published Friday, November 11th, 2011

Courter: Could the Hangout, DeLuna concept work here?

We generally try to avoid promoting events that might happen or that are in the planning stages, but the idea of RockaNooga is interesting enough to talk about.

Kenneth Farmer, through his Lava20 company, is the promoter of the proposed multiday music festival to be held in and around Finley Stadium sometime in May. He is basing the event on the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala., and DeLuna Fest in Pensacola, Fla. Both of those are 2 years old and were considered big successes by their second years. Hangout sold out last year, for example, selling 35,000 tickets. Acts like My Morning Jacket, Grace Potter and Paul Simon have been on the bill.

Farmer, a former UTC student who helped promote MTV’s visits here a couple of years ago, believes there were two reasons Hangout and DeLuna connected with ticket buyers. The first is the musical lineup, and the second is the amount and level of extracurricular activities attached to the music.

Hangout was held on the beach and utilized many of the shops, restaurants and bars as part of the attraction. Farmer would like to work with downtown business owners to create a round-the-clock downtown feel to the event here.

VIP areas, vending and places to hang out are all part of the vibe that is created, and Farmer thinks First Tennessee Pavilion and the parking lots around Finley could be utilized to create such an event. Three stages would be utilized for the music. He thinks drawing 30,000 people is doable.

Of course it all hinges on getting sponsors and the right lineup and those are his next tasks, he said. To date, he has spoken with the folks at Finley and done quite a bit of research on the area and on similar events.

Putting on such an event is no small task, but as we’ve seen, getting the right act or acts will draw people to almost anywhere, even to a farm in the middle of Tennessee.

* * *

Former Chattanoogan Dennis Haskins should be back on TV. At least that’s the premise of a recent episode of “Can’t Get Arrested: The Web Series” called “Saved by the Bell ... Ding.”

The series, which can be seen at, features former “Full House” stars Dave Coulier and Jodie Sweetin. On the show, the two are thrown back into the public eye after two paparazzi manipulate a picture of Jodie (think wardrobe malfunction). As a result, the couple get a lot of publicity for it and realize they have a chance to stay hot. They convince other celebrity types to join them.

For example, in the second episode, they convince Haskins to pick a fight with former O.J. Simpson houseguest Kato Kaelin in a restaurant reasoning the tabloids will be all over it.

Five episodes were shot over a four-day period last month.

“It was a lot of fun,” Haskins said. “Dave called me with this idea and asked if I would be interested. I was like, ‘Are you kidding?’

“It was done with the idea that it could be almost a pilot for some other ideas. It was low budget but high-quality people.”

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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