Not that long ago, we had a handful of people booking music in Chattanooga, as well as one or two out-of-town promoters bringing in larger shows.
We still have most of those same local folks — Friends of the Festival, Chattanooga Presents (formerly Chattanooga Downtown Partnership) and Tivoli/Auditorium Promotion Association — in addition to the club owners.
Riverbend starts tonight, and there are a couple of things happening that point toward good changes on our music horizon.
As part of its effort to reach out to the community even more, Riverbend has been working with new players on the music scene. Subversive Activities has partnered with Friends of the Festival to put on an Afterbend show at First Tennessee Pavilion. It features 7 Walkers, which includes legendary drummer and co-founder of the Grateful Dead Bill Kreutzmann and bluesman and voodoo electronic pioneer Papa Mali.
Subversive says this is the first of several concerts it plans to produce in the coming months.
On Monday as part of the Bessie Smith Strut, Chattanooga Market will present Mark “Porkchop” Holder and The Breeze Kings at Miller Plaza. They will play at 5 and 6:15 p.m., respectively.
Market director Chris Thomas said the event will look much like the Thursday Plaza Parties the market puts on each week with prepared foods, live music and a select number of Chattanooga Market vendors.
Thomas, whose connections to the music world include owning Palo Dura Records, also was asked to help book a singer/songwriter showcase at Riverbend. He chose Gary Nicholson, Buzz Cason, Trent Summar, Irene Kelley, Karen Staley and Webb Wilder.
“They are friends of mine, or four of them are, and the other two are friends of theirs,” Thomas said.
It also should be noted that they are all very talented, and Saturday night’s 6 Stool 6 Strings show on the Tennessee Valley Credit Union Stage will be worth checking out.
Thomas said Chattanooga Market has booked more than 200 acts for this spring, summer and fall between the Sunday market at First Tennessee Pavilion, the Thursday Plaza Party and the new Saturday Chattanooga River Market at Ross’s Landing Plaza in front of the Tennessee Aquarium.
“Word is out there nationwide that we have venues with an audience,” he said. “It doesn’t pay a lot, but it does pay. It’s a nice gig and one of the rare ways that touring artists can come into Chattanooga without much risk and play.”
The artists also benefit by being able to sell merchandise.
Thomas said the effort is “a labor of love to put some cool music into town, and in all three cases, it does complement our market, so there is some synergy.”
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Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...