Chattanooga is a pretty cool town. Go downtown on any night and look at the crowds of people enjoying our lovely city, listening to live music, having a meal, or taking in a ballgame or move. When I grew up here, it was pretty creepy downtown after dark. Now it is vibrant and alive with bustling activity.
Nightfall, Riverbend, the Southern Brewers Festival, boat races, restaurants with outdoor patios, and many other events help form the character of this wonderful town. I heard Jeff Styles comment that his late father had asked him about Nightfall on a visit to our town. His dad asked if we have that event every year. Jeff informed him that we have that particular party every Friday night in season! I imagine visitors to our city wonder the same thing and even go back home and tell their friends about the cool event in the middle of town, with live music and thousands of people. Little do they know – Chattanooga has lots of parties outside. The 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival, the 4 Bridges Art Festival (This Weekend!), and our own Chattanooga Market each bring the town to life. One of the largest and oldest music festivals in the United States – Riverbend – is held right here in our town. For about $4 a night if you go every night, a person can see Grammy winning musicians, oldies acts, big bands, bluegrass, country, R & B, jazz, blues, zydeco, local musicians, and rock & roll. Unbelievable. Haven’t got the four bucks? Nightfall is free! So are the Chattanooga Market and many other events. So many cool events happen here. Just a couple years ago, Richie Havens performed at Rhythm & Brews. What is so special about that? He was the opening act at the original Woodstock, that’s what is so cool.
I sat outside Mellow Mushroom on a beautiful, sunny day a couple of weeks ago and spoke with one of our police officers. I think he said he had been on the force for around 20 years. He was very nice and I could tell he loved his job and the city. He puts his life on the line every day for residents and visitors to the city. He could have a diminished view of the city, as he certainly sees the seedier side all too often. But he didn’t – he loves the town and what it had become over the past decades. I think it pains him to see the gangs and violence, but he also sees the wonder of so many people milling about on a beautiful day, enjoying our town. There is no point to this, other than to say I was impressed by this officer and the fact that he could see beauty in a town, even with an ugly underbelly exposed to him all too often.
The Bessie Smith Strut is in trouble. Our police are no longer comfortable protecting the citizens there. Perhaps there is an answer. It may have nothing to do with insurance or fencing or beer permits. Maybe we need to continue to bolster and support our police department with additional manpower and equipment to fight the evil forces that have tried to ruin our city. Without asking the Chief of Police, I would bet he would love about 30-40 new officers on the force to deal with these thugs. Run them out of town or lock em’ up. That takes work and manpower. With the bad element gone, the Strut could come back bigger and better than ever.
Pick-o-the-week is Galactic, with special guests Corey Glover and Corey Henry next Tuesday at Track 29. Opener is Moon Taxi.
The Pick-o-the-weekend is the 4 Bridges Art Festival, all weekend at the First Tennessee Pavilion. Music by Mark Holder, Brian Ashley Jones, The Stratoblasters, Julie Gribble, Stephen Brehm, Slim Pickins, As Girls Go, and Sweet Georgia Sound. For more info and the schedule of events click http://www.4bridgesartsfestival.org .
For more fun, local music info, try http://chattanooganightscope.com, or http://www.chattanoogaentertainers.com. They both have great local music info and schedules. For local info on Country music, try Jim Boles’ site at http://chattacountry.ning.com .
Email Bob Payne at email@example.com or contact at www.facebook.com/davrik2000