I ran this story on Monday, but I didn’t have the schedule attached at the bottom. So, for those that missed the column, here it is. For those that caught it, just jump to the bottom for this week’s schedule!
Consider this: Coca-Cola had the most recognizable product in the World on April 22, 1985. It had held that title for some time. On April 23, Coca-Cola discontinued the world’s most recognizable product and replaced it with New Coke. Coca-Cola received over 400,000 letters and calls protesting the move. New Coke became the brunt of many a late night television jokes.
Coca Cola announced the return of the old Coke formula less than three months after New Coke’s introduction. They received thousands of positive phone calls this time. By the end of the year, just 7 months after the New Coke Introduction, Coca-Cola Classic was outselling both New Coke and Pepsi. I call this whole affair the New Coke Syndrome. Don’t mess with a good thing.
Now consider this: Riverbend is one of the oldest, most successful music festivals in the United States, or maybe even the world. Many festivals have fallen by the wayside, long before Riverbend celebrated its 30th birthday last June. They have the equivalent to the Coke formula in the music festival business. Nightfall has the formula, too. Imagine what another city would pay to have a Riverbend or a Nightfall series.
Enter the Riverbend boo-birds. They aren’t happy about things Riverbend does and will complain at every opportunity. On the Riverbend Facebook page ( link), over half of the respondents to the most recent announcement for 2012 acts were negative. That is after just two of the upcoming eight announcements. They aren’t even waiting to see what is forthcoming. Luckily, Riverbend officials are all old enough or smart enough to have studied the New Coke Syndrome Disease. (NCSD) It has sold, and will continue to sell admission pins by the tens of thousands. They have managed to keep the price of the pin to about $3.50 per day. Bonnaroo tickets cost about $40 per day, or roughly 12 times the price of a Riverbend admission. Bonnaroo is still a baby at ten years old, compared to Riverbend at 30 years of life.
Here are few good ones the boo-birds like: The beer is too expensive at Riverbend. A 16 ounce beer costs $4. That is less than all the major league ballparks in America, but one. They are tied with that one. A Coke at a movie theater often costs more than a beer at Riverbend.
The parking is a nightmare and too expensive. Well, that’s because you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be. Just ride to Findley Stadium and get one of the gazillion empty spots there and ride the shuttle bus straight to Riverbend for a buck. It’s that simple.
Riverbend doesn’t feature enough local acts. About 20-25 acts are local. That compares with Nightfall’s 15 local acts. Riverbend has too many local acts. About 20% are locally based. That compares with Nightfall’s 50%. The fact is, Riverbend is proud to showcase local talent, and provides a professional stage, crew, sound engineers and lighting for them to sound their best. This year, Riverbend is proud to present local singer Lauren Alaina on its biggest stage, the New Coke Stage. Just kidding, it’s still the Coca-Cola Stage. Here are some facts about Lauren you may not have known - Her debut album, Wildflower, is the best-selling female country debut since 2006. With first-week sales of 69,013, Lauren is the youngest female artist to debut this high on the Billboard charts since LeAnn Rimes’ debut 15 years ago. Wildflower also becomes the best-selling digital album by a debut country female, selling 19,659 digital albums.
Riverbend isn’t “current” enough. The two Coke Stage announcements so far include Eric Church and Lauren Alaina. At signing time, Eric had the number one Country album in the United States. Lauren’s numbers are posted above. That is fairly current. Last year, despite some rain, the hottest country act in the world, Miranda Lambert, was at Riverbend. Riverbend always has Grammy winners there, and this year is no exception, as I know there are some unannounced performers that have Grammys to their credit.
Riverbend will continue to rock along like a real Coca-Cola. And, look for some really great announcements soon. They are sure to please most, but will probably upset a few. Sure, they tweak it here and there to make the festival better, but for the most part, it will remain as it has – one of the longest running, most heavily attended festivals in the world. Boo at that.
The Chattanooga Market Too is in its last weekend, but you won’t find them at the Pavilion. No my friends, it is so big they have moved it to the Chattanooga Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Don’t miss this great chance to buy locally produced goods for Christmas.
The pick-o-the-week is Tim Lewis, playing next Wednesday at Bart’s Lakeshore.
