Riverbend Festival Trimming To 4 Days; Keith Urban Set For May 31; Faith And Family Night, Bessie Smith Strut Cut

Keith Urban

Keith Urban

Chattanooga’s long-running Riverbend Festival will be trimmed back from nine days in early June to four days in late May.

The dates for this year’s Riverbend will be Wednesday, May 29, through Saturday, June 1.

Country star Keith Urban will be the star attraction on Friday, May 31. Other acts will be announced later.

The festival along the riverfront has traditionally run for nine days.

The festival, dating back over 35 years, is one of the oldest self-sustaining festivals in the country.

Chip Baker, executive director of Friends of the Festival, said at an official announcement at Songbirds at the Chattanooga Choo Choo that the top musical acts on the Coke Stage will be booked by AC Entertainment that has brought a host of top acts to the Tivoli and Memorial Auditorium.

“It will be a show you don’t want to miss,” he said.

Joe Fuller, who has lined up the Riverbend entertainment for much of the festival’s history, said, “The music is going to be a lot better. We’re going to have great music.throughout the lineup. No one should show up late.”

There will no longer be a Unum Stage near the Hunter Museum.

There will still be the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union Stage, The Bud Lite Stage, the Chevrolet Stage and the Coca Cola Stage.

Mr. Fuller, in a podcast with Jeff Styles, said, “The tickets are going to cost more. It’s going to be about 75 bucks.” That is up from around $45. Children six and under will be free.

He said, “Keith Urban – average price is $120 for one of his concerts.”

The tickets go on sale on Monday. They will be $60 for Tier 1, $65 for Tier 2, $70 for Tier 3, $75 for Tier 4 and $80 for Tier 5.

Club Riverbend tickets, which gives access to the Pier near the Coca Cola Stage, are $255 and $285.

Mr. Fuller also said, “We’re getting rid of the tokens. It will be cashless. We’ll use wrist bands like other festivals.”

There will no longer be a Faith and Family Night or a Bessie Smith Strut.

Mr. Fuller said officials at the Bessie Smith Hall plan a musical event in the fall, “and we’re going to help them with that.”

There will be an adult lounge called the Whiskey River Lounge as well as a ferris wheel.

Mr. Baker said, “Like Chattanooga, we are evolving. We are modernizing to reflect how Chattanooga has changed.”

He said AC Entertainment “has the leverage to bring top name entertainment.’

The remainder of the lineup will be introduced in mid-February.

Mr. Baker said the festival site “will be condensed and we will have a new entrance way. You will feel the difference when you enter.”

He said the music will be coordinated with the festival lighting.

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