Avett Brothers, Head and the Heart, Mavis Staples coming to Moon River [video]

Avett Brothers, Head and the Heart, Mavis Staples coming to Moon River [video]

March 20th, 2018 by Barry Courter in Breaking News

The Avett Brothers, The Head and the Heart, Trampled By Turtles and Mavis Staples are among more than 20 acts set to perform at Coolidge Park Sept. 8 and 9 as part of the Moon River Music Festival.

The festival, which was started in 2014 in Memphis, is moving to Chattanooga in order to grow, according to co-founder Drew Holcomb. He said the mission, which is to showcase Tennessee and all that it has to offer, is a perfect fit for Chattanooga and Coolidge Park, with its location next to the Tennessee River and downtown-like setting along Frazier Avenue.

Contributed photo The Avett Brothers will headline the inaugural Moon River Music Festival at Coolidge Park Sept. 8-9. (Contributed photo)

Contributed photo The Avett Brothers will headline the inaugural...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Moon River Festival poster

Moon River Festival poster

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The full lineup is the Avett Brothers, The Head and the Heart, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Judah & The Lion, Trampled By Turtles, Margo Price, Mavis Staples, I'm With Her, The Dirty Guv'nahs, Joseph, Mandolin Orange, Penny & Sparrow, Durand, Jones & The Indications, The Secret Sisters, The War & Treaty, Darlingside, The Ballroom Thieves, Caamp, Liz Vice, Boy Named Banjo and Wilder.

The CTFP's Barry Courter and Lesley Dale discussed it live on Facebook with Holcomb live via phone and Mary Howard Ade Music Marketing Manager with the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau and Jonathan Susman, Open Spaces Activation & Engagement Specialist with the city.

The festival was created by Holcomb and Paul Steele as a way to show off Memphis. Originally a one-day festival, it outgrew the Levitt Shell space there and, after partnering with AC Entertainment in Knoxville to make it bigger, it was decided to move it to Chattanooga.

The event will be gated and ticketed with passes costing between $90 and $450 for VIP access, which will include a private performance in the round. Holcomb said the space can hold 10,000 people. Gates will open just before noon and music will continue until 10:30 p.m. or so, he said.

There will be two stages, one at either end of the park, so there will be alternating bands and they won't be competing, he added.

There also will be food vendors. Holcomb said the goal is to book acts that have a similar philosophy when it comes to giving back to communities.

Mary Howard Ade, music marketing manager with the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the event is part of a national trend to curate smaller music festivals that offer more to do than just watching the show.

"What I like about this festival," Howard said, "is that I feel like now more and more people are traveling for the specially curated events that do have a community experiential vibe to them. People are asking, 'How can I go and experience a city and its flavor and go to this music festival?'"

Jonathan Susman, open spaces activation and engagement specialist with the city, added that while having the event at Coolidge Park presents some challenges, it offers some opportunities, as well.

"I think it is great that it is at Coolidge Park," he said. "It's a great opportunity for people to come into town and experience Chattanooga."

Susman said AC Entertainment has a history of bringing family friendly zones and activities to its events.

"You don't think of a music festival historically being family friendly, typically, but you go to Bonnaroo [which AC also presents] and there are kid zones, but that is the plan with this, too, is to create a family friendly part of the festival.

"How fun is it going to be to ride a carousel while you see a band?"

Holcomb said the festival is so named because "Moon River" is a song that he often sings to his children to get them to sleep.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.