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TFP File Photo / Drew Holcomb co-founded Moon River Music Festival in Memphis in 2014 along with Paul Steele. After it outgrew both the site and Holcomb and Steele's skill levels, they turned over operations to AC Entertainment in Knoxville and moved the event to Chattanooga last year.

The Moon River Festival at Coolidge Park sold out the day after tickets went on sale, but organizers still spent the last 12 months since the 2018 edition wrapped making improvements based on feedback from attendees, North Shore merchants and city officials.

"We know a lot more now that we've had the experience of last year in the space," said co-founder Drew Holcomb.

He said some of the changes would qualify as big and some will be less noticable to the average attendee, but all came from input from staff and ticket buyers.

Attendees this year will discover: a large area dedicated to parents and their kids of all ages, including a book reading and performance by his wife, Elle; big screens next to the two stages showing live feeds of performances; more local vendors selling everything from ice cream to beer.

"The major change is that we will have a very significant kids area we are calling the Treehouse," Holcomb said.

If you go

* What: Moon River Music Festival

* Where: Coolidge Park, 200 River St.

* When: Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 7-8

* Admission: Sold out

* Online: moonriverfestival.com

"It will be in the back area of the festival near the carousel. We are really really excited about it. Because we are near a lot of parking and an urban area, a lot (of parents) brought their kids, from newborns to teenagers. This gives them something to do when they get tired of watching their parents drink beer and listen to bands they've never heard of."

Holcomb said they have added a new wristband option for parents. After child and parents register and receive their wristbands, should the child become lost, parents can immediately locate him via the wristband.

The Treehouse will also feature a stage for performances geared toward younger attendees. Holcomb's wife will perform songs from her "Sing Creation Songs" CD and read from her book "Who Sang the First Song?"

Jonathan Susman, Open Spaces Activation Specialist with the city, said at least one other local organization could have kids activities in the area as well. He also said there are a few changes in store from the city's perspective.

"The [Walnut Street] bridge will be completely open, though we will have some safeguards in place to block the sides above people's heads below," Susman says. Also, there will be a bigger police presence inside the festival.

"There has been a public works crew there for the last two or three weeks sprucing everything up and fixing the little things," Susman says.

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

 

MOON RIVER SCHEDULE

 

SATURDAY

Poplar Stage

12:30 p.m. The New Respects

2 p.m. Lissie

3:30 p.m. Drew and Ellie Holcomb

5:15 p.m. Moon Taxi

7 p.m. St. Paul and the Broken Bones

9:15 p.m. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Iris Stage

1:15 p.m. Lady Wray

2:45 p.m. Sister Sparrrow & The Dirty Birds

4:30 p.m. Devon Gilfillian

6:15 p.m. The Oh Hellos

8:15 p.m. Josh Ritter

 

SUNDAY

Poplar Stage

12:30 p.m. The Brook & The Bluff

2 p.m. Cedric Burnside

3:30 p.m. Johnnyswim

5:15 p.m. The Wood Brothers

7 p.m. Goodbye Road (Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Johnnyswim, Penny & Sparrow)

9:15 p.m Brandi Carlile

Iris Stage

1:15 p.m. Birdtalker

2:45 p.m. The Suffers

4:30 p.m. The Band Camino

6:15 p.m. Rayland Baxter

8:15 p.m. The Lone Bellow

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