The pick-o-the-weekend is at Track 29, as Blues Hammer, The Collins Brothers, and the WTM Blues band are featured in the Local Music Showcase.
For more fun, local music action, and info, try City Night Scope, or Chattanooga Entertainers. They both have great local music info and schedules. For local info on Country music, try Jim Boles’ site here.
Live in Chattanooga!
Thursday, December 15
Sugar’s BBQ Downtown – Brad Tursi
Rhythm & Brews – Josh Gilbert, Jordan Hallquist, Dan Pinson
The Palms – Jimmy Harris, Queen B & the Well Strung Band
Honest Pint – Ian Thomas, Long Gone Darlins
Acoustic Café – Brody Johnson & the Dirt Road Band
Snookers –Jerry Fordham
Market Street Tavern – Blues Jam, with Rick Rushing
Las Margaritas Cleveland – Collins Brothers
Friday, December 16
Track 29 – Local Showcase, with Blues Hammer, Collins Brothers, WTM Blues Band
American Legion # 95 Ringgold Rd – Silver Creek
JJ’s Bohemia – Oldest Boy and Girl
The Foundry – Priscilla & Lil Rickee
T-Bones – Live Music
Acoustic Café – Fried Chicken Trio
Sky Zoo – Husky Burnette
Bud’s Sportsbar – Soul Survivor
Market Street Tavern – Darryl Hance
Tremont Tavern – Jordan Hallquist
The Social – Rick Rushing & the Blues Strangers
Big D’s Cosmic Bowling Dalton – Monkey Shine
Sugar’s Downtown – The Most Important Band in the World
Rhythm & Brews – Zoso (Led Zeppelin Tribute), Cadillac Saints
The Palms- Jimmy Harris, Smooth Jazz
Warehouse Venue – Norma Jean, Oh Sleeper, Memphis May Fire, Stray From the Path, Lower Than Atlantis, Tir Asleen
Saturday, December 17
Track 29 – Local Showcase, with Raenbow Station, Land Camera, the hearts in Light
The Foundry – Priscilla & Lil Rickee
Sugar’s BBQ – The Most Important Band in the World
Acoustic Café – The Fog
Honest Pint – Unknown Hinson, Maycomb Criers
T-Bones – Live Music
Bart’s Lakeshore – Soul Survivor
JJ’s Bohemia – Morning Teleportation
Rhythm & Brews – Jennifer Daniels Christmas Show, the Formidables, Elk Milk
The Palms – Jimmy Harris, Smooth Jazz
Warehouse Venue – Lauren Koch (Singer for Sweet Georgia Sound), Valerie Duke (Singer for the Glen Miller Orchestra), Casey Whitaker, Jeremy Campbell, Lindsay Weaver, and many more!
Sunday, December 18
Summitt Pianos – Joseph Akins performs @ 3p.m.
Honest Pint – Secret Commonwealth
Snookers – Jerry Fordham
Top of the Dock – Tim Lewis
Mon, December 19
The Palms at Hamilton – Big Band Night
Market Street Tavern – Old Tyme Players
Sugar’s BBQ Downtown – Mark Holder
The Camp House – Blues Night with Lon Eldridge
Warehouse Venue – Looking for Alaska, Rigoletto, Telemonster, Elk Milk, The Beautiful Crayons
Tues, December 20
Tremont Tavern – Open Mike w/ Mike McDade
The Palms at Hamilton – Jimmy Harris
Southside Saloon – Troy Underwood
Wed, December 21
Sugar’s BBQ Downtown – Roger Alan Wade
Las Margaritas Riverview – Priscilla and Little Rickee
Market Street Tavern – Ben Friberg Trio
Bud’s Sportsbar – Kenney Berry
The Palms – Jimmy Harris, Prime Cut Trio
Honest Pint – 40 oz Folklore
Bart’s Lakeshore – Tim Lewis
Rhythm & Brews – Kolby Towe, Jeremiah Brock, Chad Whitaker, Matt Conway, Mark Jones
Warehouse Venue – Hawkboy, Ocean Is Theory, Behold the Brave, Canines, Marksmen
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