Chattanooga Now City Beat: Friends of the Festival brings home awards

Chattanooga Now City Beat: Friends of the Festival brings home awards

October 3rd, 2013 by Barry Courter in Chattnow Music

Friends of the Festival won a dozen Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards at the International Festivals and Events Association convention and expo in Denver Sept. 21-23.

Friends produces Riverbend, as well as Riverfront Nights and other events, and this is not the first time it has brought hardware home from the annual convention. These awards are tied more toward marketing and promotions, and Friends was competing against other such IFEA members as the Kentucky Derby Festival, the 500 Festivals in Indianapolis, the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade and Christmas at Canada Place in Vancouver. It won two gold medals, three silvers and seven bronze medals in a variety of categories. The golds were won for Best Event Promotional Photograph and Best Event/Program within an Event To Benefit a Cause for its work with 1N3, a drug and alcohol awareness organization.

Silver medals were earned for Best T-shirt Design, Best Hat and Best Volunteer Program. The remaining medals were for Best New Event for American Dream Concert, Best Overall Sponsorship Program, Best Green Program, Best TV Promotion, Best Radio Promotion, Best Promotional Poster and Best New Sponsorship Opportunity.

The beginning of October may seem like an odd time to be talking about Riverbend, but believe it or not, the staff pretty much works year-round on it. They are already talking with booking agents, and the dance to put together a lineup has begun. I'm betting there are already people out there publicly calling the 2014 lineup the worst ever.

It's a funny thing about perception. Riverbend seemed to garner a lot of criticism this year, with some people loudly demanding that it change how it does things when it comes to its lineup.

The reality is that the 2012 festival was a major success in regards to weather, crowds and revenues, and while weather greatly impacted this year's attendance, officials say it was still a good to average year.

As I've stated here many times, Riverbend often gets criticized by some music snobs more for what it isn't than for what it is, which is a well-run festival that knows its market very well. And it's a cheap ticket.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.