The Riverbend Festival, or called Riverbend (named for the bend in the Tennessee River) by locals, was started in June 1982 as a five night festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The annual festival now goes on for nine nights and ranks in the top 10% of all American festivals. The International Festivals and Events Association has awarded the festival with several awards, including 8 in 2007. Attendance continues to grow for the festival and now some individual nights can see some 80,000 people in attendance, with over 600,000 people total for the festival. There are a wide array of performers that come to the festival and stages are set up all around downtown Chattanooga.
More than a hundred acts perform each year on multiple stages. Headline performers are featured on the Coca-Cola stage, a barge which has been converted into a full concert stage. The barge floats just off the shore against a large collection of amphitheater seats built into a hillside at the water's edge. Major companies, such as Covista Communications, Unum, and Budweiser sponsor other stages throughout the riverfront area.
Admission is given to people with "Riverbend Pins", which can be purchased at over 120 Kangaroo Express stores in Tennessee and Georgia the weeks leading up to the festival for a discounted price, or purchased at the gate for regular price. One pin provides admission to every night of the festival. Concessions are purchased using a token system and many street vendors set up food and souvenir stands.