HalfAth Hits Savannah
Updated: Jun 15, 2021
By: Lindy Moody
YOU QUICKLY grab a cold beer from the long line that has formed at the bar. Then, speedily but carefully as not to spill your frothy brew, you elbow your way through the crowd. Finally, you spot your friends after frantically scanning the top of each head for something you recognize. Only moments after settling into the perfect position from the stage, you become anxious for the band to start.
The room is filled with the rhythm of chatting friends and fill music. Then, suddenly, there is a change. The music stops, and the lights dim. Energy pulses through the crowd as the drum finally kicks.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of a bustling crowd gathered together to listen to live music. Show after show, for anyone who has ever frequented a music festival, the experience is the same. Whether it is your favorite band or one you have never heard of, the experience of seeing a live performance is irreplaceable.
Before COVID-19, festivals were commonplace for music connoisseurs. But only a few days before the beloved Savannah Music Festival was scheduled to start, early 2020, the pandemic struck. So for almost a year, Savannah venues sat empty, awaiting the next big show.
Slowly, through the beginning of 2021, live music inched its way back into the hearts of Savannah. The Savannah Music Festival reemerged, and with it, the low country festival circuit opened back up.
HalfAth Music Event, an Athens, Georgia-fueled festival, is one of the first this year to invade our ears. Event co-host and owner of Athen's loved The World Famous, David Eduardo teamed up with several Athen's locals to put together the Event. It's dubbed Event because the festival offers more than just music and includes craft beer and art.
Eduardo told the story of the festival's roots, "Jared Collins, from Athens band Jock Gang was making an ambitious effort to put together a wonderful house party with great bands from Atlanta and Athens, on a piece of property way off the beaten path, and it kind of fizzled out for one reason or another. Kyle Brown (Dog Days Presents) has been putting on killer shows around Savannah for a while and was ready to sink his teeth into something bigger... I lived in Athens forever, own a dive bar there still, and we host shows, at least pre-Covid, all the time. I introduced Kyle to Jared, and we all agreed that because so many bands were eager to go outside and play again, and Savannah was a little more open for business than Athens, that we'd put together a little roadshow. It's an homage to AthFest, the annual summer block party and pub crawl that was canceled in 2020 and has been reimagined, scaled back, and postponed until Fall 2021. We're in no way affiliated. They probably hate us. But we decided not to let the weekend historically reserved for AthFest pass again without celebrating Athens music, somewhere. So, we got in touch with Creature Comforts Brewing Co, and because of their generous support, HalfAth is really happening."
HalfAth opens its stages on June 25th by starting out at Ships of The Sea Museum. The day starts with a jam-packed schedule of Athens-based performers, like Vision Video, New Madrid, and Neighbor Lady. To close the first day, brand new bar Over Yander will host an intimate late-night show with T. Hardy Morris.
Saturday, the Event will pick back up at 4 pm. Bands such as Deep State and Donkey Punch will hit the stage of El Rocko Lounge. Along with the long list of bands, Creature Comforts has made its way down to the low country to quench the thirst of festival fans.
Creating the lineup was not as streamline as you would imagine. According to Eduardo, "We're pretty bummed there weren't enough slots for so many amazing bands that wanted to play. The lineup is basically a mix of our favorite local hip hop, indie rock, and psychedelic bands--really, just the ones that responded to emails or picked up the phones and said yes first. We got incredibly lucky. So lucky. T Hardy Morris is releasing a new album this month. New Madrid has also just put out a record that's getting attention. Same for Vision Video. I have a feeling they're really going to blow up this fall, hot off the heels of a nice Pitchfork review and with so much touring lined up. And there are legends (Elf Power), upstarts (Avery Leigh's Night Palace), and future household names (Linqua Franqa) on the bill."
Athen's has been paving the way for local musicians for multiple centuries. As a result, there has been no shortage of sought-after acts that got their start in the famous Georgia college town. R.E.M, Panic, and even our modern The Futurebirds hail out of dawg country. By stepping foot onto our marsh layden town, the hope is to inspire the Savannah music scene to grow.
"I'm surprised there aren't more bands in Savannah. There are more flexible high-paying service industry jobs here, tons of visual artists, lots of huge, relatively cheap rental houses. It's surprising that Athens has so many bands and has had so many bands for 40+ years. Obviously, I don't think Athens will mind sharing their bands with Savannah on an even more regular basis," explained Eduardo when I asked what we locals can learn from Athens' music.
With this technically being the second annual HalfAth, the road for a third annual is already being paved. As for when the first Even occurred, says Eduardo, "This is actually the second time Athens invaded Chatham County. Almost a dozen bands took over Hucapoos on Tybee in March 2019 during spring break, an unofficial Savannah Stopover day party also sponsored by Creature Comforts. We would definitely love to continue the trend."
Over the next week, leading up to HalfAth, OAK will be exploring each artist. Come back to read exclusive interviews with the bands.
To buy tickets visit: https://halfath-music-event.com