published Monday, June 15th, 2009

The morning after

By the numbers

30 tons -- this year's trash haul

20-25 tons -- previous years' trash hauls

25-30 -- City public works cleanup crew

Source: Chattanooga government

The speakers are silenced. The stages are empty. In fact, they're all gone.

So is the 30 tons or so of garbage left behind Saturday night by what Chattanooga Public Works Department supervisor Jack Edwards said was the Riverbend Festival's largest and rowdiest crowd of the week -- the fans of Little Richard and the ever-popular fireworks show.

Everywhere along the riverfront site that all last week was Riverbend, workers in orange and yellow vests spent Sunday's wee hours and early afternoon taking down tents and cleaning up litter.

Mr. Edwards said the mess his crews cleaned up was "maybe the worst we've ever had."

In years past, he said, they hauled away 20 to 25 tons of trash after a festival.

Joe "Dixie" Fuller, festival talent and production coordinator, said it all was just signs of a successful show, as he and Wayne Walker took stock of the stages already pulled down and the work remaining.

"Last night was a big night," he said, offering his usual 100,000 patrons attendance estimate.

"Little Richard was just good old style rock 'n' roll, and the Outlaws brought a record crowd to the Bud Light stage. But this morning, we're loving this cloud cover," he said, adding that the work was much easier without the heat of June's blazing sun.

Rita Waters, of Cohutta, Ga., was packing up her vendor business, too.

"The Corn Crib," as she called it, offered roasted corn and roasted sweet potatoes. This was her vendor debut at Riverbend, though she has done other festivals inside the Atlanta, Nashville and Knoxville circuit, she said.

"We didn't do as well as we thought we would, but I'd love to do it again," she said.

Ronald Doege of Harvell Concessions out of Pensacola, Fla., helped his crew put the last of their Pronto Pups and Polish and Italian Sausages gear into a truck to head home.

"Chattanooga's always been good to us. We've been coming here for 21 years, and I'm not disappointed this year," he said.

"Our concessions were down maybe 10 percent this year, but considering the economy, Chattanooga's fared a lot better than most," he said.

about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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