published Monday, June 10th, 2013

Rain clears in time for Brandy to take stage

Singer Brandy performs on the Coca-Cola Stage at the Riverbend Festival on Sunday.
Singer Brandy performs on the Coca-Cola Stage at the Riverbend Festival on Sunday.
Photo by C. B. Schmelter.

A heavy rain Sunday night cleared the streets and grassy lawns in front of the Coca-Cola Stage just half an hour before headliner Brandy was scheduled to perform.

But just in time, the rain dried up and a dusty twilight blue peeked through the clearing clouds.

"Neither rain, nor sleet nor storm of night can keep Chattanooga from coming out," shouted radio personality Eric Foster of Power 94.

Brandy hit the stage at 9:50 p.m. as cheering crowds rushed back to the stage and the throbbing bass of the music echoed over the water.

Between the lyrics of her opening song, "What About Us," Brandy sang the words "Chattanooga, make some noise!" as soaked fans screamed and hopped in excitement.

Rain has marked the first three days of the 2013 Riverbend Festival.

Kim Hamill, working Sunday afternoon at Miller's Frozen Lemonade, said the stormy, wet weather meant business was slow.

"It's affected the crowd big-time," she said. "We need it hot and sunny."

Despite the threat of rain, the Hamills are working every night.

"We came down here with our rain boots, by golly," said Kim Hamill's daughter, Shelby.

The rain wasn't the only deterrent. For some, the shadow of Cee Lo's profanity-laden performance hung over Sunday night's concert.

"A lot of people are discouraged by the rain and the weather and by Cee Lo's concert. He was so terrible," Erica Glass said. "We're afraid she won't have as big a crowd."

But that didn't stop a decent turn-out for the event. Festivalgoers streamed through the gates, loaded down with umbrellas, raincoats and lawn chairs, to stake out seats for Brandy's concert.

Sarah Stewart has been a Brandy fan since the singer first entered the public eye. Stewart said she was very excited to see her perform.

"I've never been to one of her shows," she said. "We watched her grow up. Get married."

But for Stewart, Riverbend isn't just about the music.

"You walk around and you talk and you mingle and you meet people," she said. "I love it. It's awesome."

Contact staff writer Lindsay Burkholder at lburk or 423-757-6592.

Riverbend 2013 Schedule
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about Lindsay Burkholder...

Lindsay Burkholder is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She graduated from Covenant College in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. While at Covenant she spent time writing for and editing the news section of the school newspaper, The Bagpipe. Burkholder also attended the World Journalism Institute in New York City in 2011.

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