“Pardon me boy, is that The Avett Brothers playing?”


This weekend the city made famous by a train song will sing a different tune: Chattanooga welcomes the Moon River Festival to its shores on September 8-9.

The festival’s stacked lineup features many of the country’s top Americana, indie folk, pop, rock, and soul artists. The Avett Brothers and The Head and The Heart headline, while other prominent festival mainstays – like Mavis Staples, Margo Price, and Trampled By Turtles – join host Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors for two days of fun in a new city.

Holcomb launched Moon River Festival four years ago in his Memphis hometown. This year, though, the now Nashville-based indie artist heads south for a change of pace. And since The Revue has a staff writer based in Chattanooga, who better to give you an insider’s guide to this fest? So if you were lucky enough to snag a ticket (before they sold out in a few short hours!), here’s what you need to know. And if you didn’t get one, consider this your planning guide for next year!


Most of these artists are festival veterans, so you may have seen them before. Bands like The Avett Brothers and Trampled By Turtles have played Chattanooga before, as have The Ballroom Thieves and the velvety-voiced Liz Vice. But other crowd favorites – especially The Head and The Heart, folk-pop sister trio Joseph, and the string-tastic indie Americana quartet Darlingside – make their Chattanooga debuts this weekend. Based on past experience, here are the sets you should not miss <drumroll, please>… all of ‘em!

A little secret about Moon River Festival is no schedule conflicts! Hard to believe, but it’s true: the festival’s two stages never overlap schedules, so there is no reason to miss any of the 22 talented performers. The other great thing about this venue is the closeness of the stages.

Both the Poplar Stage (primary stage) and Iris Stage (secondary) are right on the Tennessee River. With stunning backdrops (Chattanooga’s trendy Arts District and Riverfront plus historic Lookout Mountain) behind the stages, you have plenty of photo-worthy views. Speaking of which…



Moon River’s new home is nicknamed the “Scenic City” for a reason! Check out the views around the venue:

photo courtesy of MoonRiverFestival.com













Whether your tastebuds go crazy for southern cooking or tasty cocktails, Moon River hooks you up with flavors as bold as the music! The on-site Tennessee Tavern features special concoctions (Helloooo, peach moonshine margaritas!) along with many local brewers and distillers. There’s also a two-hour Sunday Gospel Brunch Cruise on the Southern Belle Riverboat. Guests will be serenaded by many of the festival artists while feasting on mouthwatering brunch fare.

photo courtesy of Chattanooga.gov



Moon River offers more than just music! If you’re more of an outdoors enthusiast, come see why Chattanooga is an adventure playground.

The REI Outdoor Experience and Outdoor Chattanooga (located in Coolidge Park) rents gear for biking, climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more.

For indoor sports fans, the Lookout Lodge offers air-conditioned comfort to watch football games or just charge yourself and your phone.



Chattanooga is a pedestrian- and bike-friendly city. Since most lodging is on the opposite side of the river from Coolidge Park, you’ll need to plan your transportation in advance. The easiest way to the venue is to park downtown then stroll across the world’s longest pedestrian walking bridge (Walnut Street Bridge) to the venue – or better yet, cycle in. Chattanooga has bicycle rentals all over downtown, and the festival even offers a free bike valet service!

The festival has on-site food trucks, but North Shore and downtown Chattanooga have plenty of dining options.

photo courtesy of ChattanoogaFun.com



You can follow Moon River Festival on all their social channels:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Stay tuned to our Instagram for updates all weekend, followed by loads of up-close photos next week.


Until then, enjoy this 75-song Moon River Festival playlist!

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