Riverbend brings in first acts for Coke stage - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Riverbend brings in first acts for Coke stage

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Riverbend is only days away and crews are working hard on prepping the stages for Friday night.

Hunter Hayes, Martina McBride, Greg Allman and Sam Hunt are a few of this year's headliners, but there's something new you can expect to see on the stage.

When you come to Riverbend this year, it's going to be mostly the same festival you've grown to love over its 34-years in existence, except now, a wider range of bands are expected to hit the Coke stage.

"We used to have bands that fell into Riverbend limbo and it's something that a band was too big for the Budlight stage and not big enough for the Coke stage," said Chip Baker.

This sort of limbo-log jam has kept so many from being able to perform until now. "St. Paul and the Broken Bones, War, Big River Band," said Baker.

These are just a handful of the bands taking the Coke stage this year, getting the crowds warmed up for the headliners, giving the festival goers more bang for their buck. "They see great acts that they may not have been able to see in previous years of Riverbend," said Baker. "What really draws crowds at Riverbend is country, southern rock, classic rock, but obviously that's charging so what we think we'll be able to do is bring fresh younger acts and as they get older- they'll be on the main show.”

And with 450,000 people coming through the gates of Riverbend every year, they know a good line up is important, but it comes at a price. "What we're spending on the first act this year is what we used to spend about eight years ago on our main act," said Baker.

Costing the festival nearly $300,000 of their rainy day fund, in addition to the $5 million dollar total budget; but Baker says the return will be much greater. "It all goes back into the festival to make it better and better," said Baker.

Baker tells Channel 3 they plan to continue bringing in two acts for the Coke stage, as long as it is a success this year.

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