June 6-14 • 21st Century Waterfront, Chattanooga, TN
Riverbend organizers say the June 8 headlining performance by Georgia jam rockers Widespread Panic set a festival record for one-day wristband sales.
Single-use wristbands for the festival, which ran June 6 through Saturday, were available at the gates for $26.
Talent and production coordinator Joe "Dixie" Fuller said Monday he hadn't received finalized attendance figures for this year's festival, which marked the debut of a new scannable wristband admission system to replace the traditional plastic pins. Even anecdotally, however, Fuller said there was no doubt the Widespread Panic show was the best-attended night of the last two years.
"We knew from all the phone calls we got from all over the country that it was going to be big," he said. "People were calling and texting and emailing and going, 'You're sure you're not going to sell out?'
"They came as far away as Dallas and Cincinnati that I know about. I talked to one guy from Norway."
Traditionally, Fuller said, the festival sees a spike in concession sales on evenings featuring classic rock and country performers. Even without a finalized sales tally, Fuller said the Widespread Panic show currently ranks as the festival's third best evening ever for food and beverage purchases after Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr., who headlined in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Despite the success of Widespread's show, the festival faced almost continuous meteorological hurdles with afternoon and early evening storms that swept through the site practically every night. Those showers kept attendance low early in the evening, Fuller said.
Even keeping with the festival's safety guidelines to play on in the absence of lightning or strong winds, however, organizers were able to stick to the schedule and didn't cancel any artist's performance, he said.
"The rain just hindered the daylights out of us, ... slowed us down considerably," Fuller said. "It just comes with the rain, [but] all shows played on every stage."
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...