NoogaStrong: Chattanooga Unite Has Big Show Coming September 16

Monday, August 17, 2015 - by Bob Payne
Brantley Gilbert
Brantley Gilbert

A benefit for the fallen military members in the July 16th tragedy will feature Chattanooga’s own Samuel L. Jackson, Harry Connick, Jr., and Country star Brantley Gilbert on Wednesday, September 16th at Chattanooga’s Ross’s Landing. Riverbend is bringing the giant Coca-Cola stage back down to Ross’s Landing for the event. While there is no admission charge, there will be areas set up for donations to the cause.

Faced with the daunting task of bringing in the Coke Stage, PA, sound, lights, video walls and production, Friends of the Festival used their Riverbend connections and contacts to arrange for the entire show at no charge. Dixie Fuller, Riverbend talent and production director, managed to secure the sound, lights, PA, stage, labor, video walls, and other production operations – all donated for the cause. The total of the contribution is well north of $100K. Spectrum Sound, Teri Productions, Image Video, Metrotone, and Stowers Machinery all contributed to the effort. Local 140 of the IATSE stagehands donated all of their labor, as well as getting support from the national office of IATSE.

Samuel L. Jackson, who was raised in Chattanooga and graduated from Riverside High School, has garnered many movie award nominations and is said to be the world’s highest grossing movie star, with his 68 films earning over $7 billion. He returns to Chattanooga often to see friends and relatives. He defies conventional Hollywood personal habits, as he has been married for 35 years.

Harry Connick, Jr. has sold over 16 million records in just the United States, and has won three Grammy awards and two Emmy awards. He has starred in 22 movies and numerous television shows. Connick hails from New Orleans and has been the lead in charitable time and donations in helping the city.

Brantley Gilbert, almost as soon as the tragedy in Chattanooga occurred, volunteered to perform at a benefit. One of his three studio albums went Platinum (1 million sold) and one went to the Gold level. (500K sold) He has won several awards, including a CMA and an ACM award. Hailing from Jefferson, Georgia, Gilbert now resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

The proposed schedule for the free event is:


Armed Forces Parade from downtown Chattanooga to the River Front


Memorial Service and Remembrance

National anthem and Pledge of Allegiance

Presentation of Military Colors

Tributes from Community and Military Leaders

Harry Connick, Jr performing "Eternal Father” (Navy and Marine funeral song)

Military Aircraft fly over with "missing man formation"

Flags Presented to Families

21-gun salute



Harry Connick Jr and the Chattanooga Combined Church Choir

3.30 - 5.00

Artist to be announced soon

5.30 - 7.00

Brantley Gilbert and Friends


Fireworks on the River

Emcee: Samuel L. Jackson

This is a free concert open to the community

All funds raised go to assist the families of the murdered servicemen via the National Compassion Fund

This project, and more information on it, can be found at

Additional artists and entertainment will be announced as soon as plans are finalized.

Bob Payne is the entertainment editor for the and talent/production assistant at Friends Of The Festival. Email Bob Payne at or

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