Off the Couch: 3 Sisters Festival is a Bright idea that keeps giving

Off the Couch: 3 Sisters Festival is a Bright idea that keeps giving

October 2nd, 2017 by Barry Courter and Lisa Denton in Life Entertainment

Staff photo by Doug Strickland / Fans gather at the 10th annual 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival at Ross's Landing on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Bela Fleck with Abigail Washburn and Keller Williams with The Keels headlined the festival.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

BARRY COURTER: Lisa, do you remember that time we got together and decided to throw a two-day festival that would be free to everyone and only the very best bands would play? People that not only we liked, but that lots of people liked. And, like I said, it was free to everyone who wanted to come.

LISA DENTON: Um, I think you might be confusing us with the Bright family. And I don't think anybody has ever accused us of being bright, with or without the capital letter.

BARRY: Oh yeah, it was them and not us. It would have been cool if we had done it. What a really amazing thing to do for people.

LISA: You are correct on this — the 3 Sisters Festival is a big bluegrass blowout that will take place Friday and Saturday at Ross's Landing. And I think you mentioned — maybe a couple of times — that it's free, but that's part of what makes it special, considering the headliners are big names like the Del McCoury Band and Sam Bush.

Lisa Denton and Barry Courter

Lisa Denton and Barry Courter

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

BARRY: Seriously, it is free and the acts are top-shelf every year. Fletcher Bright and several members of his family fund the festival. Other performers include Fletcher's wonderful band The Dismembered Tennesseans, Bluetastic Fangrass, Hamilton Country Ramblers, Lone Mountain Band, Molly Tuttle and the Berklee College of Music Fiddlers. That's not the whole lineup, by the way. There are more. What a gift.

LISA: Did you know it was named one of the Top Five Bluegrass Festivals by Great American Country? It's in a league with Telluride and MerleFest. That's high cotton. And Fletcher was named one of the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award winners by the Bluegrass Music Association?

BARRY: Both well earned.

Speaking of cool gifts to the city that you and I had nothing to do with, I'm also pretty excited about Sculpture Fields Sculptures in the Sky. The park was created by world-renowned artist John Henry, and on Saturday the skies above the giant metal sculptures will be filled with stunt kites, rokkaku battle kites and bright colorful kites. There will also be parachute kite races, food trucks and a beer tent. And guess what it's free also.

LISA: You know my motto: If it's free, it's for me.

As long as we're talking freebies, the Fireside Outdoor Concert Series starts this week at Greenway Farm. Picking and grinning around the campfire starts at 7 every Thursday night in October. First up will be The Von Wamps, who do a mix of folk, swing, jazz, country, rock and bluegrass.

The Fireside series and Sculptures in the Sky are both loosely affiliated with RiverRocks

BARRY: Wait, isn't everything that takes place outdoors this time of year loosely affiliated with RiverRocks?

LISA: Well, yes, but that's beside the point. Also, it's officially on the calendar for Oct. 6-21, but there are events before and after those dates too. No need to ask why. That's just how it is. Kind of like how my birthday is only one day, but I'll celebrate for weeks on end.

Anyway, the festival pays homage to the world-class outdoor offerings we have around these parts. The core RiverRocks events — paddling, bouldering, cycling, etc. — are competitive, but there are a bunch of ways to entertain yourself before, during and after the festival. I'm not taking part in any of the competitions so I can conserve my energy for the concerts and kite flies.

BARRY: Athletes of our status need to pick and choose our events.

Get event information every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at

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

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315