Chattanooga’s Moon River Music Festival canceled for 2024

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton/ Charlotte resident Marissa Ahler takes a picture of Dani Womack and Kristin Hoffman, right, of Wilmington, N.C. during the first day of the Moon River music festival in Coolidge Park on Saturday, September 9, 2023.
Staff photo by Matt Hamilton/ Charlotte resident Marissa Ahler takes a picture of Dani Womack and Kristin Hoffman, right, of Wilmington, N.C. during the first day of the Moon River music festival in Coolidge Park on Saturday, September 9, 2023.

Citing challenges outside of his control, the co-founder of the Moon River Music Festival said Thursday the event "will be taking a pause in 2024."

Drew Holcomb, who serves as the festival's musical host with his band, The Neighbors, did not elaborate on social media about the reasons behind the cancellation but said he and other organizers hope to "overcome these challenges as we look to bring the festival back in 2025."

Holcomb and his manager, Paul Steele, founded the festival in Memphis in 2014. When it outgrew its original venue, they relocated to Coolidge Park in Chattanooga and enlisted the services of Knoxville-based AC Entertainment (now part of Live Nation Entertainment), which had more experience in event management.

(READ MORE: Moon River aims to be more than just a music event)

Moon River quickly gained cachet as "Chattanooga's most popular boutique music festival." On social media, Holcomb called the September event his "favorite weekend of the year," a sentiment that seemed to be shared by its sellout crowds. Officials did not release exact attendance figures over the years, but the first festival in 2018 was listed at 10,000 tickets.

Musical guests have included Hozier, The Avett Brothers, The War and Treaty, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile and Mavis Staples. The 2020 show that would have featured Sheryl Crow was canceled because of the pandemic.

Jonathan Susman, director of special events and programming for the city of Chattanooga, said the city had no involvement in the decision to cancel the festival.

"It's all their decision," he said by phone. "It's certainly a disappointment it won't take place in 2024."

(READ MORE: Chattanooga's Riverbend Festival on 'temporary pause' for 2024; Riverfront Nights expands)

In a phone call, Sue Marcus, a publicist for Holcomb and the festival, said there would be no further comment until organizers are ready to announce plans for 2025.

In an email, co-founder Steele's only comment was: "Very hopeful for 2025!"

Management company C3 Presents, owned by Live Nation, did not immediately respond to an email.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.

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