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General-admission pins, good for all nine nights of the festival, are now on sale at area Kangaroo stores. They will be $32 until June 7, when they become $45. One-day admission at the riverfront will be $26.
The Bessie Smith Strut, scheduled June 10, will charge admission this year, even for those with a Riverbend pin. Tickets will be $5 in advance and $5 the day of the event with a Riverbend pin (they were free last year with a Riverbend pin); $10 day of without a pin.
Again this year, the area will be completely fenced in.
Performers will be on two stages. The main one will be at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, the second under the railroad trestle on M.L. King Boulevard. Performing will be Scotty Bratcher, Dedre Ruff and Ruff Pro, James "Nick" Nixon and the Pimps of Joy Time.
* June 7: Jake Owen (country)
* June 8: Cee Lo Green (R&B/pop)
* June 9: Brandy (R&B/pop)
* June 10: Bessie Smith Strut
* June 11: Newsboys (contemporary Christian)
* June 12: Dierks Bentley (country)
* June 13: Lynyrd Skynyrd and Drake White (Southern rock)
* June 14: Gavin DeGraw (pop/rock)
* June 15: O.A.R. (rock)
Pop/rock singer Gavin DeGraw, best known for "I Don't Want To Be," which was used as the opening theme song on the TV show "One Tree Hill," will headline at Riverbend on Friday, June 14, according to Joe "Dixie" Fuller, talent and production coordinator for Friends of the Festival.
Also announced are '80s icons 10,000 Maniacs, who will play the Bud Light Stage on June 9, and electronic dance music acts Cherub and Break Science, who will perform on the Unum Stage on closing night, June 15.
Besides contributing the theme song for "One Tree Hill," DeGraw also made guest appearances on the hit WB/CW series. His other hits include "Chariot," "Follow Through," "In Love With a Girl," "Not Over You," "Soldier" and "Sweeter."
10,000 Maniacs first performed in 1981 and garnered major hits with "Don't Talk," "Hey Jack Kerouac," "Like the Weather," "What's the Matter Here?" "These Are Days" and "Because the Night." Original lead singer Natalie Merchant was replaced in 1994 by Mary Ramsey, who has been with the group since.
Of the headlining acts, DeGraw is one of the latest to be signed in recent memory, according to Friends Executive Director Chip Baker. He said several factors contributed to signing the eighth headliner less than six weeks from the festival's June 7 opening night.
"Other festivals, and there are more of them today, are experiencing the same thing," he said.
Fuller said bands have more options. Some are going on tour in July instead of June, and some are going to Europe, which has a vibrant summer festival scene in June.
Many of those festivals have larger budgets than Riverbend, but Fuller said, "We didn't lose anyone we went after this year because of money."
Fuller said this was an unusual year for booking bands, but that every year has its challenges. The two country headliners, Jake Owen (June 7) and Dierks Bentley (June 12), were signed early on in the process, which starts in the fall. The Country Music Association holds its Fan Fest in Nashville around the same time as Riverbend, so scheduling country acts is made a little easier, Fuller said.
R&B/pop acts Cee Lo Green and Brandy, who headline June 8 and June 9, respectively, both came up through conversations with promoters and were signed within 36 hours of the initial discussions.
"Cee Lo was the quickest thing I've ever gotten done maybe," Fuller said.
Fuller also said Green will be performing here with former bandmates Goodie Mob.
Headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd (June 13) and O.A.R. (June 15) took a little longer to book because several other options were being bandied about. Among the acts Riverbend seriously negotiated with were Trey Anastasio, Widespread Panic, Alice Cooper, Imagine Dragons, Yes, One Republic and Trampled By Turtles, Fuller said.
All of those passed because they chose either to be in another part of the world at the time or to tour later in the summer.
Fuller said Riverbend was also very close to booking Weezer. He is not sure why Weezer passed but said the band has not listed any shows anywhere else on the dates he proposed.
"Almost all of the acts that said no said please consider us next year," Fuller said.
Baker said he is pleased with the final lineup and is especially proud to have gotten Florida Georgia Line when they did. The country duo, who will perform opening night on the Bud Light Stage, went from relative unknowns shortly before signing with Riverbend to near superstar status in a matter of days thanks to the CD "Here's to the Good Times" and the hit single "Cruise."
"They should be on the Coke Stage," he said. "Had we waited another week to sign them, it would have gotten into stupid money."
The festival is scheduled to take place June 7-15 along the 21st Century Waterfront.
Side-stage acts include comedian Tim Wilson on June 9; a capella ensemble Voices of Lee on June 11; Psychedelic Furs and Beppe Gambetta on June 12; jazz guitarist Larry Carlton on June 13; Big Smo and Moon Taxi on June 14; and Steel Pulse on June 15.
Contact staff writer Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.