Sunday, June 10, 2007


Each year here in Chattanooga there's a weeklong music festival called Riverbend that draws tens of thousands of music fans to the downtown area.

Different stages are constructed throughout downtown, and things really get going from about 6 p.m. to midnight each day. People of all ages come out to hear well-known acts, as well as unsigned national and regional performers.

It's one big party down by the river that lots of people look forward to each year. I even get in free, thanks to my employer. However, of the five years I've lived her, I have only gone to Riverbend once.

And that was enough.

I'm a huge music lover, however I'm not a big fan of large crowds. I'm really not a fan of large crowds of rambunctious teenagers and drunk, unruly adults.

The smell of sweat and beer gets me a little grossed out, and trying to walk through walls of people is not my favorite form of exercise. Trudging through empty bottles and half-eaten funnel cakes also makes me a little flustered, and the heat adds another dimension of grouchiness to my attitude.

However, I know plenty of people who love Riverbend, and they probably think I'm a little snotty about my stance on not attending the festival. It's good for the city, that's for sure. But it's not good for me these days.

The thing is, I'm trying to remember when my attitude toward music festivals shifted so drastically.

I can remember staying out in the blazing sun for hours surrounded by all sorts of crazy music fans just to hear Live, Drivin' n Cryin', Bob Dylan, the Black Crows and a handful of other bands in the late 1990s. I absolutely lived for the Midtown Music Festival each year in Atlanta. It was the highlight of my summer.

But now if you offered money for my attendance to the same type of event, I'd have to demand a pretty penny.

Is it my age, or have I become a big party pooper? I'm afraid it's the latter, and I don't like it - but I'm afraid my dislike is here to stay.