Friday, June 1, 2012

(Re)Discover Chattanooga Riverbend 2012

There are a lot of reasons to go (or not go) to Riverbend.  The crowds, the extremely diverse music, the festival either love it or hate it.

I'm in the group of people who go to Riverbend for the music.  It may sound strange, but sometimes I think we're in the minority.

One of the best things about Riverbend, for me, is being exposed to new music.  I love music, but I don't get out as much as I like, and Riverbend is a great (and cheap!) way to be exposed to a lot of new music in a short period of time.

The small stages at Riverbend are perfect for getting to hear new music.  Last year I had a blast with Dirty Guv'nahs out of Knoxville, and they've become a favorite of mine to see live.

Here is a list (by date) of the music I'm most excited about for Riverbend 2012:
  • The Future Birds June 8, 2012 7:00 pm Bud Light Stage These guys are out of Athens and have been doing some pretty serious touring for an up-and-coming band.  I'm excited to get a chance to check them out.  Video
  • Machines Are People Too June 9, 2012 5:00 pm Bud Light Stage Electro Dance comes to Riverbend...if I can make it at 5, this would be an interesting way to kick off the festival!
  • The Dirty South June 8, 2012 11:00 pm The Volkswagen Stage There wasn't a description of this band on the Riverbend site, but according to this the The Dirty South band from the UK, and not the Dirty South band with 3 followers on facebook.  If I knew which Dirty South this was I might make a point to walk up to the Hunter after Foreigner, but we'll see.
  •  *FOREIGNER* June 9, 2012 9:30 pm Coke Stage  I'm not usually a fan of the main acts at Riverbend, but this is a classic and I can't wait to rock out to songs like "Cold As Ice," "Feels Like the First Time," "Hot Blooded," "Double Vision," and "I Want To Know What Love Is."
  • *GOV'T MULE* June 10, 2012 6:45 pm Bud Light Stage This is a band that's been on my radar for at least 5 or 6 years, but I've never gotten a chance to hear live.  And not hearing Warren Haynes live is something I plan on fixing. This might be the top of my "Must See" list for this year. 
  • Joe Louis Walker June 10, 2012 8:00 pm Unum Stage  You had me at "blues on the electric violin."
  • Cast Iron Filter June 10, 2012 9:30 pm Meo Mio's Cajun Spirits Stage Progressive bluegrass meets jamband...I'm in :) 
  • Rebirth Brass Band June 10, 2012 9:30 pm Unum Stage There is no way this won't be fun.
  • Smooth Dialects June 13, 2012 5:00 pm Bud Light Stage  Shake your groove thang.  This is a band I'm not familiar with, but I like the name, the photos, and the idea of mixing funk, reggae, soul, jazz, blues and world music.The only think I'm not excited about it the time...5:00 is tough for me if this is a work night. 
  • Uncle Lucius June 13, 2012 8:00 pm Unum Stage  I feel like I've heard of these guys from one of my better versed friends in music.  Add a white guy with a giant fro, and you know this show is going to be fun.
  • *YO MAMA'S BIG FAT BOOTY BAND* June 14, 2012 6:15 pm Bud Light Stage  This is one I'm not just picking based on the name...although the name is awesome...this show should be a lot of fun, and is on my "Must See" list.
  • Mother of Pearl June 15, 2012 7:30 pm Meo Mio's Cajun Spirits Stage  This caught my eye for 2 reasons...Mother of Pearl is my favorite expletive, and this is the only stage where mixed drinks are available.  Since I'm both allergic to hops and a fan of adult beverages, I think I'll be able to see what this band is all about.
  • *BLACKBERRY SMOKE* June 15, 2012 7:45 pm Bud Light Stage  This band has come across my radar more than once in the past year, and I hope I get to check them out.
  • Goo Goo Dolls June 15, 2012 9:30 pm Coke Stage  This just makes me giggle, knowing the Goo-Goo Dolls are still around, but I'll be in the back singing along.
  • Digital Butter June 15, 2012 11:00 pm The Volkswagen Stage A local band with a funky name.  They produce their own music, and have been around since 2009.  I feel like they'll be worth giving a listen while the traffic dies down.
  • *LAUREN ALAINA* June 16, 2012 9:30 pm Coke Stage Yes, I'm a fan of American Idol.  Yes, I'm a fan of most things local.  Yes, I plan on being there for Lauren Alaina and the fireworks...I'm a sucker for fireworks.
ProTip: Blanket Seating.  If there is a band you really want to hear on the Coca Cola stage, consider blanket seating.  It's just $10 per person per night, and you can lay out your blanket on the grass at the base of the stage.  The downside is the barge sits pretty tall, so you can't see more than the front edge of the stage.  But the sound is good, there are plenty of screens, you're with people who are there for the music, and you have your own private concessions & bathrooms.  Last year we did this for The Machine with The Chattanooga Symphony's covering of Pink Floyd, and it was AWESOME.  We put out our blanket, got our wristbands, and walked around the festival until it was time for the show. Everything was as we left it, and the show was great.
View from Blanket Seating last year

