Kudos, Riverbend.

Sure, the erstwhile fan favorite has become an easy target these days.

Too old. Changes are bad.

The acts are dated. No one wants to hear anything from the new album.

Too many people go. Folks are not interested.

Riverbend was in a spin cycle — or maybe a pin cycle — of not winning for losing.

(Side note: Isn't that phrase as crooked as a Louisiana politician? Can't win for losing. Of course you can't win for losing. You are losing. It's almost like saying you can't live for dying.)

Still, Riverbend was faced with the real conundrum in modern-day business: The old way must be changed to reach new customers; the traditional customers love the old way.

Well, recent turmoil — fewer days, more expensive tickets, changes in policy and personnel — has raised real concerns about the current status and the future of the festival.

But the campy-ness that made Riverbend different in a lot of ways has become the crampy-ness that has made Riverbend dated.

First let's start with some points of agreement:

* Riverbend done right is fun, and is a great event for our city in the summer;

* Riverbend 1.0 (circa 1998) is unsustainable for a multitude of reasons;

* Riverbend fans and critics alike must understand the dichotomy that is the current state of the music festival.

To that last point, Moon River was nearly perfectly run and executed in September. That came on the heels of one of the most controversial — and financially ineffective — Riverbends ever.

That is a bona fide springboard for change for anyone who appreciates a good funnel cake.

Do I know if the stage change will make a real impact? Nope.

Do I know what else must be done or will be needed to make Riverbend as beloved as it was years ago? No, of course not. (But if I had to bet on someone trying to figure out that out, Mickey McCamish is not going to be outworked by anyone around.)

But unless you truly want the festival to fade away, being set in your ways of Riverbend Days Gone By is a bye-bye stance.


In this day and age, I know this: Be it music or media or fast food or mobile phones, make moves or be prepared to be moved to the curb.

It's change or die, and even in a time when you can't win for losing, dying for change is just as truthful.

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Jay Greeson

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