Riverbend organizers "evaluating all options" after 2019 festival fell flat

Photos from Saturday’s performers at Riverbend: Macklemore, The War and Treaty, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Roger Alan Wade and Amber Carrington Band.Staff Photo By Nathan P. Gayle

The Board Chair of the Friends of the Festival says they will "evaluate all options" after a disappointing 2019 festival, one that reduced the number of days and increased the star power of the acts on its main stage.

Board Chair Jay Jolley says in an email to NewsChannel 9, "We dedicated more resources to attracting top tier acts and an improved guest experience. While many of our changes were well received, the 2019 event did not perform as well as expected and, therefore, the Friends of the Festival Board is evaluating a number of options on the next steps as we look to 2020."

Jolley says he expects this process to conclude in the coming weeks, and said there would be no further comment about this.

Riverbend used to span two weekends. In 2019, Friends of the Festival reduced it down to four nights. And the acts had a little more star power this year: Lionel Richie, Weezer, Macklemore, and Keith Urban.

Festival goers also paid with wristbands, instead of tokens.

Riverbend attendees we spoke with as this year's festival was winding down had mixed reactions.

"I think its been the best year. Just because instead of having one really big artist that at the end of the week, they had four really big artists," said Jerod Smith, a longtime Riverbend attendee.

"I think Riverbend changes are up in the air. It depends on how well they're going to do versus they have in the past and what they're going to do in the future," said Debbie Tirella, a longtime Riverbend attendee.

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