Chattanooga Riverbend Festival’s Bud Light Stage now called Ultra Stage

Staff photo / Brett Young performs "Beautiful Believer" from the Bud Light Stage during the Riverbend Festival at Ross's Landing in 2017. The stage is being renamed the Ultra Stage beginning with the 2023 festival, set for June 2-4

Change has been the name of the game for the Riverbend Festival in recent years, and the changes keep coming as the Bud Light Stage has been renamed the Ultra Stage.

The change was made at the request of TriStar Beverage of Chattanooga, the distributor for both Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, according to Friends of the Festival Executive Director Mickey McCamish. He said in a text the change request was made last year.

"Michelob Ultra is the most requested beer among our guests," McCamish said. "When we met with the sponsor last fall, we made the request to have the beer at both Riverbend and Riverfront Nights. We are pleased that the sponsor is providing the product to us and, of course, when they requested that the stage be renamed the Ultra Stage, we readily agreed."

Officials at TriStar did not return a phone call for comment.

Bud Light has faced backlash and calls for boycotts after a sponsored Instagram post by transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney went viral in April. Mulvaney's video on Instagram was accompanied by the hastag #budlightpartner and featured them dressed as Holly Golightly from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" opening a can of Bud Light.

Sales of Bud Light have dropped, and the marketing executive overseeing the partnership took a leave of absence, according to news reports.

The Bud Light Stage was for decades the secondary stage during the festival, featuring up-and-coming, as well veteran acts such as Grace Potter, Corey Smith, Larkin Poe, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels" and Brett Young. This year's Ultra Stage acts include Goose, Coin, Big Boi, Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew, and Mavis Staples.

Friends of the Festival produces both Riverbend, which is June 2-4, and Riverfront Nights, a weekly concert series at Ross's Landing.

First held in 1982, the Riverbend Festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It announced changes prior to the pandemic in 2020, including reducing the number of days it would run from eight to three and the number of stages from five to three. This past year, it capped attendance at 15,000 and raised its admission price from $45 to $90.

It also reduced the number of acts from more than 100 to 24.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

  photo  Staff Photo / Old Crow Medicine Show performs on the Bud Light Stage during the Riverbend Festival in 2019. The stage is being renamed the Ultra Stage beginning with the 2023 festival, set for June 2-4.