Moon River 2022 Review
Moon River Music Festival returned for its fourth year. The festival made for an unforgettable weekend right here in Chattanooga. Moon River manages to create a unique experience that's enjoyable for all ages. Located just down the road from WUTC in Coolidge Park, Moon River is a highlight of the year for local music lovers and festival fiends from all around the US.
Moon River stands out for the way the organizers stagger start times between stages. No more rushing between performances or skipping a bathroom break to catch the next can't-miss show. This year saw the premiere of The Treehouse, a family-friendly activity area providing a safe place for kids to enjoy the festival. Worried about your stamina holding up? There's no need to fear; the Outdoor Chattanooga building converted into a sports bar. Festival attendees could take a breather at the bar and catch up on the top college football and NFL games.
My highlights included Natalie Hemby of The Highwomen, Mat Kearney, and Knoxville-native Briston Maroney. Briston brought incredible passion and energy. His set isn't one I'm going to be forgetting anytime soon. WUTC's own Haley Solomon caught up with Briston for a can't-miss interview. If you want to hear more from Mat Kearney, check out WUTC's Mal O'Connel's interview.
Click the links below to listen to each full interview:
I can't forget to mention Greensky Bluegrass, Zach Bryan, and The National. Greensky started things off with a fantastic performance. They led with a 13-minute version of “Worried About the Weather” that finished with “Windshield” as a closer. Zach Bryan's "Something in the Orange," introduced by Lucas Ruge-Jones' virtuosic fiddle, captivated the crowd. The National played fan favorites "I Need My Girl" and "Light Years" to get the crowd grooving. During the performance, Matt Berninger ran wildly across the stage, riling the audience up and getting us all excited for the weekend ahead.
Unfortunately, inclement weather and flooding in Coolidge Park resulted in delays and eventual cancelation of the festival. Drew and Ellie Holcomb, along with Sammy Rae and JP Saxe, performed at the entrance to the festival for a crowd of enthusiastic attendees.
The Moon River team handled everything with grace, offering a full refund for Sunday. They partnered with the remaining artists, the Tivoli Theatre Foundation, and the City of Chattanooga to put together a last-minute show at Soldiers and Sailor's Memorial Auditorium. The show was free to anyone who had a Moon River pass.
The show included Abraham Alexander, Sammy Rae & The Friends, JP Saxe, Local Native, and late surprise additions of Charlie Crockett and Leon Bridges. The show drew more than 3,000 people. They were treated to the show of a lifetime.
About the cancellation, Drew Holcomb said, "At the end of the day there are circumstances outside of our control, but we did our best to create a memorable evening out of a disappointing situation. The venue and the staff pulled everything together quickly to make lemonade out of lemons and create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for fans."
While WUTC's time at Moon River was cut short, Haley Solomon did have an opportunity to sit down with Abraham Alexander. Click the link below to hear her full interview.