published Thursday, May 30th, 2013

City Beat: The big three festivals are upon us

It seems like we have a different festival every weekend around here, and that's a good thing, but the June calendar is especially busy, with three of the biggest festivals in our area taking place within a 10-day time frame.

The big one locally, of course, is Riverbend. While you are making out your schedule of acts to see each day, don't forget to factor in the Artist of the Day and Bend Unplugged acts. They can be found on the far right side of your program.

Not every festival offers such an opportunity to see, meet and hear some of the musicians in such an intimate way. In some cases, the entire band is involved. In others, one or two members show up for these free, daytime events.

The Artist of the Day program matches an artist with a local restaurant for a noontime meet-and-greet.

For the Bend Unplugged events, an artist spends about an hour at a local business or attraction such as the Hunter Museum of American Art or Lindsay Street Hall, talking about his or her music. The times vary on these.

• Bonnaroo is June 13-16 in Manchester, Tenn., and tickets were still available at press time. Festival planners have made a push in recent years to make it easier for people to stay off-site and drive in each day. I'll be interested in seeing how this plays out. I think it is a bad thing because it changes the whole vibe of the festival, but the vibe changes a little bit every year.

One of the best things about Bonnaroo is the camaraderie that develops between the people who camp inches away from each other and spend almost five straight days dealing with all manner of weather, portable toilets and everything else that comes with a camping festival in their pursuit of great music.

• Up in Nashville, the CMA Music Festival will take place June 6-9. This is a little slice of heaven for country music fans. Everyone from up-and-comers to superstars will be there, and it's set up for fans to mix and mingle with their favorites.

Performing on the Chevrolet Roadhouse Stage inside Fan Alley will be a couple of local rising stars. Fort Payne, Ala., native Weston Burt will perform there June 7 and Chattanooga's Rachel Holder will be on the lineup June 8. The shows are free and take place between noon and 3 p.m.

Fan Alley is located in front of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Fourth Avenue South. It's open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June 6 and 7 and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 9 (Central time).

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

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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