published Monday, June 11th, 2012

The Bessie Smith Strut: What to know when you go

A crowd watches Bernard Allison at the M.L.K. Stage during the 2009 Bessie Smith Strut.
A crowd watches Bernard Allison at the M.L.K. Stage during the 2009 Bessie Smith Strut.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

The Bessie Smith Strut has had to overcome a few hurdles this year, but tonight the show will go on. Here are a few changes you need to know about.

Admission: You will need either a Riverbend pin or a wristband to get in. Admission with a pin is free. Wristbands are $10. You can buy the bands at the gate or at area Kangaroo gas stations, as well as the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, Champy's, Maggie G's, JJ's Bohemia or Roshanna's Hair & Beauty Bar, all on M.L. King Boulevard, or Mary's Lounge on McCallie Avenue.

Logistics: For the first time, the entire strut area will be fenced. There will be three gates for entering and leaving. They will be at MLK and Lindsay Street, King Street and 10th Street, and MLK and Mabel Street. Both stages will be on MLK -- one at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and one near the railroad trestle.

Hours: Gates will open at 4 p.m. Music will start at 5 p.m.

Age restrictions: Anyone under 17 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.

What not to bring: Coolers, backpacks, outside food or drink, glass containers, pets, recording equipment, weapons and drugs are not allowed.

What to bring: Cash to buy food, drinks and souvenirs.

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