published Monday, June 11th, 2012

Get Off the Couch: Festival in full swing

Would you pay to use indoor restrooms during Riverbend?

LISA DENTON: Barry, at the risk of starting Chapter 2 of "Lisa's Little Bitty Bladder Book," I do want to tell you about my latest happy discovery. Did you know you can buy passes to the bathrooms at Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott and skip the lines at the porta potties inside the Riverbend Festival?

You pay $3 for a one-time visit, $5 for an all-nighter at the Chestnut Street facilities. For $60, you can get a Potty Passport for unlimited use of the hotel's restrooms the entire week.

I'm no math whiz ...

BARRY COURTER: I see what you did there ...

LISA: ... but even counting tonight's Bessie Smith Strut (which isn't even on the riverfront) and the previous three days, that's $15 more than you would pay if you were buying all-nighters one night at a time. To get my money's worth, I guess I could trek down there anytime nature calls over the next few days.

Anyway, it's for a good cause, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga. And McKibbon Hotel Management, which owns the Courtyard and Residence Inn, will match all funds raised.

BARRY: You mentioned the Strut, and it is tonight. I'm curious to see how the new gated venue works out. It's hard to imagine it being a big issue. Most everything is gated and ticketed, so people should be accustomed to how it will work.

LISA: The biggest noticeable change may be the lack of roaming access to the site. The entire Strut portion of MLK will be fenced, with three gates for getting in. And, of course, you need a Riverbend pin or a wristband. There are several places to buy the wristbands in advance (there's a elsewhere on this page).

After the Strut, you can catch Dawes with Sara Watkins at Track 29. The show starts at 9. Tickets are $17.

Then the rest of the week it's back at the riverfront for Chris Tomlin, The Band Perry, Charlie Wilson, Goo Goo Dolls and Lauren Alaina.

Thursday, though, I think I'll have to hit the Bud Light Stage for Foghat, just to hear the guitar riff in "Slow Ride."

BARRY: I'm also curious to see Lauren Alaina's show Saturday. Good things keep happening for her, and that's great. I was impressed to hear that she gets about 5,000 letters and cards from fans every month, and she answers every one of them herself. Not every star does that. I know you do, but I sometimes have my people handle that for me.

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 ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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