The Riverbend Festival, or called Riverbend (named for the bend in the Tennessee River) by locals, was started in June 1982 as a five night festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee and now is celebrating 35 years as Chattanooga’s premier event. The annual festival now goes on for eight nights and ranks in the top 10% of all American festivals. The International Festivals and Events Association has presented the festival with several awards, including 7 in 2015. Attendance continues to grow for the festival and now some individual nights attract 90,000 people, with 650,000 people attending over the 8 day period. There’s a wide variety of performers covering almost every music genre that perform at the festival. The 5 stages set along the backdrop of the Tennessee River at Ross’s Landing, also known as the Scenic City’s front porch.
About one hundred acts perform each year on the multiple stages. Headline performers are featured on the Coca-Cola Stage, a barge which has been converted into a full concert stage. The barge floats just off shore against a large collection of amphitheater seats built into a hillside at the water’s edge.
Riverbend admission is available for a discounted price beginning in May, and can be bought at the festival for the gate price. Nightly admission wristbands are available at the gate. General admission gains festival access for all eight days. Concessions are purchased using a token system and street vendors offer everything from food and beverages to souvenirs and artisan crafts.