THE MAJOR outdoor shows of the summer may have passed, but the moon is about to turn on a new festival in the Savannah area.
Brainiacs, a multimedia production studio perched on 15 acres of sprawling green land and a lake right outside of Statesboro, will play host to Electric Moonlight Festival, (((EMF))) for short. It’s a chance to show off the new retreat space that its creators hope will provide a space for entertainment, education, and enlightenment year-round.
Visitors can escape the city to camp on lush grounds, using the nature surrounding them as inspiration to create in a relaxed atmosphere. A beautiful, antique wood-paneled building, fitted with colored glass panes, acts as a recording studio, and can also host events. Antique wood is also found in the living room, kitchen, floors, ceilings, and walls; recording in such an environment captures a rich, warm sound.
For only ten bucks a month, you can become a member and use the grounds at any time. Amenities include fishing pole rentals, billiards, a record player, a high definition projector viewing room, and the promise of “good vibes all around.”
Repeat: that’s a single Hamilton for 30 days of unlimited camping right up I-16.
Those interested can get their first taste at (((EMF))). A music, arts, and healing-focused festival, attendees can camp on the Brainiacs land and enjoy live painting, a Healing Sanctuary space, and plenty of music and community.
Savannah’s own psych-rockers Omingnome will be taking their new Kickstarter-funded bus up to Statesboro to headline the festivities. It’s a hop, skip, and a jump compared to their recent trek to fetch the bus, affectionately dubbed “Caterpillar” for its shape and eye-like windshield.
After a twenty-plus-hour round-trip journey up the east coast and back to get the thing, the gnomes are glad to be home in Savannah, and look forward to playing a new festival before they hit the road again for their Year of Healing Tour.
“It was crazy, driving this thing home,” guitarist/vocalist Tyler Cutitta says, surveying Caterpillar, which was originally used by a hospital. “I’ve never driven something this big.”
Determined to pursue their music careers while doing as little damage to the earth as possible, the environmentally-conscious band spent months researching and learning about vegetable oil power before reaching out to fans via the crowd-funding website. Once their goal was met, they started looking everywhere for a proper vessel.
“This thing showed up on eBay one day. I watched it like, ‘I can’t believe no one’s bidding on this,’” Cutitta said.
It’s not yet outfitted for veggie oil conversion, but luckily, the finest guy in the field is just up the road, and can do the job for the gnomes. “There’s a guy in Marietta, Georgia,” Cutitta explains. “He’s the world leader, one of the best. He does stuff from little Volkswagens and Mercedeses, to construction and buses. He always does a custom job.”
How’s it work? “There’s a separate tank—one you pour right in, and one it filters into. Up front,”—he motions toward the driver’s seat, which also features a handy loudspeaker— “you have a switch that switches over to veggie fuel when you’re on the highway.”
Omingnome are heavily involved in The Savannah Bazaar, a community-focused marketplace where Savannahians sell their handmade wares. Live music and performances accompany the monthly event.
That’s where they met Alan Wood, organizer behind (((EMF))). “He’s just a really determined guy doing a lot of the legwork to get it going.”
Vocalist and Theremin player Melissa Hagerty is a big fan of playing festivals. “That is the most ideal setting,” she says. “You can play to so many people.”
Adds Cutitta, “I like the idea that, at a festival, the crowd is already warmed up.”
While (((EMF))) is not the first of its kind in the Lowcountry, Cutitta thinks it’s a vital step toward putting Savannah on the map as a music city and cultural mecca.
“I think Savannah needs a two day festival to really take off,” he says. “It’ll help the community a lot. I feel that, unfortunately, a lot of people in town are scared to drive. I think that’s something we got to get our community more used to, to drive to a show. In Savannah, you get used to biking and walking – it’s so easy.”
In addition to Omingnome, Culture Vulture, Briteside, Hayes, uNI, Matt Duplessie, and more will share their musical talents. And with such varied offerings as live painting, morning yoga, drum circles, holistic healing sessions, open mics, cooking demonstrations, fire performance, late night DJ sets, and more, (((EMF))) will certainly be worth grabbing the keys and hitting the road for something new and different.
Omingnome plans to camp on ground and enjoy spending time with their Savannah music and arts family before their departure.
Before they leave for a 10-week tour, heading toward the Northeast, New York, Kentucky, New Orleans, Texas, and California, they’ll play Food Day and the March Against Monsanto rally in their hometown.
Being rooted in their ecological and humanitarian efforts makes Omingnome the natural first choice for cause and awareness-based festivals.
“Gnomes are the protectors of the forest, and the earth,” bassist Tony Bavaro explains. “And I think that they also represent the whimsical part of our imagination that is our consciousness creating reality around us. It ties into the oming part [of the name], because that’s the frequency of the universe—om.”
With Electric Moonlight Festival’s opportunities to create, heal, and, above all, connect, there couldn’t be a better band to provide the soundtrack.