News 12 Then: Remembering the First Riverbend

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – While the 35th Riverbend Festival is underway, we are remembering the very first one in 1982.

Obviously, the Festival has changed a lot over the years.

One of the chief inspirations for the event was the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina which is still going strong today.

Spoleto is a more high-brow, performing arts music festival.

The original Riverbend planners liked the idea of encouraging local musicians to preform around town during the day, in addition to the main stage at the River.

So we had chamber groups playing at Miller Plaza at noon.

Over the next few years, they tried a variety of off-site performances.

The early Riverbends also incorporated a variety of sporting events during the day on weekends, like marathons and eventually boat racing.

As time went by, those events fell by the wayside.

But this year, Riverbend is holding a pro wrestling match at the river on Saturday.

So it’s kind of a throwback to the early days, but a long way from Spoleto!

Which takes us back to today’s video.

This is a Fiddler’s Convention held at the Courthouse during Riverbend in 1982.

Would you like the event or that venue to return in the future?

Categories: From The Archives, Local News, Riverbend