Folks from around the region started pouring into Chattanooga's riverfront Friday to kick off Riverbend 2015.

The nine day festival showcases more than 100 bands on five stages. This year, for the first time, featuring two main acts per night on the Coke Stage.

The event gives many in the area a chance to see big names without a big drive like 3 Doors Down.

“I don't get a chance to get out much and this gives me the perfect opportunity because it's so close to home and I'm so excited!” Lorae Hibbetts said.

Many from near and far came to see American Idol's Clark Beckham, a former Lee University student and Tennessee native.

“We support what he believes in and his music and we support him and voted for him,” Eden Bentley said.

“I voted for him every week and watch all of his performances on YouTube and stuff like that,” Al Salatka said.

But now, Salatka can watch his own videos of Beckham. He's visiting all the way from Chicago and came to Riverbend just to see Beckham perform.

“It's my last day here, I had to come and see him while he's here. It's fantastic,” Salatka added.

For Beckham, the experience has come full circle as he performs on the stage he once watched as a kid.

“I got to where I am today because of what I've done at Lee and this area and I always remember Riverbend and Brian McKnight and incredible artists coming here and just dreaming of playing on a stage and now I'm playing on the Coke Stage!” Beckham said.

Channel 3 even caught a candid moment of Beckham's love for music while talking about his experience on American Idol.

“The American Idol crew is extremely efficient and the best in the world and I had a blast!” he added.