For Riverbend’s partisans, surely it doesn’t matter what the original idea was or what’s being played out now in a “theater of power,” whatever that is. But the question of whether Riverbend is good for Chattanooga—not whether it used to be—is hard for thoughtful people to ignore.
“I think Riverbend is no longer a positive model of festival. What Riverbend does is almost unheard of in any city. It’s a black hole that sucks up energy and keeps people away from downtown.”
It’s fascinating that in 2012, a year of continuing economic difficulties for the arts, two new festivals do exactly what Hetzler suggests. HATCH in April and the New Dischord Festival (coming up on June 14-17) put a variety of exhibits, performances and participatory events in venues all over downtown. Also during Riverbend the Chattanooga Writers Guild is presenting three performing authors at the Public Library on Tuesday, June 12.
Could this be the slow, grassroots birth of a Fringe Festival during Riverbend?
“Two Town Festivals: Signs of a Theater of Power” is available in Chattanooga at Winder Binder or from Amazon.