Festival Origins

a vision brought to life


The Porter Fleming Foundation was created in 1963 by Barry Fleming to honor his father: painter and writer Porter Fleming. The Trustees of the Academy of Richmond County work on behalf of the Porter Fleming Foundation administering grants and fellowships to organizations and individuals who demonstrate excellence in the fields of education, literature, art, science, history, music and culture.

In 2005, the Foundation received a bequest from Shirley Fleming's estate. Ms. Fleming, an artist like her father and grandfather, was a highly regarded music critic in New York City until her death in 2005. During her career in New York, she maintained a home in and a passion for Augusta, Georgia. In 2005, the Trustees had a vision of creating a festival that would culturally enrich the Augusta's residents and visitors. There began the planning for the first Westobou Festival. These visionaries first came up with the name, Westobou.

The Westobou River, the former name of the Savannah River, was derived from the Westo Indians who migrated to Augusta in the 1660's. The Savanna Indians defeated the Westo Indians in 1680, and the river that now runs through downtown Augusta remains named after the Savanna Indians, the Savannah River.

What is the Westobou Festival?

Westobou Festival puts a spotlight on the Central Savannah River Area through a celebration of national and international talent. The festival prides itself on its ability to connect our audience with everything from award winning premier artistic performances to rock concerts. Westobou maintains a high quality of performances appealing to all.

Celebrating excellence in the arts, the festival includes an array of performances and exhibitions featuring distinct talent in the disciplines of dance, film, music, spoken words and visual arts. Westobou Festival gives audiences the opportunity to experience the power of art within the backdrop of our exciting city.

Where is the Westobou Festival?

The Westobou stage can not be contained within a single venue, but can be seen throughout the Central Savannah River Area: including downtown Augusta, Georgia Regents University, Paine College and North Augusta, SC.

Westobou Festival headquarters is The Old Academy of Richmond County. Chartered in 1783, this historic property plays hosts to visual art exhibitions and concerts. In 2011, the festival presented five concerts on the adjacent Parade field including Roseanne Cash, Blue Rodeo and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. The success, and beauty, of the Parade grounds will continue to play a vital role in the festival.