Celebrated for distinctive live performances spanning American and international roots music, jazz, classical, jam, rock and blues genres in beautiful, historic Savannah, Georgia, the Savannah Music Festival (SMF) is gearing up for a stellar 2023 season, which runs from March 23 through April 8, 2023.
Tickets start at $31 and can be purchased online at savannahmusicfestival.org, by phone at 912.525.5050 or in person at the Savannah Box Office, located at 216 E. Broughton St.
The 17-day festival has been raising the bar each year by showcasing an exceptional cross-section of award-winning icons, trailblazing contemporaries and dynamic newcomers in unique locations throughout Savannah. This year, the expansive outdoor venue Trustees’ Garden will accommodate nearly 2,500 patrons, featuring multiple artists on the main stage each day along with family activities and local food truck vendors in an open, field-like atmosphere.
On Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26, living legend and blues pioneer Buddy Guy will perform live on his “Damn Right Farewell” tour with special guests Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Eric Gales, King Solomon Hicks and Jontavious Willis. The Tedeschi Trucks Band will play the venue on Wednesday, March 29 after a four-year hiatus from the festival, while New Orleans jam favorites Galactic teams up with funk maestro Cory Wong and the jazz, R&B and pop fusion of Nate Smith + KINFOLK for a special live performance on Sunday, April 2.
“We’re thrilled to host a series of high-energy outdoor concerts at Trustees’ Garden this year featuring top blues, rock and funk artists,” said Savannah Music Festival Artistic Director Ryan McMaken. “We can’t wait to kick off the 2023 festival and to welcome talented artists from around the world to Savannah for unforgettable live performances that celebrate the power of music, connection and community.”
Called “one of the Southeast’s most creative cross-cultural musical events” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Savannah Music Festival is known for its captivating multi-genre offerings and unique collaborations. Classical highlights include the Philip Dukes & Friends chamber music series, led by the world-renowned viola player and Savannah Music Festival Associate Artistic Director Dukes, a stop of the final tour of the celebrated Emerson String Quartet, Zurich Chamber Orchestra with Daniel Hope & Philip Dukes, Alexander Malofeev, and the Dover String Quartet with Joseph Conyers.
World music fuses with Americana when Malian master of the ngoni (precursor to the banjo) Bassekou Kouyate shares a bill with Jake Blount, scholar/performer of the Black string band tradition, appearing with Nic Gareiss and Laurel Premo. Jazz is always prominent at the Savannah Music Festival and this year acclaimed jazz violinist Regina Carter offers “Gone in a Phrase of Air,” an original music and multimedia performance that explores the effects of the urban renewal of the 1950s and 1960s, Terence Blanchard & E-Collective featuring the Turtle Island Quartet, Kenny Barron & Dave Holland with Johnathan Blake and many others.
Discovery is also a key part of the Savannah Music Festival as rising and renowned musicians perform at the event for the first time. Festival debuts in 2023 include Terence Blanchard, Patty Griffin, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Leo Kottke, Regina Carter, Sona Jobarteh, Natu Camara, Stanton Moore Trio, Los Lobos, The Alt with Oisin McAuley, Téada, S.G. Goodman, Harold Lopez-Nussa’s “Timba a la Americana” and more. Additional highlights include a Zydeco Dance Party featuring Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys, a Latin Dance Party with Eddie Palmieri’s Latin Jazz Band, as well as a Cajun Dance Party featuring The Lost Bayou Ramblers.
In addition to excellence in musical presentations, Savannah Music Festival is also committed to supporting music education in the Savannah community, with programs inside and outside of the classroom. Musical Explorers, now in its ninth year, is a year-round education program for K-2 students which reaches over 10,000 children locally. SMF Jazz Academy is a free after-school program for students in grades 5-12, offering instruments, private lessons, public performances and more for in-depth, immersive learning experiences.
For more information or to view the complete 2023 Savannah Music Festival schedule, please visit www.savannahmusicfestival.org online.
Savannah Music Festival 2023 Schedule by Date
(*denotes multiple concert times):
Tuesday, March 21
Pink Martini feat. China Forbes (pre-festival concert)
Thursday, March 23
Noon30: Christian Sands, piano
Christian Sands High Wire Trio*
Aaron Lee Tasjan / S.G. Goodman
Zurich Chamber Orchestra feat. Daniel Hope & Philip Dukes
Friday, March 24
Sona Jobarteh / Natu Camara*
Alexander Malofeev, piano
The Infamous Stringdusters / Sierra Hull
Saturday, March 25
Buddy Guy "Damn Right Farewell" Day One w/ Eric Gales & King Solomon Hicks
Sunday, March 26
Philip Dukes & Friends I: Schubertiade
Buddy Guy "Damn Right Farewell" Day One w/ Christone "Kingfish" Ingram &
Tuesday, March 28
Anna Tilbrook & Friends
Charles McPherson Quintet feat. Sean Jones /Joe Alterman Trio with Houston Person*
Maeve Gilchrist: The Harpweaver
Wednesday, March 29
Noon30: Charles McPherson Quintet feat. Sean Jones
Philip Dukes & Friends II: Purcell, Mozart, Beethoven
Tedeschi Trucks Band / Eddie 9V opens
Thursday, March 30
Noon30: Bruce Molsky & Maeve Gilchrist
Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band (Dance Party)*
Bruce Molsky, Tony Trischka & Michael Daves / The Onlies
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Friday, March 31
Noon30: Bruce Molsky
Jack Liebeck, violin & Sebastian Knauer, piano
Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno / The Foreign Landers*
Cajun Dance Party: The Lost Bayou Ramblers*
Terence Blanchard feat. the E-Collective & Turtle Island Quartet
Saturday, April 1
Noon30: Pasquale Grasso Trio
Alexa Tarantino Quartet / Pasquale Grasso Trio*
Stanton Moore Trio / Roosevelt Collier*
Philip Dukes & Friends III: Dohnanyi’s Delight
Sunday, April 2
Galactic / Cory Wong / Nate Smith
Tuesday, April 4
Philip Dukes & Friends IV: The Finale
GER Mandolin Orchestra, Mike Marshall, Music Director
Wednesday, April 5
Regina Carter: Gone in a Phrase of Air
Sam Bush Plays John Hartford / The Jerry Douglas Band
Thursday, April 6
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba / Jake Blount, Nic Gareiss & Laurel Premo*
Dover Quartet with Joseph Conyers
Friday, April 7
The Alt with Oisín McAuley / Téada*
Kenny Barron & Dave Holland Trio with Johnathan Blake*
Emerson String Quartet
The Alt with Oisín McAuley / Téada
Saturday, April 8
Etienne Charles: Traces feat. Vincent Ségal, Jorge Glem & Or Bareket / Harold
López-Nussa: Timba a la Americana feat. Gregoire Maret, Luques Curtis & Ruy
Zydeco Dance Party: Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys*
Drew Petersen, piano
Cecile McLorin Salvant / San Salvador