A-TOWN GET DOWN is back! The annual February celebration of arts, music, and the astounding impact that both can have on our lives takes place at the Charles Morris Center on Saturday. The sixth annual fest is held in loving memory of SCAD student Alex "A-Town" Townsend, a creator, giver and explorer whose encouraging spirit permeates every inch of the festival.
Get the most out of your day with visual art created before your very eyes, a wealth of music performed by world-class musicians, and plenty of time to mingle with your community.
Robert Randolph & the Family Band | 10 p.m., Ballroom
Get ready to dance and holler with the funky soul of pedal steel master Robert Randolph and his wildly fun and talented family band.
Randolph came up playing the sacred steel in the House of God Church and was discovered while playing at a convention dedicated to sacred steel in Florida. Now, he takes his art all around the world, playing huge festivals and concert halls alike.
Despite the miles on the road, awards, and sold-out crowds, the thirty-something doesn’t really consider his time in the limelight to be that different than his years spent playing on Sunday mornings.
“It was just an easy transition for me,” he says. “It’s all a church. You bring the people together. We write these songs, play them, and it gives the audience a sense of joy. It’s a singalong-dance, everybody’s involved; that’s really, for me, what it’s about.”
Fans of Earth, Wind & Fire and Sly & the Family Stone will adore the contagious energy that the multitalented Randolph and his family emanate.
“We try to move people around,” Randolph says. “The bass player may play the organ, the organ player may play the bass. I may play guitar...it’s kind of funny, that’s how we grew up in church! Everybody had to learn how to play one of the instruments because one of the aunts or grandmothers would say, ‘Let them play this time!’ To keep parents from arguing, you had to switch it up; it gets fun.”
Randolph’s own experience growing up with music makes him a perfect headliner for a festival that is rooted in the celebration of the positive impact of the arts.
“What music did for me—and basically all of us as a band—we were still street kids, church kids all at the same time,” he explains. “The music was something we all turned to as a positive thing to keep our minds focused or give us something to hold onto. That’s what music, arts, dancing, singing does: it opens up the eye and opens up the heart, and it really becomes something that you just fall in love with.
“I was just telling somebody the other day that, even if you take away all the fame and records, being on TV and touring, I would be just as happy sitting in my room practicing guitar. There’s something about it that puts you in a state of calmness. It’s always trying to expand and challenge yourself. Here I am today: I’ve met presidents, kings, queens, senators, you name it. I’ve been all over the world, and this is what music has done for me, for all of us.”
Andrae Murchison | 7 p.m., Patio Tent
One of the most talented and versatile trombonists of his generation, Savannah native Murchinson has played with the likes of The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Roy Hargrove, The Count Basic Orchestra, and many more.
Arvid Smith | 6:30 p.m., Bishops Court
Jacksonville’s Arvid Smith will showcase a vast array of instrumental precision, from 12-string guitar to sitar, tanpura (a plucked stringed instrument), and swaramanda (an Indian harp). Smith is joined by Sandie Iythgoe on native drone flutes and percussion.
Smith will also teach a workshop, Blues & Slide Guitar, where attendees will learn 96 essential chords in the first ten minutes (!!!), finger style patterns, and slide tunings. A guitar is not required, but players are welcome to bring their own. The workshop is at 3 p.m. in Bishops Court.
The Currys | 1:30 p.m., Ballroom |
4:30 p.m., Patio Tent
Enjoy warm harmonies and folk influences from this Americana trio.
The Florida Ballet + Walter Parks |
5 p.m., Ballroom
A-Town Get Down tends to create and spark some really unique collaborations; this time, Jacksonville’s Florida Ballet has created original choreography to perform with A-Town regular Walter Parks’ musical compositions.
Parks will also host his annual Open Jam at 1 p.m. in Bishops Court.
The Get Right Band | 8:30 p.m., Patio Tent
With technical virtuoso, funk, and a whole lot of fun, The Get Right Band will get the crowd moving.
Gill Landry | 5:30 p.m., Ballroom
Singer-songwriter Gill Landry will bring his Louisana-raised sound to the stage.
Infallible Funk | 6:30 p.m., Ballroom
Hip-hop rhythms and old-school funk meet through Savannah’s own Infallible Funk.
Isaac Smith | 2 p.m., Patio Tent
Local pop-folk singer-songwriter Isaac Smith makes his A-Town return.
Kay Dené + The Record | 3 p.m., Patio Tent
Atlanta’s Kay Dené brings pop, rock, and soul to the stage with her band, The Record.
Marques and The Marvelous Miracles | 9 p.m., Ballroom
Marques and his Miracles brought the house down at last year’s Get Down with high-energy gospel and pure passion.
Paris Monster | 9:30 p.m., Patio Tent
Synth-pop, garage, funk and soul meet in the sounds of Paris Monster.
Randall Bramblett | 7:30 p.m., Ballroom
Blues/folk/gospel star Randall Bramblett brings his solo work to A-Town; the talented player has worked with the likes of Gregg Allman, Bonnie Raitt, and many more.
Savannah Children’s Choir |
2:30 p.m., Ballroom
Always a treat to see our amazing local choral youth sing their hearts out.
Taylor Roberts | 5:30 p.m., Bishops Court
Get your jazz fix with Taylor Roberts’ incredible guitar skills.
Waits + Co. | 3:30 p.m., Ballroom
Savannah’s alt-country trio brings Southern-steeped stories to the stage.
Danielle French | 4 p.m., Bishops Court
Alberta, Canada’s Danielle French composes songs for travelers, adventurers, and the wild at heart.
Lil’ J | 12:30 p.m., Patio Tent
At just 13 years old, Jayden Dukes (Lil’ J) is creating quite an impact in the Savannah community with his six years of hip-hop songwriting and performance experience.
Bring the kids out for crafts, portrait painting, fashion illustration, the Adobe Digital Arts Lab, face paint, and ceramics, with Vinyl Appreciation on the decks to set the mood.
The Experience Collective
Check out the large-scale work in Bishops Court created by this unique design studio.
Art Rise Savannah’s vinyl record splatter art station is always a favorite.
Every year, several artists are selected to collaborate on six panels; attendees can place a bid to take home the art at the end of the day. This year features an incredible slate of talent, including Debora Oden, Lee O’Neil, Clayton Walsh, Adolfo H. Alvarado, Katherine Sandoz, and Elizabeth Winnell.
Artists Nick Cannon, Kimberly Valentinsson, John Golden, Tim Kelly, and Stephen Green will exhibit work, as well.
A-Town Get Down
Saturday, February 27, 12 p.m.
Charles H. Morris Center at Trustee's Garden
Free before 5 p.m., $25 after 5 p.m.,
$15 for students and military with ID