The 912 Group debuts with Dairy Daze Fall Music Fest

todayNovember 4, 2023 4

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Savannah punches above its weight in live music offerings and year-round festivals. From the city’s growing art scene to new music venues, more artists are calling the Hostess City home. Musicians, in particular, are fortunate to have the support of a business-minded community who offer opportunities to promote and market their talent to local audiences.

Enter The 912 Group. The city’s newest creative promotions agency is making its debut with the inaugural Dairy Daze Fall Music Fest benefitting Pegasus Riding Academy. The 912 Group is bringing a stacked lineup of musicians to Old Roberds Farm on the east side for an all-day event with family-friendly activities, food trucks, and drinks.

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“We want to uplift and promote the creative community of Savannah and help monetize and share their art with the community,” said co-founder Michael Edwards. “The three pillars of The 912 Group are event planning, community building, and working with artists to assist them with booking or copywriting or licensing, whatever helps them protect and monetize their art.”

A partner at the Thomerson Jones & Edwards Law Firm, Edwards formed The 912 Group with local metal sculptor and former SCAD and Georgia Southern professor Matt Toole. They met in and around the music community and became friends, sharing a passion for the arts. The business-minded Edwards and the professional creative Toole complement each other well, and the partnership was formalized with the decision to stop talking and take action.

The Old Roberds Dairy Farm, out of the milk business since 1986, has found new life as an event, wedding, performance, and artist studio space, with 165 lush acres, ten minutes from downtown, Savannah. Toole Sculpture Works and Pegasus Riding Academy are two tenants, so what now seems obvious just fell into place. The 912 Group was formed, and the Dairy Daze Fall Music Fest would be their first event.

Considering the space and the band lineup, they are poised to make a strong debut. Headlining the show is alt/country musician Ash Gray. He cut his teeth in roots rock bands in Austin, Texas, before heading to Sheffield, England, where he’s led a thriving psychedelic country rock movement. He describes his sound as “something like Grateful Dead meets Tom Petty.”

click to enlarge The 912 Group Takes Center Stage with Dairy Daze Fall Music Fest (2)

Gray’s involvement has a personal connection. He and Edwards became friends when Edwards was living in Sheffield. On a stateside road trip a few years later, Gray committed to the unknown.

“We were with other friends going from California to Texas while Michael was incubating some ideas for the festival. I basically said if you create this festival, I’d love to be part of it,” Gray explained.

The theme of friendship and community extends to another act on the bill. Members of Soap, a Savannah mainstay that has been busier than they’ve been in years, are also friends of Edwards and Toole. The band’s participation was an easy decision.

“I love the dairy and I’ve known Peggi [of Pegasus Riding Academy] for thirty years. We’re members of the same church. What they do for disabled children and others….their mission is pretty magical, so a festival benefitting Pegasus is something we wanted to be involved with,” said Soap vocalist Joa Kelly.

click to enlarge The 912 Group Takes Center Stage with Dairy Daze Fall Music Fest (4)

“This festival encapsulates different genres, all sorts of people, and the spirit of community it’s building is what we love about this,” added Soap vocalist Renee Miller.

It’s an excellent time to be a Soap fan. Along with the festival appearance, the band spent time in Atlanta recently performing three songs for NPR/GPB’s Peach Jam podcast, which airs on Nov. 17. They also played a couple of well-received weekend shows while in Atlanta and are recording a few songs termed an extended play (EP). Edwards, Soap’s manager, heard about the Peach Jam series and immediately contacted them. In short order, Soap was booked.

“We didn’t know what to expect, and it ended up being the coolest musical experience for me,” Miller said.

Andrew Sovine echoes the sentiment. The Nashville-bred son of a songwriter and grandson of Grand Ole Opry member Red Sovine has made Savannah his home for the last six years. Getting his trio involved in Dairy Daze was a snap.

“Michael and I have known each other for a few years, and he’s always been supportive of me and my music. When he asked me to get involved, I immediately said yes. Good cause, good people, good music. That’s the holy trinity,” Sovine said.

click to enlarge The 912 Group Takes Center Stage with Dairy Daze Fall Music Fest (3)

Rounding out the entertainment is local musician Ty Thompson, formerly of Rev. Bro Diddley & the Hips and Black Hat, who treats the festival to his latest creation, “Holy Scare.” Fans of his former groups know to expect the unexpected, with genres dissolving before your eyes and ears.

To maintain engagement between bands, Savannah author Jessica Leigh Lebos will present readings of her work. Comedian Stephanie Kaple will also appear between sets. And in a revelation of brilliance that tells you just how well-thought-out this festival is, there will be TV screens showing the Georgia vs. Tennessee game. The 912 Group knows their audience.

They also know a good cause when they see one, and Pegasus Riding Academy couldn’t be happier with the support. Founded in 2014, the non-profit provides equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. Pegasus also has a thriving military program serving active duty and retired military, as well as first responders.

“We are very excited to be the beneficiary and an active participant in Dairy Daze. We’ve been at Roberds Dairy farm for seven years, and this festival is just more proof of how this creative community is growing,” said Pegasus Director Peggi Lyn Noon. “Matt Toole has been a an exceptionally strong supporter since we arrived,” she added.

Horses are not an inexpensive therapy model, but the benefits are irreplaceable. Pegasus depends on a large group of volunteers who generously donate their time, but an infusion of funds goes a long way to supporting the mission.

The 912 Group Takes Center Stage with Dairy Daze Fall Music Fest (5)

Ideas of music, community, and art supporting a great cause can easily seem cliché, but there is no denying how real it is in Savannah. Based on interest, willing participants, and the enthusiasm to build up an already thriving creative scene, The 912 Group and Dairy Daze are a welcome addition with a promising future.

Dairy Daze Fall Music Fest
Saturday, Nov. 18 | 3–10 p.m.
Old Roberds Dairy Farm
2500 Tennessee Ave., Savannah, Ga.

For more information and tickets.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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