published Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Beach Boys rock Riverbend

John Stamos performs with the Beach Boys on the Coke stage at the Riverbend Festival on Saturday.
John Stamos performs with the Beach Boys on the Coke stage at the Riverbend Festival on Saturday.
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


Riverbend is $3.5 million business

Follow, discuss Riverbend online

You can get complete Riverbend coverage, as well as comment and follow what others are saying about the festival at users also can post their thoughts on Riverbend, including some of the surprise acts they’ve discovered at past festivals and the acts they are most looking forward to seeing this year. During the festival, the live blog area will let Twitter users provide live updates. If a band is tearing it up on the Unum Stage, for example, fans can let others know about it immediately. We also will filter Twitter comments from the bands, as well as comments from other local outlets. All of the daily print stories will be on the site, as will photo galleries and a daily video.

After hours of waiting, praying rain would hold off and fanning away the heat, Trish and Happy Schimpf watched the Beach Boys come on stage.

The Schimpfs and all the people around them were giddy. In the crowd you could hear friends swap teenage nostalgia. For some, the songs had been the soundtrack to a first date, a first heartbreak or a long drive to the ocean.

The Beach Boys took the stage with “Catch a Wave” from their 1963 album “Surfer Girl,” and the crowd sang along.

Remembering the sweet, familiar harmonies about sun, sand and catching a wave, they were sittin’ on top of the world.

But some younger listener sang along, too. Ashton Herndon, the Schimpfs’ 15-year-old daughter, learned some of the songs watching “Full House” reruns and sang them at school.

And to her the Beach Boys playing the second night of Riverbend amounted to the perfect night.

While her parents held spots on the lawn, watching and waiting for the night’s headlining band, she ecstatically roamed free with her close friend Logan Baker, 15.

“My parents want to be with me everywhere I go,” said Logan.

“Yeah. I know,” Ashton said. “The only place I can be by myself is [Riverbend] and the mall. It just gets old. You get that learner’s permit, and you want to go.”

Teen oasis

No matter the night or the band, Riverbend has always been an oasis for young teens. They can come with their parents and disappear in the crowd, as long as they check back in with mom and dad every now and then.

With a little cash, they can get sticky fingers from eating funnel cakes or dizzy on the Tilt-A-Whirl ride. They can strut or stroll by the river and hope to lock eyes with someone cute walking past.

On Saturday, Ashton, who wore lime-green nail polish and a Mickey Mouse T-shirt, talked Logan into getting henna tattoos while out of her parents’ sight.

Longtime friends

The two have been friends since the third grade, but they go to different schools in North Georgia now. Logan said Ashton is the only person his parents trust him to be away from home with.

“She’s my best friend,” he said. “She’s the only one who hasn’t blown me off.”

He got a tattoo of a cross that looked like a sword on his left shoulder.

“It reminded him of a video game he likes to play,” she said.

“A Disney game,” she added, laughing.

“No. It’s not,” he said, laughing, too.

She picked a rose and a heart to put on her ankle.

Afterward, as the ink dried under the last hours of summer sun, they milled toward Ashton’s parents’ spot on the lawn. They wondered together if this would be one of the wildest nights of their summer.

Would they would see any drunken people?

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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