As Riverbend 2023 organizers prepare for their 40th anniversary on the Tennessee River, Friends of the Festival released its 2022 Community Impact Report.
According to the report, the 2022 festival drew guests from 44 states and six countries and generated 423 hotel stays which generated $15,261.38 in hotel/motel taxes.
In compiling the report, Friends of the Festival gathered data from fans on their overall experience. It found that capping the number of wristbands at 15,000 allowed for a more intimate experience for guests and entertainers. It also reduced the number of stages from five to three and replaced the iconic barge with a more fan-friendly Coke Stage that allowed patrons to get closer to the performers.
"The past four decades have provided some great entertainment on the banks of the river as well as numerous locations around the community," Friends of the Festival Executive Director Mickey McCamish said in a news release.
"We've experienced challenges and made hard business decisions, but the result is an organization that is stable and well-positioned for the future. We know that the decisions we've made have resulted in a strong team around the table to meet our mission and nothing could please us more."
The report also points out that of the 23 artists that performed at the festival, more than 30% were non-white and 26% were women. Also, 1,991 gallons of water was consumed from newly created water stations, meaning 15,072 plastic bottles were saved from the local landfill.
Organizers told the Times Free Press the 2023 lineup will likely be released in February. Patrons will be able to take advantage of a new payment plan, and for the first time, one or three-day "Super VIP" packages are being offered that will provide lodging, catering, a concierge service, private golf cart, and additional amenities. These offerings are limited and can be found on the Riverbend website.
In addition, three-day general admission wristbands can be secured for as little as $38.37 down, according to Samantha Wright, director of sales for the Friends of the Festival.
"We realized that some of our younger audience members may want to break up the cost of the wristband into payment options, so we're making that available," Wright said.
"In addition, we are partnering with Lyte to give our customers a chance to privately exchange wristbands with a friend or another fan if last-minute changes occur. This feature will be available soon via the website," she said.
Wright also noted that wristband sales are already outpacing last year's event at the same time.
"There's a lot of excitement around the Festival.," Wright said. "People know the 40th anniversary will be big and they are already planning for the first weekend in June. With the entertainment being booked, we know this year will sell out quickly."
Friends of the Festival also produces the Riverfront Nights series produced over the course of Saturday evenings from July through the end of August. The series provides free concerts that attract some of the region's best acts to perform for the family and pet-friendly audiences.