The concert industry has found Chattanooga on the map.
The number of artists performing in town is rapidly climbing but, even better, the types of bands have broadened. Alternative, blues, alt-country and folk, world music, R&B, metal, plain ol' rock 'n' roll — they're all showing up.
Part of it is Chattanooga's aura; it's a cool place to visit, both for concert attendees and the bands themselves. But more than that, it's a testament to the camaraderie and cooperation between the various venues around town and their owners. They're working together, bringing in artists, making sure they're playing the right venue—whether it's their venue or not—and providing a professional, enjoyable experience for everyone.
AC Entertainment, one of the best music-promotion companies out there and the folks who co-founded Bonnaroo, is a big reason for the uptick in shows. It has the contacts and the reputation to pull in artists that might not come here otherwise. And they share that ability with others in town.
A rundown of acts coming to town is impressive. Although they've been around for 25 years, Modest Mouse, which is scheduled for July 16 at the Tivoli, is still a pretty deep-in-the-weeds band that's popular on the alternative circuit.
The Moon River Festival, set for Coolidge Park on Sept. 8-9 and sold out within hours, has a terrific alt-country/folk/bluegrass lineup that includes The Avett Brothers, Margo Price and Trampled by Turtles.
Older acts (no pun intended well, maybe a little) also have a hipness factor — Todd Rundgren (Aug. 10), Mary-Chapin Carpenter (Aug. 9) and Alice Cooper (Nov. 12).
The reopening of the intimate Walker Theatre above Memorial Auditorium has been a godsend. The Signal is grabbing names, too. Songbirds attracts a constant lineup of acts, often familiar artists doing smaller acoustic shows. Nightfall continues to introduce the city to little-known acts, as does Riverfront Nights.
Even Riverbend, which winds up Saturday, has an effect, featuring several bands and artists that are on their way up or flying just under the radar.
Success breeds success. Music artists come to town, do well in ticket sales, find a professional atmosphere backstage and the word gets out: Don't forget Chattanooga when booking your tour.
For music lovers, it's a great time to be here.
Contact Shawn Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.