New this year: Specialty alcoholic beverages.  This isn't really new to Riverbend - it's just coming back.  Mixed drinks (margarita's etc) will be sold at the Meo Mio's Cajun Spirits Stage. This is the only place in the festival they will be sold.  As someone who is allergic to beer, I miss the days of the Jack Daniels tent.

Riverbend Information:

Pins: General Admission Pins can be purchased from May 1 - June 7 at midnight for $32 at local Kangaroo gas stations. Gate price starting June 8 is $45. One night wristbands are $26 and can be purchased at the entry gates. Senior citizen and military one night passes are discounted to $12.
Festival tokens are valued at $.50 cents each, and are used for all food and beverage purchases. Token Centers are also located throughout the festival where they are sold at face value. Tokens are good for all days of the festival, *including* for the Bessie Smith Strut. Tokens are nonrefundable, but may be used at the 2012 Riverbend Festival. 
Parking: Plenty of paid parking is available throughout downtown Chattanooga. Shuttle buses will be available for $1 per ride from 6PM-12:15AM every night of the festival, except during the Bessie Smith Strut (Monday, June 13th). Parking is available at Finley Stadium and the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The shuttle will drop patrons off at the corner of 3rd and Bro ad Streets. 
Alcohol: Age verification wristbands are required for all alcoholic beverage consumption. Wristbands are available at all token and beer locations. . All alcohol sales will cease 15 minutes before the final show is scheduled to end. All other concessions will close when the last show is over. 
Blanket Seating: Bring a blanket and stretch out on the lawn in front of the Coca-Cola Stage for only $10 a person (per night) with your Riverbend admission pin. Wristbands available at the Main Gate located at Chestnut and 2nd Street, and at the entrance to the Blanket Seating area. 
Boaters: Boaters can enter the festival through the Walnut Street Pier Gate, but admission pins must be purchased in advance.

More Riverbend Info
Facebook - @RBFestival

Update 6/8/12:  They will be serving Chattanooga Whiskey at Riverbend this year....this makes me happy. 


  1. You will not be sorry you put Gov't Mule at the top of your must see list. I've seen Warren several times - most recently at Track 29 which was awesome - and will continue to see him every chance I get.

    I haven't seen Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, but some good friends did, and highly recommended them I'm hoping to see them this year.

    We're going with some friends on their boat the night of Foreigner...Riverbend from a boat is fun - you can't see the stage, but you also don't get jostled by the crowd, and it's much, much cooler...

    Maybe we'll bump into each other!

    1. Odds are good we'll see each other for Gov't Mule, or you can probably find me at the Meo Mio's Cajun Spirits Stage :) I'd love to do Riverbend from a boat sometime, but a good friend sold her boat last summer.

  2. Did you see Lauren Alaina?? Foreigner haha I love that!! I would totally want to go this for the music and the food

    1. Riverbend starts this coming weekend, goes for a week, and then Lauren Alaina will close the show June 16th with the fireworks. I can't wait, it should be a lot of fun :)


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