Revamped Riverbend Festival lineup includes Weezer, Lionel Ritchie, Macklemore as headliners

Revamped Riverbend Festival lineup includes Weezer, Lionel Ritchie, Macklemore as headliners

February 22nd, 2019 by Barry Courter in Breaking News

Updated at 4:49 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, with more information.

Weezer, Lionel Richie and Macklemore will join previously announced headliner Keith Urban at the revamped Riverbend Festival in May, according to an announcement from Friends of the Festival.

The four headliners will perform on the main Coke Stage on consecutive nights May 29-June 1.

The rest of the lineup is:

* May 29: Larkin Poe, Jimmie Allen, Nakid Phunk, Rubiks Groove, The Ex-Laws and Tennessee Tremblers

* May 30: Black Stone Cherry, Lanco, Mitch Rossell, Ida Mae, Rosewood Grips and Stephen Busie Band

* May 31: La Misa Negra, Old Crow Medicine Show, Conner Smith, Kelley Lovelace, The Flattop Boxers and Neon Moon

* June 1: Brandon "Taz" Niederaurer, The War & Treaty, Irlene Mandrell, The Get Right Band, Emerald Butler Band and Las Misa Negra.

Friends of the Festival announced at a news conference earlier this month that it would be making several changes to bring the 38-year-old music festival more in line with other festivals around the nation. The number of days for the festival has been reduced from nine to four, the tickets have increased in price and Friends of the Festival contracted AC Entertainment out of Knoxville to book the four headlining acts.

AC is the same music promotion and marketing agency that co-produces the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, and the Moon River Festival at Coolidge Park in September.

"We've made these changes to make it more of a music festival with enhanced experiences," Director of Marketing Amy Morrow.

She mentioned the newly added Whiskey River Lounge "where you can have a whiskey and smoke a cigar," and the addition of the same Ferris wheel that dominates the Bonnaroo skyline. She said it will be located somewhere near the concession area.

That also is the subject of change, as "more emphasis will be put on local," she said.

Other announced changes are that admission wristbands will feature an RFID chip that can be used for tracking festivalgoers' habits and purchasing items from food, drink and merchant vendors. Also, tokens no longer will be accepted for those items. Fans with tokens held over from previous years can turn them in this year. They will not be redeemed after that.

The festival also adopted a tiered ticketing system similar to other festivals to encourage fans to buy early. An undisclosed number of tickets are allotted for each tier, and as that number is reached the price increases. The different tiers do not represent added options or access for buyers.

Tickets are now on sale at riverbendfestival.com for $75. They will be $95 beginning April 15 at Harry's stores and Food City locations and $115 at the gate.

The Unum Stage will go away and that area will be used for parking. Because of the shortened schedule, Family & Faith Night and the Bessie Smith Strut also no longer will be a part of Riverbend, though talks are underway to hold an event similar to the strut in the fall that will be run by businesses on M.L. King Boulevard where it has been held.

The moves were made in part because the festival was losing its audience and revenue over the last several years as more festivals such as Moon River, which moved here from Memphis last year, were introduced and the industry changed.

The reduced days and increased ticket prices allow organizers to direct more of the music budget to getting more current acts, officials said at the news conference.

Local dentist David Champion is excited about several of the acts on this year's lineup.

"Honestly, I have always wanted to see Weezer," he said in an email. "I am excited about that! (Was hoping they would be at Firefly [festival in Delaware] in June, but also planning on going to Lollapalooza [in Chicago] again, so was hoping they would be there also). I wish I had seen Lionel Richie at Bonnaroo way back [2014], but I have seen the concert video of him performing.

"I think the lineup is actually a good variety from pop to rap to country, so there should be something for everyone. (I have seen Rubik's Groove before at a small venue fundraiser for the Foodbank a number of years ago and really loved their show!)

AC also programs the Tivoli, Walker and Memorial Auditorium theaters and works closely with The Signal and Songbirds in booking touring acts at those local venues.

Local performer Landis Batts is a big fan of The War & Treaty, which played Moon River and Bonnaroo last year, and is excited to see the husband-and-wife duo of Michael and Tanya Trotter again. They've come along way since the first time he saw them here.

"My War and Treaty journey started about four years ago at Charles and Myrtles Coffee House at Christ Unity," he said. "Seven people were in attendance."

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


Loading...