Dog Days Fest is the culmination of everything Dog Days Presents has built in the last three years.
Dog Days founder Kyle Brown has earned a reputation as a major player in Savannah’s music scene playing in Reverend Bro Diddley and the Hips, and his own Chipper Bones. Brown created Dog Days Presents when he helped organize the Halfath Music Event in 2021.
“I didn’t have too much say in the programming, or really anything,” said Brown. “I was just sort of the Savannah counterpart to an Athens idea. I was the operations and promotional guy, but it wasn’t me, really.”
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Since then, Brown has booked over 60 shows in Savannah and feels like he has developed a good enough relationship with Savannah’s music scene to take Dog Days to the next level.
“Being in the music industry, being part of a rock outfit forever, and then trying to culminate the scene, I felt like this was the next step in my business and my place in the Savannah scene, and maybe the southeastern scene,” said Brown.
If it seems like Dog Days Presents’ presence has slowed down in recent months, it’s because Brown felt like people needed a breather from the fully loaded schedule of indie-rock shows he usually books. But after a break Brown is ready to come back bigger than ever with a new mission and approach.
“It’s amazing how all of these other booking collectives have come out of the woodwork, and I felt like my place in the scene, I need to provide more mid-size, regional entertainment, and also a vision for a different type of music festival than Savannah has seen,” explained Brown. “These other booking collectives, we’re all little parts of the Savannah machine, and I felt like I needed to be a different part.”
Dog Days Fest will take place outside at Starland Yard from June 2 to June 4 and be all-ages. Other components of the festival will take place at El Rocko Lounge, Over Yonder, and Late Air. The line-up features an exciting mix of rock bands from around the country (and one from overseas), and some beloved local acts.
“I felt compelled to bring acts that Savannah hasn’t seen before,” said Brown. “It’s a double-edged sword because you can create cool relationships with bands and they can have an audience here that feels like a hometown. You also need to excite people by bringing new, exciting, different talent.”
The top of the bill features Prison Affairs from Barcelona, Spain. Brown described them as sounding like 8-Bit Ramones punk. “They’ve got a growing niche audience, and I’ve actually booked them a whole nationwide tour on top of playing Savannah,” said Brown.
Deeper, from Chicago, are Stopover alums, and have angular Cure-like vibes. BNNY, also from Chicago, play soft grunge dream pop. Video Age, from New Orleans, are known for their catchy singles and hooks. “They’re like a hi-fidelity indie funk band that writes like Hall & Oates,” said Brown.
Sick Thoughts, also from New Orleans, play thrashy rock and roll, while Knife Play are part of Philadelphia’s burgeoning shoegaze scene.
Neo-Country music will also be represented at Dog Days Fest by Nashville’s Teddy & The Rough Riders, and Dougie Poole, who will be joined by Savannah all-star country band Intracoastal Playboys.
The rest of the line-up includes local bands and some Dog Days alumni like Heffner, Basically Nancy, Coma Therapy, Low Town, Consumables, Foyer Red, Simplicity, and Western Funeral Company. The Reverend Bro Diddley family will also be well represented by Chipper Bones, Black Hat, and Jalen Reyes.
One aspect of Dog Days Fest Brown is excited (but cryptic) about is the unique stage being custom built for the festival.
“I just think festival stages are so ugly,” said Brown. “Everyone knows what they look like. It’s so unexciting. It’s so much money to spend and it feels so lifeless.” Brown also cites large scale productions by big acts Kendrick Lamar and King of Leon as an inspiration for trying to elevate what is normally expected from a mid-sized indie festival.
“I’m trying to provide that scale of production in a DIY way with bands that might not normally be able to have that.”
Although Dog Days Presents is known for booking a particular brand of indie-rock, Brown wants Dog Days Fest to expand upon idea of what people can expect from a Dog Days event. A little more country, a little more punk, and a little more rock and roll.
“I think for me, it goes really hard,” said Brown. “There is a lot of noise rock and roll on this festival. What does Savannah like? It likes punk and country, so I wanted to keep it simple. Just a live event to remember.”
IF YOU GO
What: Dog Days Fest!
When: June 2-4
Where: Starland Yard
Cost: $85 for 3-day pass, single day pass TBD
This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Savannah GA concerts music festivals: Dog Days Fest at Starland Yard