RiverRocks wraps up this weekend, but there is still plenty to do and see before the big sculpture burn Saturday night at Coolidge Park.
Tonight, for example, is BoulderRave, a wall-climbing event featuring a DJ and disco lights. Coolidge Park has been outfitted with zip lines, and rides will be offered from 4 to 7 p.m. today and beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Proceeds from the $10 fee will go to the eight land conservancies RiverRocks supports.
On Saturday, the all-new ChattaJack 31-mile paddleboard race will begin at 8 a.m. at Coolidge Park. Later, 1,200 rowers will compete in the Chattanooga Head Race rowing regatta. You can watch from Ross's Landing or from the Walnut Street Bridge.
A new RiverRocks Adventure Kids program will feature zip lines, a scavenger hunt, archery and other activities and programs. Kids also will find juggling lessons, a Tennessee Aquarium touch tank, live animals and multiple stunt bike shows.
There will be a big picnic in the park on Saturday with locally sourced food available.
Also on Saturday, Greenway Farms will be the place to go for hiking, kayak trips and running events as part of Hellbender 12. The Triple Crown of Bouldering will take place at Montlake Golf Course in Soddy-Daisy at the Stone Fort boulder field.
The day will conclude with the inaugural Gig City Roots concert and the Sculpture Burn at Coolidge Park.
The 15-foot high wooden structure is being built by artist Andrew Nigh and will be set afire between 9 and 10 p.m. Saturday.
Gig City Roots
In keeping with RiverRocks' "show off Chattanooga" theme, the new Gig City Roots concert will showcase EPB's gigabyte-per-second broadband Internet. Chattanooga is the only city in the Western hemisphere with the technology, and it will be utilized during a live concert Saturday that originates in two sites.
The show will take place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. with The Nim Nims, Roy "Futureman" Wooten and The Circle of Harmony, Todd Snider, Doyle Dykes and Jason D. Williams taking the stage at Coolidge Park and music icon T Bone Burnett performing from the University of Southern California.
There have been numerous concerts before with artists contributing from different parts of the country or world, but never have musicians been able to perform together in time.
Burnett will be inside the Annenberg Innovation Laboratory at USC, according to Professor Jonathan Tapley. The feed from his performance will be sent via high-speed link using Internet2 protocol, an advanced networking consortium led by the research and education community.
It will be joined here via EPB's fiber-optic gig technology and mixed with the live audio and video being shot here. The whole show is being produced by Todd Mayo and will be streamed live on the Web. It will be broadcast on WTCI on Oct. 26.
Mayo also produces the "Bluegrass Underground: Live From the Volcano Room at Cumberland Caverns" series and the "Music City Roots" radio series from a barn behind the Loveless Cafe in Nashville.
He hopes this will be the first in a Gig City Roots series.
"Whether we are using a cave or a barn or a gig city, we'd like to do a similar show on a monthly basis, and we are working toward a plan to unite the state -- a Tennessee music trail if you will."
Tapley said the show is a way to showcase the potential of what can be done.
"Whenever we can demonstrate why extremely fast broadband speeds are important, we do," said Tapley.
"We've had live shows via satellite before, but you haven't been able to synchronize before."
Tapley said researchers at Annenberg have used the software in settings with a teacher and student studying or playing together while in different places, but nothing this grand.
"We've never done a live concert in a venue before, so it's kind of daring."
He points out the information has to travel both ways for both parties to keep in time. The amount of delay is "down to hundreds of milliseconds," he said. "It's as small as you can imagine."
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 ...