The iconic Coca-Cola barge will retire to make way for a more favorable experience for fans and artists in 2020, officials said.
The Coke Stage will transform into a 60-foot super structure that will settle west under the under the Olgiati Bridge. The bridge will serve not only as a structured shade tree, but a bonus for acoustics. The artists will play to a crowd that will be facing west just as the Bud Light crowd has formed in the past, but with the Coke Stage, fans will enjoy a ramp that will give artists a chance to engage with the crowd.
The move will shift the Bud Light Stage closer to the main entrance on Chestnut Street and will face the area known as ‘The Chattanooga Green’ that rests between Chestnut, Power Alley and Riverfront Parkway. The Coke and Bud Light Stages will face each other like dueling stages, but will alternate show times and will not compete with one another.
That move will adjust the layout for the Chevy Stage which will nestle along the river’s edge near the spot of the former Coke barge. Chevy will stage the area like a Chevy showroom with their top performing vehicles and interactive displays.
The Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union Stage will return as well on the east end of the festival site with details of a new experience to emerge soon. The various stage adjustments will transform Riverbend 2020 to the festival ‘between the bridges.’
Songbirds President Johnny Smith said, “It’s all about the music.” He added, "The festival will be so cool that fans will not want to miss anything."
Friends of the Festival Executive Director Mickey McCamish said stage sponsors have been favorable toward the changes.
Darren Hodges of Chattanooga Coca-Cola said, “Chattanooga Coca-Cola is proud of our long-standing partnership with Friends of the Festival and particularly Riverbend.
After visiting with Mickey McCamish, we are excited about the changes coming for the festival and look forward to continuing our partnership in the years to come."
For the first time in festival history, the VIP package "will include a cool experience at all four stages and will be available for purchase," it was stated.
Fans can also welcome the return of RFID - radio frequency identification - as a means of admission and making purchases. For convenience, the festival will offer cash bars in two locations for fans that prefer to use cash.
The 2020 festival will also feature the return of group admission discounts. Businesses or groups who wish to purchase 20 or more admission wristbands can do so at a discount. Purchases of 100 or more wristbands will snag the most savings. The pricing will reflect prices similar to the discounts enjoyed in the past.
Friends of the Festival is producing the 2020 Riverbed Festival in partnership with Songbirds.
Riverbend is May 27-30 at Ross’s Landing.