published Friday, August 24th, 2012

Courter: Dirty Guv'nahs surprise fans with Bonnaroo tickets

The Beatles used to record special songs and messages for their fan-club members.

U2 and the Rolling Stones have been known to throw surprise shows in small clubs for their fans, and more than a few bands have hosted barbecues or private parties for their truly devoted.

The Dirty Guv'nahs, from Knoxville, did a cool thing last summer for two of their fans. The band has earned a loyal following in its hometown by playing epic shows for just about anyone who asks. The Guv'nahs threw a free CD release party there Friday that drew around 10,000 people. They will return to Chattanooga Dec. 1 at Track 29.

Booked to play Bonnaroo last summer, they threw a big party the week of the event that lasted into the morning. As things were breaking up, they tweeted to their fans that as a thank-you, they had purchased two Bonnaroo tickets and placed them under a garbage can at the World's Fair Sunsphere and that the first person to find them could have them.

One of my son's fraternity brothers was in Atlanta getting ready for work when he saw the tweet. He contacted two frat brothers in Knoxville that he knew would be up studying for an exam.

One of them rushed over to the sphere, found the tickets, drove back to school, took his exam and then loaded the car and headed to Manchester with his buddy.

• • •

While Chattanooga can boast of producing arguably the greatest NFL defensive lineman ever in Reggie White AND the greatest offensive lineman in John Hannah, we really don't have a lot to brag about on a national level when it comes to sports.

We used to host the Football Championship Series national title game and the SEC NCAA women's basketball tournament, but we don't anymore.

The Mocs football team once beat their big brothers up in Knoxville, and Engel Stadium has hosted some of the biggest names in baseball. So there is history, but up until Sunday, our best moments in sports on a national level arguably came from the basketball Mocs.

In 1977, the Mocs won the Division II national championship, and 20 years later Mack McCarthy coached the team into the Sweet 16 in the big dance.

I loved watching the title team play at Maclellan Gym and was awed by how loud that place could get. I can't remember how we learned that the team had won the title, but I know getting information was an issue.

In 1997, I was at the Friends of the Festival offices interviewing executive director Richard Brewer, and the staff kept giving us updates on the Mocs' afternoon game. Brewer finally suggested we take the interview out to his van in the Market Center parking lot and watch the second half on his TV. People walking by stared at the two guys in the back of a van yelling at a TV. It was a surreal moment I'll never forget.

Watching Steven Fox rally from two down with two to play to win the U.S. Amateur golf championship Sunday was every bit as exciting and monumental as those two events. And seeing him in his Mocs golf hat was just great.


about Barry Courter...

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 ...

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