The big acts on the spotlighted Coca-Cola Stage get most of the attention before and during the Riverbend Festival, but every year the smaller side stages feature more than 70 acts.
Often these stages feature past stars, rising stars and a variety of musical styles. This year is no different.
For some Riverbend fans, such as Tad Laskowski, the side stages offer other positives as well.
“It’s also usually new music or somebody I haven’t heard on the radio every day,” Laskowski said. “I saw Dead Confederates under the bridge. It’s cooler, the layouts are better, there’s shade and the bathrooms are closer. Everything is better on the side stages.”
He said the only big-stage act he plans to see is Pink Floyd tribute act The Machine performing with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera.
“And that’s because I saw them on a side stage two years ago, and it was a great show,” he said.
Below are some of the better side-stage acts booked for Riverbend 2011 that perhaps you’ve never heard of.
- Dirty Guv’nahs, June 17: Once described as “a passionate, jubilant slice of rock-meets-Americana,” these guys were voted Knoxville’s best three years running.
- Lubriphonic, June 16: This Chicago-based funk and soul band has been touring with the likes of Widespread Panic, George Clinton & P-Funk, Buddy Guy, Maceo Parker, Dumpstaphunk and others.
- The Stone Foxes, June 10: You’ll hear influences of The Band, Dylan and Led Zeppelin from this San Francisco-area rock band.
- Greensky Bluegrass, June 15: It starts with bluegrass, but the band is just as likely to slip in some Talking Heads, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead or Bob Marley — with a twang, of course.
- Perpetual Groove, June 18: Perpetual Groove is perpetually reinventing its sound through the addition of instruments and players. It’s also one of the hardest-working acts in the studio and on the road.
- Acoustic Syndicate, June 16: Formed in 1982, Acoustic Syndicate is a rock/folk/bluegrass band from North Carolina. The group was popular through the ’90s and early 2000s, and now it’s back.
- The Secret Sisters, June 10: Sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers hail from Muscle Shoals, Ala. Their self-penned and soon-to-be signature “Tennessee Me” showcases their rootsy vocals and beautiful harmonies.
- The New Familiars, June 15: Based in North Carolina, The New Familiars have played Chattanooga before, showcasing their own style of American rock ’ *’ roll.
- 6 Stools/6 Strings, June 12: This songwriters forum consists of Chas Sandford, Liz Rose, Walt Wilkins, Nicole Witt, Jeff Black and Jess Leary.
- Dirty South, June 15: These Chattanooga guys are arguably the world’s premier Drive-By Truckers tribute band.
Contact Barry Courter at email@example.com or at 423-757-6354.
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 ...