The Southern Agenda
Goings-on in the South & Beyond
THE OTHER MUSIC CITY
In late March, after the green beads and beer cans of St. Patrick’s Day are swept from the streets, Savannah cleans up its act for a little more refined celebration. From March 24 through April 9, the Hostess City of the South welcomes some of the most talented musicians from around the world for the Savannah Music Festival.
The festival started small some twenty years ago, but it’s steadily grown to include more than one hundred concerts, and it now draws real heavyweights. This year’s lineup includes New Orleans R&B from Allen Toussaint, jazz from Dianne Reeves with Brazilian guitarist Chico Pinheiro, and bluegrass from Doyle Lawson and the Punch Brothers. Concerts take place downtown in intimate historic theaters, churches, and museums, and on the River Street waterfront. But the best part about the festival is that you never know exactly what you’ll find. In 2008, banjo great Béla Fleck, an SMF regular, got together with jazz pianist Marcus Roberts at a late-night impromptu jam. They had such a good time that this year they’re coming back for two sets at the three-hundred-seat Charles H. Morris Center (March 29). It promises to be some very innovative music, and you won’t see it anywhere else. savannahmusicfestival.org
PARTY LIKE IT’S 1929
Times have certainly changed since F. Scott Fitzgerald’s heyday, when Prohibition was the law of the land. But you can still join other flappers and Lost Generation libertines for a night of dancing, jazz, and, nowadays, plenty of wine, at the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum’s annual gala (March 5). Located in a historic neighborhood in Montgomery, Zelda’s hometown, the museum is the only remaining structure where the Fitzgeralds lived, and you can view manuscripts and first editions of the writer’s works there, as well as several of Zelda’s paintings and drawings. Period dress is encouraged—but no need to sneak in a hip flask. fitzgeraldmuseum.net
Searching for the first signs of spring? Head to Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs. Verna Cook Garvan first developed the property in 1956, cultivating the azaleas, roses, and camellias with the same passion that made her Arkansas’s first female CEO. The gardens open at the beginning of February, followed closely by Daffodil Days (February 21–March 10), when some 175,000 daffodils of different varieties bloom. If you need a little more flower power, come back for the Tulip Extravaganza (March 21–April 3). Take that, winter. garvangardens.org