Updated at 11:49 a.m. Wednesday, May 29, 2019, with the time of Weezer's performance.
Rock band Weezer will headline the first night of the newly revamped and reconfigured Riverbend Festival on at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the 21st Century Waterfront.
Chattanooga and the large music festival scene have changed quite a bit since the inaugural Riverbend Festival in 1982. As a direct reflection of those changes, Friends of the Festival, the organization that produces the event every summer, has made a few significant changes.
It's going to be a shorter festival with fewer days, fewer stages and fewer acts, but organizers say the changes mean more money and effort have been put into booking bigger and more current name acts, such as Weezer. Lionel Richie, Keith Urban and Macklemore will headline the remaining three nights.
Friday night is Military Appreciation Night, and the festival has added the Jack Daniel's Whiskey River Lounge, Deep Eddy Vodka signature cocktails, decorative pallet bar and mingling Betty girls, Lookout Winery Club with local handcrafted wines, an Elephant Insurance Ferris wheel and other attractions such as games throughout the site.
Saturday will see an earlier-than-usual start as well. Programming will start at 2 p.m. with local artist Amber Carrington. Roger Alan Wade will follow at 3:30 p.m., and then young guitar sensation Brandon "Taz" Niederauer at 6:15 p.m. and husband-and-wife powerhouse The War & Treaty at 7:45 p.m.
Other changes include:
» Riverbend will be four days instead of nine.
» It will take place May 29-June 1, instead of in the middle of June.
» The Bessie Smith Strut and Faith and Family Night no longer exist.
» The Unum Stage is also gone, and that area will be used for parking.
» New, cloth RFID wristbands will be used for entry to the festival and for making purchases such as souvenirs and food and drink. If you have leftover tokens from past festivals, this is the final year to use them. Cash will not be accepted.
» Tickets are $70 plus applicable fees if purchased online before midnight Tuesday. They be picked up at Will Call during the festival or at the main Will Call tent at the Chestnut Street entry gate between 1 and 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
» Tickets are $95 if purchased before midnight Tuesday at area Harry's and Food City outlets. They will be $115 during the festival. One-day admission wristbands are $55 and available at the festival.
» Club Riverbend passes are between $255 and $285 plus fees for a four-day pass. They include access to the Chattanooga City Pier, private restrooms, discounts on merchandise, a VIP parking pass, cash bar and access to the Riverbend Rewards program.
» VIP four-day passes are $800 plus fees. They include backstage access to the Coca-Cola barge, private bars, restrooms, light catering and a VIP parking pass.
» VIP one-day passes are $250.