News 12 Then: Looking back at 1988 Bessie Smith Strut

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – As you enjoy Riverbend 2018, we continue our look back at the festival 30 years ago.

In 1988, the festival was still new, just six years old.

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And it had some growing pains.

1988 saw a record number of pins sales and the various venues were packed to the gills.

And the Bessie Smith Strut was no different.



Plans had just been announced to build the Bessie Smith Hall.

So the 1988 strut had stages up various side streets and alleys.

But tens of thousands of Chattanoogans strutted down MLK, when they could find room.

The draw back then was the Blues, jazz and zydeco music along with great barbecue and, of course, alcohol.

For another Riverbend story from our Archvies, check out these reports from 1984