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Live music gets the boot from River Street St. Patrick's Day party

Published: Mar. 1, 2012 at 11:43 PM EST|Updated: Apr. 9, 2012 at 8:07 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Some local musicians are not in a festive mood. They've been told their talents won't be needed during the two-day St. Patrick's Day festival on River Street...in two weeks.

Live music is out, according to local officials who attended a meeting of the Riverfront Savannah members Wednesday night. It's a big change in the annual festival.

Sources say tell WTOC money was the issue, as the festival committee wanted to save money due to a shorter festival this year and lower profits.

Live music has been featured since the late 1990's. Before then, a DJ would spin music.

The news started to spread last Friday through an e-mail warning musicians the change MAY be coming. By Wednesday afternoon, it was all but certain, even though the bands were lined up weeks ago and were ready to play. Now, they say they are out a big pay day, a major gig and playing live for what is expected to be the biggest audience in many years.

"Well, I'm really in an uproar about it to tell you the truth, because we're supposed to headline Friday night and we're supposed to play 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. This is kind of a shocker for the people who have been booked weeks prior to this event," Ginger Fawcett, lead singer of Liquid Ginger, told WTOC.

Fawcett says the band was told Wednesday afternoon they were not going to be playing after all. WTOC spoke to community leaders who say live music had been canceled and replaced with a DJ, who normally would play between bands.

"10 years we've been playing and you know I have produced concert events for years and I know, of all people know, about cutting costs and budgets," Fawcett said. "This is a slap in the face to local musicians. You don't cut music out of an event like this. It just doesn't happen. That's not even heard of."

WTOC contacted Riverfront Savannah board chairman Bill Atkinson and played phone tag with vice-chairman Mark Dana. Dana did not confirm nor deny the festival change.

Bars and restaurants along River Street traditionally have live music inside their venues, especially during St. Patrick's Day. That is expected to continue, but live bands outside on River Street appears to be discontinued, at least for this year.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.