It doesn’t feel like summer in Chattanooga until the Riverbend Festival starts. This year, the festival will be held June 8-16. If you can’t make it to Riverbend, or you just can’t get enough music festivals, there will be another festival later in the year. Moon River will be held in Coolidge Park on September 8th and 9th. Until then, here’s some tips to so that you have the best Riverbend experience possible.


Buy your Wristbands in Advance

You don’t want to end up waiting in a long line to get into the festival. Tickets are easily purchased online, so you don’t have to worry about the hassle at the event itself. If you already have your wristband when you get to Riverbend, getting through the gate is a breeze. You can also buy a premium ticket option to get a better view during the performances.


Take Care of YourselfWoman putting on sunscreen.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to drink plenty of water throughout the festival. There are lots of opportunities to buy alcohol and sugary drinks, but remember to balance that with water so you don’t regret it later. Sunscreen is another easy thing to forget about. You don’t want to miss out on other nights because you’re at home nursing your sunburn.


Save your Appetite A large funnel cake.

With so many opportunities to find food inside of the festival, make sure you don’t fill up beforehand! Try typical festival foods like giant slices of pizza and funnel cakes. A fan favorite is the smoked turkey legs. There are also several food trucks from both local restaurants and national chains. You’ll undoubtedly find something you love from the multitude of food and drink stands.  


Find the Perfect Picnic Blanket

The featured artist performs on the Coke stage every night, which floats on the river and faces the grass field behind the Aquarium. Unless you have a boat and can join the musicians in the water, you’ll need a spot on the grass. You’ll want to pick a blanket that is easy to spot when you’re wading through the sea of blankets on the hill. Also, if you can get a weighted blanket, you should. Then you can leave to get food or a drink without worrying that your blanket is flying away.


Listen to the ArtistsWoman dancing to music.

As advertised, there will be nearly 100 artists at Riverbend this year. There eight nights of the festival and five stages with different artists each night. Some are more well-known than others, but they’re all great musicians. Support their craft by getting to know their music, whether or not you can make it to their performance. To see who will be performing this year, click here.


Text by Katherine Polcari