No guns are allowed at Riverbend this year. It is a decision Friends of the Festival made after a state law was changed last summer.

“Secure that weapon somewhere, you will not be allowed to bring it in. Lock it away or keep it at home,” said Chattanooga Police Lieutenant Austin Garrett.

Two years ago for the first time in the festivals 30 plus year history, guns were allowed at Riverbend. Friends of the Festival was complying with state law that allowed guns at city parks.

That law changed in July 2017. Now it’s up to organizers to allow guns or not. This year Friends of the Festival decided against it. “Anything Friends of the Festival does and anything we do on our end on law enforcement side is in the best interest. We are looking to enhance public safety and that is the reason we make the decisions we do.”

Security will still be tight this year. In order to not allow handguns, the festival has to meet security guidelines. “They have to meet guidelines. Have to have private security, have bag checks, and operate a metal detector at the gates.”