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Photo courtesy of Neil Krug / Cage the Elephant will headline one of the three nights of the Riverbend Festival June 3-5.

Brothers Osborne, Cage the Elephant and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will headline Riverbend 2022 on June 3-5, according to officials with presenter Friends of the Festival. In making the announcement on Thursday morning, the organization broke with its almost four-decade tradition of releasing acts a few at a time by releasing the other 21 acts on the lineup.

The entire list of acts includes The War & Treaty, Gov't Mule, Moon Taxi, Grace Potter, Tanya Tucker, Devon Gilfillian, Los Amigos Invisibles, The Shindellas, Jenny Lewis, Elle King, Ayron Jones, BEXAR, The Magi, Brittney Spencer, Niko Moon, Kendell Marvel, and local favorites Strung Like a Horse, Lenox Hills, Rick Rushing & The Blues Strangers and The Communicators Present "That '90s Show."

Moon Taxi will actually do two sets with the second featuring a guest artist in a set that will pay homage to Rage Against the Machine.

The daily schedule will be released sometime in February, according to officials.

This year's event June 3-5 represents a multitude of changes in the 40-year-old event that have taken place since the last actual festival in 2019. Whereas in the past the number of admission pins, or more recently wristbands, was unlimited, this year's event will be capped at 15,000 attendees.

Gone is the barge that served as the iconic main stage for most of the festival's run, and the event will now run three days instead of eight. The footprint on Riverfront Parkway will be smaller, with two main stages this year. The Coca-Cola Stage will be under the Olgiati Bridge, and the Bud Light Stage will be on the green near the Tennessee Aquarium. The two will face each other, and acts will alternate with one starting as the other ends.

A third, the Chevy Stage, will be closer to the river and will be primarily home to local and regional touring acts.

Also, while in the past VIP experiences were limited to the pier on the river near the barge, there will now be several VIP areas throughout the site.

General admission wristbands are available for $85 through the end of Thursday, Jan. 20, at wgow.com or for $95 at riverbendfestival.com afterward. VIP wristbands are $295.

Friends of the Festival Director of Operations Mitchell Hall said in an interview that the changes were made after extensive polling of patrons to find out what people wanted going forward. He said respondents made it clear they wanted a more intimate festival with better access to the stages, smaller crowds and fewer days.

Executive Director Mickey McCamish said the changes represent a reboot for the city's oldest and largest musical festival.

"We are 39 years en route to 40, and beyond," he said in an interview.

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Photo courtesy of Friends of the Festival / Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will return to Chattanooga as a headlining act in June for the Riverbend Festival.

McCamish said booking the lineup was a challenge after canceling the event in 2020 and 2021 but said once organizers were able to convince promoters that 2022 was going to happen, things happened quickly. He said because it is a relatively small, independently run festival, it had some challenges that other larger festivals don't face.

"We had a credibility issue, to be honest, after canceling," he said. "People wanted to know, is it happening or not?"

Utilizing the talents and contacts of veteran show promoters Chris Cobb from Nashville and Mike Dougher from Chattanooga helped, he said. Getting $2 million from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant from the federal government also helped because it provided money for securing acts. Hall said the entire lineup was put together in about two months.

"I'd say we got about 80% of the acts we wanted that were available," he said.

He said while they did face some scheduling and radius-clause issues (big festivals can contractually stop acts from appearing within a certain radius before and after their event) with larger festivals in Atlanta and Bonnaroo in Manchester, targeting specific acts early seemed to help things happen quickly.

The lineup features a mix of familiar and new artists in several genres. Country acts like Brothers Osborne, named best vocals duo in 2021 by the Country Music Association, are joined by newer acts like Marvel and King. Tucker is a legendary country artist with a career spanning decades.

Isbell and Potter are much-respected singer/songwriters who cross genres as are husband-and-wife duo Tanya and Michael Trotter of The War & Treaty and Gilfillian. Both acts blend multiple styles including country, gospel, soul and R&B.

Moon Taxi, Los Amigos Invisibles and Jones are also multi-genre artists who blend a variety of styles including hip-hop, acid jazz, funk, disco, and in the case of Los Amigos, Latin rhythms.

Members of Strung Like a Horse have proven themselves on the national touring circuit with their blend of high-energy stage shows, engaging songs and tight, Americana sound.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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Photo Courtesy of Friends of the Festival / Brothers Osborne is one of three headlining acts for Riverbend 2022.

 

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