Riverbend Rant

I had a really great stream of consciousness going earlier but it got lost somehow so I’ll try to summarize what I was saying the best I can…

All of the people going off on the changes to Riverbend is pissing me off. The suggestions have been ridiculous:

It’s too expensive for a now shorter festival. WRONG. Four days of music at $60 – $80 is an enormous bargain. That shakes out to you paying around $20 – $30 per person per day for 7 acts per day. That is actually a great deal. 

It’s too expensive for the talent they have hired to play. Now…that’s just insulting. To suggest four days of music isn’t worth the cost of admission is insulting to every single person that has ever relied on income from music. Ticket prices have absolutely increased a lot over the years (my Kelly Clarkson tickets were not cheap). But the flip side of that is things have to be paid for other than the artists on the stages. There’s tons of infrastructure, sound, lights, labor, travel, etc… The cost of being entertained comes at a price. Plus…the headliner lineup is the best in recent memory.

Sweet Tea night is gone…oh sorry Faith and Family Night is gone. It’s called J-Fest people! Yes it’s another ticket for another festival but come on. You know if you’re probably going to want to go to Faith and Family night, you’re probably going to want to go to J-Fest too. They’ve even moved it to the Riverpark and to May 18th so it’s not in the middle of the summer heat. And on that note…break out of your walled off garden and visit other area churches if you do the church thing. Believe me…you won’t be disappointed in the music you find.

The Strut. Nope…don’t talk to me about The Strut. There is going to be a signature event take its place in the fall. MLK will get it’s street festival and it will be better than The Strut ever thought about being

Other cities like Atlanta and Nashville do free concerts and it doesn’t seem to hurt their bottom line. *facepalm* Ok, you’re also talking about cities with giant populations in comparison to our area. The tax revenue and sponsorships they are able to get are enormous in comparison. That’s also not a fair argument because there is a metric ton of free and affordable music in Chattanooga. Shall I list some?

Riverfront Nights
Chattanooga Market
SoundCorps Sidewalk Stages
Tremont Tavern
Open Mics
The New and Older Hotel Bars
How many Churches are there?

Need I go on?

The musicians that perform on a weekly basis at these places do it because they love what we do but we can’t do it for peanuts. We have bills to pay just the same as you do. That being said…there’s more work to be done getting people out to shows and informed about the local music scene.

I guess my point in all this is that despite what people are saying, the festival is going to be better. Moon River coming in last year is a great thing. It seems to have caused FoF to finally listen to some of the changes that have been getting thrown around for so long. It needed to be shortened because it was a strain on the city and local businesses. It need to be just a bit pricier to help make the festival better.

If the people complaining about the changes really cared about the festival, they’d be willing to give a little bit more to make the festival better.

Now…go make music.

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