a try. The place was fairly deserted as the first band was just warming up so I got a seat at the bar with a great view of the stage and met one of the volunteers who was sitting beside me eating his dinner. It would end up being extra meaningful. Once things got started, a friendly young girl from Florida with some links to Canada sat down beside me and we chatted a bit. In a completely bizarre twist of fate, I would learn her name was Danielle since we ended up completely unplanned in the exact same seats at El-Rocko for the final show of the festival.
There was lots of happy coincidence and serious fun, which we will explore more in the next post…