published Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Lauren Alaina will close out Riverbend 2012

Lauren Alaina performs at Track 29 on Wednesday night. Alaina will be the closing act for Riverbend 2012
Lauren Alaina performs at Track 29 on Wednesday night. Alaina will be the closing act for Riverbend 2012
Photo by Jake Daniels.
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"American Idol" runner-up Lauren Alaina will return to the Riverbend Festival as a performer, only this time the stage will be much bigger and the paycheck will be larger, too.

The Rossville, Ga., native first played the festival in 2008 as one of several young singers on the Times Free Press Children's Stage. She was paid $100, according to Joe "Dixie" Fuller, the festival's talent and production coordinator.

On June 16, she will close out the nine-day festival, headlining on the main Coca-Cola Stage on fireworks night, according to Fuller. Contracts forbid Fuller from revealing the amount she will be paid for her Riverbend performance, "but it is substantially more and indicative of how far she has come," he said.

Also added to the Riverbend 2012 lineup are Foghat on the Bud Light Stage on June 14, the Taylor Reed Band on the Tennessee Lottery Stage on June 16 and the Futurebirds on June 8, according to Fuller.

Fuller said he was on a panel that chose Lauren Alaina to play at Riverbend in 2008, and he helped produce her "American Idol" return home event at Coolidge Park last year.

"The first time I saw her was at one of the malls during the Kids Talent Search," Fuller said. "I voted for her.

"It has always been her dream to play Riverbend and this has been a dream year for her, so we wanted to make it happen."

Lauren Alaina, who is seemingly everywhere these days, has also been invited to go on her first official country music tour, joining fellow Georgia natives Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan on Aldean's "My Kinda Party" arena tour. It kicks off Jan. 20 in Greenville, S.C., and wraps up March 24 in East Rutherford, N.J.

"I am so excited to be a part of the Jason Aldean tour with Luke Bryan," Lauren said in a news release.

"I am a huge fan of both of them. I mean -- if I wasn't a part of the lineup, I would want to be in the front row. I am honored that my first major country tour will allow me to share the stage with two fellow Georgia artists. That is definitely my kind of party."

Her first album, "Wildflower," debuted in October at No. 2 on the Top Country Album chart and No. 5 on the Top 200 chart. Recently, she performed at the White House in front of President and Mrs. Obama as part of the PBS special "Country Music: In Performance at the White House." She was one of the artists on ABC's "CMA Country Christmas," and the "45th CMA Awards." She has appeared on "Good Morning America," "Live! With Kelly," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "E! News" and ET's "The Insider."

Foghat is perhaps best known for its megahit "Slow Ride." The Futurebirds are an Athens, Ga.-based rock band. The Taylor Reed Band is a local group that includes Karen Alayne, who was Lauren Alaina's vocal coach prior to the Idol shows.

Riverbend is scheduled for June 8-16. Previously announced acts are Eric Church and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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PaulWilson said...

Am I the only person that thinks she hasn't come anywhere close to earning this spot yet? Sure, she won a nationwide talent contest but, can she really hold the attention of a Riverbend crowd...let alone on closing night?

December 7, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.

This is news?

December 8, 2011 at 6:20 a.m.
Johnnie5000 said...

No Paul, you're not. I see no valid reason for her to be on the Coke stage, especially on closing night. She's Bud Light Stage material at best.

December 8, 2011 at 6:31 a.m.
j17davis said...

If Riverbend hasn't already been continually getting worse. Really, this is what we came up with? We know they wouldn't be dumb enough to pay her as much as these other big acts, so I'm hoping it's mostly b/c Riverbend can save some money. Johnnie5000, absolutley right, Bud Light stage material, AT BEST.

December 8, 2011 at 7:18 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Hooray for karaoke!!

Haha, the mouth breathers will think they've died and gone to heaven when their star takes the stage.

December 8, 2011 at 8:21 a.m.
rosebud said...

From the tone of these comments, you'd think folks were being forced at gunpoint to attend. Chill, people. She's got a ton of fans. They'll pack the riverfront that night. Good for her, she's a good kid, and has raised a lot of money for local charity, just last night $35,000 for the Forgotten Child Fund. If you'd rather pay $150 to see one of your favorite superstars, go for it. And if you think you can do a better job running Riverbend, go apply for a job there.

