News 12 Then: Gladys Knight at Riverbend 1988


CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – This week, we are looking back 30 years in Riverbend history to the festival of 1988.

Riverbend was just six years old then.

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For this story, we pulled a live report from reporter Russ Banfill on the night that Gladys Knight and the Pips performed on the Coca Cola stage.

The headliners that year were her, Chuck Berry, Dwight Yoakam (who got rained out), Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine (almost rained out), Larry Gatlin, Al Hirt, Holly Dunn and Smokey Robinson.

The physical layout of Riverbend was different back then.

You can see that our anchor, Christy Murphy, was sitting on a hill in front of the Coca Cola stage.

That is Kirkman Hill, which is now part of the Lookouts stadium.

Before they built the stadium, Riverbend put all three local stations on the hill looking down on the main stage.

There was also no Aquarium, no green mall (it was a parking lot and a smokestack) and no riverfront seating… just folding chairs in the parking lot.

You can see how the proposed Aquarium was changing Riverbend in this report from 1988.

Plus a look at the Bessie Smith Strut.