Catfish Derby benefit concert set for Saturday in downtown Savannah


A special benefit concert will be held in downtown Savannah this weekend.

The first Catfish Derby benefit concert series was created by the Hardin County Leadership Class of 2021 and it features Chelsea Rhodes, Chandler Stephens and Mighty Swell. The show’s headliners are Deana Carter and Hardin County’s country star Darryl Worley and Friends.

Timothy White was the Hardin County Leadership Class president and now one of the group’s syndicate chairmen. He said the benefit concert was designed to help the area’s non-profits.

“Our class recognized the need within several wonderful non-profit organizations that experienced setbacks from their normal fundraising activities due to the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time for that to change,” White said.

The concert is in addition to the National Catfish Derby and World Championship of Catfishing Tournament, an annual event held in Savannah for many years.

“Our class did not feel the need to create a new event per se, but to build on an already existing event. We chose the Catfish Derby as a suggestion from the City of Savannah, who was looking for a larger festival or event than it has seen in year’s past,” said White.

“Most of the fishing tournaments that come to town encourage a festival of sort that’s built around the tournament and gives followers something to do while awaiting the boats from the water. The Derby seemed a perfect fit,” White explained.

The Catfish Derby is billed as the “granddaddy” of catfishing events and includes family fun in addition to fishing. The all-day tournament will include various food and craft vendors, as well as a car show. When the fisherman end their excursion they will drive by Court Square so everyone will have a chance to see the prize catches.

The Catfish Derby concert and the traditional Catfish Derby events will both be on Savannah’s Main Street on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The Catfish Derby events are free and are open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Court Square.

Trey Nichols will be performing on Main Street between noon to 4 p.m. Nichols’ concert is billed as a pre-show event to the Derby’s benefit concert.

The Catfish Derby benefit concert is a ticketed event. Main Street will be gated off between Camby Circle and Williams Street. Gates for the concert open at 2 p.m. and children 5 and under are admitted free.

“Proceeds from the ticket sales will be directly allocated to assist the already existing, local non-profit organizations or community emergency response as the need arises,” White said.

He added, “We do look forward to the concert being an annual event. The Leadership of Hardin County Syndicate was also created to maintain future business for the Catfish Derby benefit concert and is seated with past members of Leadership Hardin County Classes, with the Hardin County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director and Savannah Main Street executive director serving as advisory members.”

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at Savannah City Hall or online at