December 8, 2011 at 9:05 a.m.
Walden said...

This is depressingly cliche...

December 8, 2011 at 9:17 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

I hope she tries to sing the national anthem again

December 8, 2011 at 10:13 a.m.
rdd said...

Seems like same lauren haters comment here don't be jealous ordinaryguy,dao1980,PaulWilson,Johnnie5000 ,j17davis,if jason aldin

December 8, 2011 at 10:33 a.m.
rdd said...

Seems like same lauren haters comment here don't be jealous ordinaryguy,dao1980,PaulWilson,Johnnie5000 ,j17davis,if Jason Aldean wants her to tour with him. She is more then qualified to close out riverbend!!!little note to the haters here! Might as well get use to it. Lauren has made it take your spew go back under the rock all you losers came from!!!!

December 8, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.
evie09291964 said...

You have no idea how many will come see lauren alaina close out riverbend. I think those who are rude on here are jealous. Lauren brought in a great deal of $$ last night at chattanooga track 29. She is honest and pure and you shouldnt be putting her down. In this day when BULLYING is so strong you should all be ashamed of yourself.

December 8, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.
rdd said...

Hey TypicalRedneck your name fits your comment loser not a bright apple are you!!

December 8, 2011 at 11 a.m.
PaulWilson said...

I should correct my original comment. She didn't win a nationwide talent contest. She came in second.

rdd - I should take exception to your comment but, seeing as though you can't even write in a complete sentence I doubt you would understand what I'm saying in the first place.

rosebud - Yes, she helped in the fundraising effort for the Forgotten Child Fund, that is not in question. However, her exposure in the media would help raise money for any worthy cause. My problem with her being added to the festival as a "headliner" is simply the fact that she does not carrying the catalog of recognizable material to really play the stage. She has an incredibly new act, that does not have the experience, catalog, or name recognition as others that have played the festival in the past. For my part, I hope she performs as well as everyone thinks she will. I just hope that the Friends of the Festival organization didn't just book her for her name alone.

December 8, 2011 at 11:07 a.m.
sla2010 said...

If you don't like her, don't go! I for one do like her so I won't miss you drunk and sweaty and all in the way that night!

December 8, 2011 at 11:27 a.m.
meganrael said...

I'm not a fan of country music, but all these comments are ridiculous. She's worked hard to get where she is and comments like these show just how rude people are. I hope she packs the Riverfront out and brings in more money than Riverbend has ever seen. She's from this area, and saying she's not good enough to sing on the main stage is stupid. If she's SO bad, then why don't you try to take her place?

December 8, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
Shock said...

Everybody's entitled to their opinions, but making comments about a 17 year old girl's appearance is absolutely pathetic, TypicalRedneck.

December 8, 2011 at 12:51 p.m.
Johnnie5000 said...

Ok rdd, who the hell is Jason Aldean and why is he even remotelly relevant to Riverbend? My point is that she is not qualified to be on the Coke Stage yet. So far her musical career consists of losing on a craptacular reality show, flubbing the national anthem and not much else. How long has she even had an album out? She hasn't been in the music business for 20+ years, nor is she over the age of 50 like most of our beloved headliners usually are. She simply is not qualified to be on the Coke Stage ~YET~, give her 20 years more experience and things may be different.

December 8, 2011 at 2:23 p.m.
sla2010 said...

wow, who is Jason Aldean? that proves your lack of knowledge about county music. it doesnt matter how many years she has been performing... if you haven't noticed riverbend has two sets of people the has beens and the about to be. The has beens attract the older popluation for their love of their oldies or hits and the alcohol by the gallons or whatever is may be... the about to be attracts the young crowd who has money from mom and dad to spend on whatever they want, so riverbend is actually very wise in how they choose their performers. they make money with both crowds, so if you don't like who is going to perform don't go that night SIMPLE SOLUTION!!!

December 8, 2011 at 3:19 p.m.
magic said...

