From the Archives: Riverbend 25 Years Ago

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Updated: 6/10 7:52 pm
   We continue our look back at Riverbend 25 years ago by remembering a crisis organizers faced in 1989.
   At the last minute, their headliner cancelled on them.
   But as luck would have it, they had a rising star in the wings who was ready for the big stage.

"Jerry Lee Lewis has cancelled... Of course, very disappointing for everybody hoping to catch this class act.  Margaret Culpepper, president of Friends of the Festival, joins us.  And why did he cancel and when did you hear about it?"
"We heard about it at about 1:30 this afternoon.  Under doctor's recommendations, he has had an abscess on his leg.  And the doctor recommended that he not perform tonight."
Riverbend officials told the crowd just after six tonight.  Lewis would not make his scheduled appearance on the Coca Cola stage. 
"When we were coming in the gate, one or two people were coming out the gate saying.. That's all they said to us... That he wasn't going to be here."
"With the movie on right now... Great Balls of Fire.. I thought that maybe this would be a great time to see him, you know, but guess not."
"So you're disappointed to hear that he's not going to be here?"
"Yeah, because with me.. I have 3 kids so if I get a baby sitter so I can get out and see somebody, this is it, we gotta do it, you know."
"And his crew I understand was already setting up for the show."
"Right, the stage was already set.  His crew was here, the equipment was on stage."
Lewis's absence gave rising young country artist Suzy Bogguss a chance to fill in on the big stage.  And she came ready with a song fit for the occasion.
Bogguss singing
"I'm really excited.  No, it doesn't feel like pressure.  It just feels like.. Gosh.. I get to be with more folks.  It will be great.  This is a real great opportunity and besides I wanted to wear my sparkly dress and it will show better off at night, you know (laughs)
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