Off the Couch: Riverbend Festival revs up with several changes

Off the Couch: Riverbend Festival revs up with several changes

May 24th, 2019 by Barry Courter and Lisa Denton in Life Entertainment

LISA DENTON: Happy Memorial Day, Barry. I don't know about you, but I plan to spend the day cleaning out the kitchen junk drawer looking for stray Riverbend tokens. I don't remember the exact year I had the kitchen remodeled, but I think it's safe to say there could be 25 years' worth of stuff stuffed in that drawer.

BARRY COURTER: That's a lot of tokens, and as we have mentioned several times here in the paper, this is the last year to use them. I won't try to explain how, but you can read all about it in at

LISA: I'd be surprised if there's more than $4 worth of tokens in that drawer — just 25 years of other stuff. But I'd rather find them than waste them, even if it means a half-day of cleaning what's basically a 9-by-20-inch space. It almost feels like a "cover me, I'm going in" hazard, but I'm up for it.

BARRY: Leave breadcrumbs. Obviously, we mention this because the new Riverbend gets underway Wednesday night with Weezer headlining. It is a strong lineup with some don't-miss acts. Mine is War & Treaty, but there are several.

LISA: Weezer is a solid choice. We can't mention the word "sweater" in my family without somebody adding "whoa, whoa, whoa." We're a little "Undone."

And Lionel Richie. I could listen to him all night through its entirety, from darkness to light. Can you tell I like his TD Ameritrade commercial?

And don't forget he visited Chattanooga for a 2011 episode of the ancestry show "Who Do You Think You Are?" Turns out his great-grandfather, John Louis Brown, is buried in Pleasant Garden Cemetery here.

BARRY: That show will be one giant sing-along with lots of dancing. Tough to do any dancing on the ceiling at Riverbend, but anything is possible, I suppose.

I'm actually trying to figure which of my best thrift-store outfits to wear to the Macklemore show on Saturday night. "What, what, what, what." That's a solid lyric by the way.

Lisa Denton and Barry Courter

Lisa Denton and Barry Courter

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

LISA: If we combined Weezer's whoa-whoa-whoas with Macklemore's what-what-whats, we might have a Top 40 hit.

For more music Saturday, you could head to Dunlap for the Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival. This year, they're going back to their roots, so instead of stage shows, they'll do a jam session Friday night and a band contest Saturday.

And as long as we're traveling, Tennessee Valley Theatre in Spring City is bringing in storyteller Bil Lepp for a Friday workshop and Sunday show. He's been called the "Wonder Bra of storytelling" because he "takes something small and insignificant and pushes it up into something really big and mighty interesting." Mountains out of molehills, so to speak.

BARRY: And one of my favorite local bands — I actually have about a dozen or more — The Malemen will be doing a night of Motown hits at Songbirds on Friday. That's pretty hard to beat. And T.J. Miller ("Deadpool 2," "Silicon Valley") returns to The Comedy Catch on Wednesday for one night only.

He was just there about two weeks ago and loved his visit to Chattanooga so much, he asked club own Michael Alfano if he could come back with his family for his birthday. I talked to Miller about it, and he just loved how truly Southern and cool our city is.

LISA: Southern and cool is a good combo. I usually just get, "You're so Southern."

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.

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