Lauren has worked very hard and deserves the right to perform. She worked hard before trying out for idol by playing in various restaurants throughout Nashville. Just because she tried out for idol and made second place doesn't mean she isn't talented. American Idol is hard work, you sing in front of millions of people who are criticizing your every move. I like to see some of you loser who are talking about her, go on that show and do it, and see if it will be easy. Just because her dream is coming faster than most, doesn't mean it is not deserved.

If you don't want to see her don't go.

December 8, 2011 at 8:33 p.m.
Barbtw said...

I had to create an account just to post. I have seen too many grumpy, crusty, bah hum bug comments from her "home" town. Have you read any blogs in the North Carolina newspapers tearing down Scotty???? No wonder Lauren didn't win, with support like this, who needs enemies???? Have any of you ever thought about just being proud of someone from your community doing well? Its like the two old men in the balcony on the muppets, grumble, grumble, grumble. "Why do we always come here, I guess I never know"

December 8, 2011 at 9:34 p.m.
dao1980 said...

I love "The Hecklers" on the old Muppet Show!!!! They are some of my favorite Muppet characters!

Thank you for the "warm fuzzy memory feeling" this A.M. Barbtw.

Oh, and if anyone likes and desires to feel proud of pop-country or classic-country karaoke, don't wait for Riverbend, just go down to your local neighborhood sports bar any night of the week.

You'll get more than you can handle of what you so dearly love.

December 9, 2011 at 7:33 a.m.
Bumpkin said...


I don't know what you are talking about. I think that double chin of hers is sexy.

December 9, 2011 at 9:27 a.m.
Bonnie said...

She has a ton of fans, will sell a lot of tickets, and will put on a great show. For the guy who said "Who is Jason Aldean?" you have no basis for any of your comments. Jason Aldean is a top selling counry music star. And Lauren Alaina is a rising country music star.

December 9, 2011 at 9:18 p.m.
maryholley said...

it is so sad that in America freedom of speech means ur able to bash an innocent 17 year old girl with a heart of gold and the most amazing and unusual voice to hit Nashville since Dolly Pardon. i dont understand people like you i personally thinks your miserable people who the only way to feel good about yourself is to hurt people who are doing things with their life or ur someones fan and your scared of her talent /You dont need to go to see her she has plenty of fans and will sell it out Since when is anyone not good enough to play there if she can play the grand Mother (opry) of country music why shouldnt she play riverbend She has worked hard the last 2 years maybe all the haters should take a class in how to be a better person**

December 9, 2011 at 11:01 p.m.
Bonnie said...

For the person who wanted to know what Lauren has done, well she sang at the White House in November. She did a duet with Dierks Bentley and sang solo at the White House. Look it up on Youtube. She was on the CMA Country Christmas Special and sang My Grownup Christmas List. This was amazing. It's on Youtube too. You should hear it. She lost 25 pounds in her "spare time" and she's been rocking the red carpet at many events, including the Breaking Dawn premiere, the CMA's, and the ACAs in designer outfits looking absolutely amazing. Look her up. She's all over the net. She was chosen to open Jason Aldean's tour starting in January. Jason had a million people come out to his shows last year. A million. So yes, she's done a lot. Chattanooga should be proud of her.

December 10, 2011 at 6:26 a.m.
estair said...

in the words of Taylor Swift, "WHY YA'LL GOTTA BE SO MEAN?" i don't get people nowadays. the reason why Scotty McCreery won AI is because there are haters like yall who did not support your hometown girl when she was on the show. she has one of the best voices in country music today, if not for her generation she is definitely the best. wake up haters. i suggest yall go watch her at riverbend before you judge her ability as a performer.

December 19, 2011 at 4:48 a.m.
harleygirl30736 said...

Ya'll should be ashamed with your comments. Chris Daughtry was invited to Riverbend the year after he came in 4th on AI as the headliner as an up and coming star.

December 19, 2011 at 4:54 p.m.
PaulWilson said...

harleygirl30736 said... Ya'll should be ashamed with your comments. Chris Daughtry was invited to Riverbend the year after he came in 4th on AI as the headliner as an up and coming star.

Yeah...and his performance sucked. What does that tell you?

December 29, 2011 at 9:29 a.m.
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