More and more, music festivals are working to become "immersive experiences," offering way more than music. This isn't new, but the quantity and quality of extra things to do, see and participate in have increased exponentially.
To that end, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has introduced the "Ready to Roo" tour. It launched March 18 in Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago and Tampa, and it will stop in Chattanooga March 30-April 1 bringing with it games, a hike, live music, information, tickets to the festival and more.
While it's here, you can participate in the Exploring Nearby Nature: Animal Ambassador Encounter + iNaturalist Hike at Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, 400 Garden Road, on March 30, or the Killer Queen Tournament on April 1 at The Coin-Op.
The former will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and will include a presentation about the iNaturalist community science app and live music from Spinster and Slim Pickens, who will perform during an after-party campfire concert. There is a suggested donation of $25.
The event at Coin-Op, 233 E. M.L. King Blvd., will take place from 5 to 11 p.m. If you want to go, put together a four-member team to play the arcade game. The winning team will get four general-admission tickets to Bonnaroo and one car camping pass.
The after-party will be at JJ's Bohemia next door with Psychic Dungeon and LVNDR performing.
» While on the subject of music and festivals, I'm not sure if you saw the item earlier that a bunch of people who live and work along M.L. King Boulevard have joined together to rebrand the Bessie Smith Strut into an event in October called the Big 9 Roots Festival.
It will be an all-day event on Saturday, Oct. 5, complete with a parade starting at 11 a.m., two main stages and a couple of smaller ones with local businesses providing food and drink. It promises to be very much like the Bessie Smith Strut, which was part of Riverbend for more than three decades. It went away with the announcement that the city's largest festival would cut to four days instead of nine.
It will be free and gated to keep outside vendors from crashing and people from bringing in personal coolers.
I did hear from a couple of people immediately following the announcement asking why lose the Bessie Smith Strut brand when it was popular with so many people. Another reader lamented the fact that it is the same weekend as the 4 Sisters Bluegrass Festival. There is not much that can be done about that anymore. Every weekend is jam-packed with events these days.
Contact Barry Courter at email@example.com or 423-757-6354.