Experience summertime at the Blues, Jazz, & BBQ Fest 

Live music from AJ Ghent, Velvet Caravan, more

Ray Lundy of Bottles and Cans.
  • Ray Lundy of Bottles and Cans.

SALTY air tousling your hair. Icy beer chilling your fingertips. The sweet bend of guitar strings prickling your ears. Steam curling off of a plate piled high with fresh, hot pork.

Through the Blues, Jazz, and BBQ Festival, Savannah Waterfront Association (SWA) hopes to have all of your summer senses tingling.

“It’s a unique event, because when you walk down there, you smell the barbecue—the restaurants have their smokers going—you can hear the music...it’s a fun event to attend, see live entertainment and the mix of the sounds and smell of summer,” says SWA’s Leigh Anne DiVito.

2015 marks the third anniversary of the three-day family-friendly River Street tradition.

“Our first year was a huge success,” DiVito recalls. “We were just blown away by the amount of tourists and locals who came out. Immediately it became a popular event.”

As the celebration has grown in popularity, SWA anticipates their largest turnout ever this year.

The Low Counts
  • The Low Counts

Showcasing both local and regional talent has always been a priority for the festival; Savannah favorites like Eric Culberson Band, Bottles & Cans, Hitman Blues Band, and Velvet Caravan will perform.

“We are very excited to have Eric Culberson come back,” DiVito says of the local bluesman. “And we’re very excited to have all these regional bands; for some, it’s their first time performing in Savannah.”

Regional talent includes Florida jazz musician Doug Carn Soul Explosion, the captivating lap steel guitar playing of AJ Ghent and his band, two-piece wielders of “blue collar rock ‘n’ roll” The Low Counts, Atlanta garage rocker Rod Hamdallah, and Charleston pianist Richard Harris White, Jr.

The AJ Ghent Band
  • The AJ Ghent Band

A new addition for those who enjoy partaking in adult beverages is the VIP Bud Light Blues Club, a bar with two-story seating for an optimal view of the bands.

Wanna be one of the cool kids? Just look for a Bud Light representative. They’ll be on hand handing out swag, including VIP badges—scope them out down by the Bud Light tables and big umbrellas.

As for the ‘cue, a variety of River Street vendors will be firing up the smokers to cook up the most succulent meat around.

Guests are encouraged to wander and check out all that the festival has to offer. DiVito notes that there will be arts and crafts vendors peddling their wares; get some grub and wander to have a look at their one-of-a-kind, handmade goods.

You know what time it is!
  • You know what time it is!

On day one of the fest, First Friday fireworks will close out the evening in resplendent summer fashion.

“It’s a free event, so it’s open to anyone,” DiVito says. “It’s family-friendly; we love to see people bring their pets!”

With water for the pups, activities for the kids, and all the sights and sounds of summer, River Street it the place to be this weekend, for locals and visitors alike.




4pm-5:30 p.m. – Eric Culberson Band

6pm-7:30 p.m. – Hitman Blues Band

8pm-10pm – Doug Carn Soul Explosion


Noon-1:30 p.m. – The Low Counts

2-3:30 p.m. – Main Street Trio

4-5:30 p.m. – Bottles & Cans

6pm-7:30pm -= Rod Hamdallah

8-10 p.m. – AJ Ghent Band


12:30-2:30 – Richard Harris Trio

3-5pm – Velvet Caravan


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About The Author

Anna Chandler

Anna Chandler

Connect Savannah Arts & Entertainment Editor Anna Chandler started writing about music after growing hoarse from talking about it nonstop. Born in Tennessee and raised in South Carolina, she has been a proud Savannahian for 8 years. She sings & plays guitar & accordion in COEDS and Lovely Locks.


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Connect Today 12.13.2017

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