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• Performance schedules

• Concert previews

• Band interviews

• Critic's Picks

• Spotify playlists

• YouTube videos of festival acts

Stay tuned for complete multimedia coverage of the top sights and sounds of 2014 Riverbend.

LISA DENTON: Barry, I don't think I mentioned it to you, but I got to see Scotty McCreery from "American Idol" last week at US101's High Noon Saloon at Chattanooga Billiard Club East. A friend had an extra ticket (thanks, Cori) and another friend had extra seats at her VIP table (thanks, Mona).

We got even more up close and personal after the show when McCreery posed for pictures with everyone. That means there's photographic evidence of my big night out, although I think they deleted the photo where he got handsy. No, wait, that was me.

Anyway, getting to see a show has me revved up for Riverbend now. In case you hadn't given it a second thought the last month, it starts Friday with country singer Gary Allan headlining on the Coca-Cola Stage.

Judging solely on band names, though, I'd have to pick MidDay Farm Report or Jon Wayne & The Pain as go-to shows on opening night.

BARRY COURTER: Did you tell Scotty you liked his work in that Mad magazine?

And it does seem like I've heard Riverbend was nigh. Judging just on names, I also like Earphunk, Shark Week and Playing on the Planet.

I say this every year, but I would strongly suggest that people get outside their comfort zones and experiment a little bit. We've actually created a Spotify list on our Riverbend webpage - which is up and running today - that features at least one recommended song for each act that will be playing. I've been listening to it for the last couple of weeks, and it's a diverse list that's a lot of fun to hear.

LISA: It's true that some of the best acts you'll see at Riverbend aren't on the main stage. Thursday's ChattanoogaNow will give an overview of the nine-day festival, and we'll have daily coverage in the news and Life sections. Plus, you and Casey Phillips will be giving Critic's Pick advice in the Life section each day, which is always worth heeding. I can't say you've ever steered me wrong ... musically.

BARRY: I've apologized for those other ... unfortunate occurrences.

Riverbend is not the only thing going on this week, of course. Scenic City Roots returns with Rachel Baiman, Little Country Giants, Sour Bridges and Barry Waldrep, and Nightfall continues with Houndmouth. I've been accused of having that before.

LISA: It must be contagious.

The Imax Theater will have a limited run of a new World War II documentary called "D-Day 3D: Normandy 1944" that should provide a great history lesson. It's playing at noon and 2 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and the audience for the first showing will include Charles Coolidge, a Medal of Honor recipient from Signal Mountain.

Saturday is also Free Fishing Day at Tennessee lakes and reservoirs if you're angling (har har) for some outdoor fun.

BARRY: The Chattanooga Football Club has a big match Friday night against league foe Pensacola City at Finley Stadium. The CFC had more than 4,000 fans there a week ago Wednesday. That's a remarkable number for a soccer match.

And "Xanadu," the musical play based on the Olivia Newton-John movie, opens Friday at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. I have it on good authority, it's good. And there is actual onstage roller skating involved.

LISA: Hmmm, isn't the "good authority" you?

BARRY: Well, you can't get much better than that, can you?

LISA: I know you have a story running in the Life section on June 15 giving a behind-the-scenes look at how a production comes together. Which means you've been to auditions and rehearsals for "Xanadu" from the get-go. Frankly, it has me wondering if you're not secretly planning your theatrical debut or at least a special cameo appearance each night of the run. If director Scott Dunlap hasn't proposed the idea to you yet, let me be the first to say I'd pay extra to see you on roller skates.

BARRY: They don't make roller skates with training wheels. I looked.

Get event details every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at

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