Bearing down on Bonnaroo, Riverbend

Bearing down on Bonnaroo, Riverbend

June 4th, 2012 by Barry Courter and Lisa Denton in Life Entertainment

LISA DENTON: Barry, I know you are gearing up for the sweat fest that is Bonnaroo, but you have a couple of days before you pitch your tent in Manchester, Tenn. What are you getting off the couch for until then?

With the exception of Lookouts baseball, there's a bit of a lull in events around town this week. It's the calm before Riverbend, I suppose.

BARRY COURTER: These last few days will be spent alternating between sticking my head in a heated oven and staying up way later than my usual bedtime. The first is part of my intense training regimen to get my body ready for the four-day music and arts festival that is Bonnaroo, and the latter is to get ready for those 3 a.m. sets. The big shows happen before midnight, but the real Bonnaroo experience happens in the wee hours of the morning.

I am looking forward to the next two weeks or so though. Between Bonnaroo and Riverbend, there will be a lot of good music to check out.

LISA: The older I get, the better I understand why they're called the "wee" hours of the morning, since that's the big reason I'm up at night, but that's another story.

BARRY: So that's what Sinatra is singing about in "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning?"

LISA: You're right about the music. Both festivals offer an onslaught of acts. Everybody from Alice Cooper to Kenny Rogers will be at Bonnaroo. I saw "Dark Shadows" the other day, and Cooper has a couple of scenes in the movie that made me want to listen to his music again.

At Riverbend, I can't wait to see Foreigner on Saturday night. I always turn up the volume on their songs, especially "Urgent" -- which is about a better reason to be up at night.

BARRY: I will see Alice for sure, and Foreigner will be fun. They have a ton of hits. I think Sunday night at Riverbend could be a great night as well. You can literally stand in one spot and listen to Warren Haynes and Gov't Mule on the Bud Light Stage and then shift a little and hear 90 minutes of classic hits from the Happy Together Tour on the Coke Stage. Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, Gary Puckett, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams and The Turtles are part of the showcase. I bet if we turned on an oldies radio station right now, we'd hear one of those acts playing. Fans will get old and new in one place.

LISA: It reminds me of those PBS specials where they gather up a bunch of nostalgia acts for the pledge drive. It's fun to climb into the Wayback Machine every now and then.

BARRY: I think these guys did the soundtrack for the Wayback Machine.

LISA: I also want to catch some of the Artist of the Day and Unplugged sessions Riverbend has scheduled off-site. Friday, for instance, Cody McCarver will be at Big River Grille at noon, and Four Shillings Short will be at the Chattanooga Public Library at 2 p.m. It's a chance to hear a few songs from the artists accompanied by the sweet hum of air conditioning.

BARRY: Glad you mentioned those. I don't think people understand yet how cool these opportunities are. I don't know of any other festival that does them. You get basically a private show and an opportunity to meet some of your favorite musicians.

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Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.