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Lauren has fans too.!...The Idol Shoot Out for the Top 2 This Week

Lauren’s Visit – The Back Story
From Chattanooga Newspaper;;by Bob Payne
posted May 15, 2011

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Photo by Robert Schellhammer
Riverbend officials Don Sharp(L) and Joe Dixie Fuller(R)review plans for stage set-up
This is the story of one man, and a staff of dedicated workers who perform every day to the highest standards, but are slow to take credit for their efforts. When the call came in from Fox Network that Lauren Alaina would be coming to Chattanooga for a homecoming, they made the typical calls – the Mayor’s office, police, etc. The producers of the network also hooked up with the one man that could build a stage and get a professional sound system installed, complete with sound board, technician, 22 speaker array and monitors – all with a zero budget.

The man they called – Joe Dixie Fuller, of the Riverbend Festival. A former stage, lighting and tour manager himself, Dixie has been in the entertainment business for most of his adult life. With just over a 24 hour notice, the job was complete. Security barriers were in place, barrels for road closings in place, sound and stage build-outs complete, concessions in place, and a game-plan for the program. Done. Complete.

It would have been easier to have just said no and kept on working towards a huge Riverbend Festival that is now just 4 weeks away and with mountains of work to be done. But, those that know Dixie say NO is not a word that easily comes over his lips. In fact, John Crawford, Dixie’s trusted and able assistant, says that is the one thing he hopes to accomplish before he retires – to teach Dixie how to say no. 

I asked Dixie why he would agree to such a thing, especially without any budget. His reply was simple – it is an opportunity for Chattanooga to shine in a national spotlight. And shine we did, with the beautiful river, Delta Queen, bridges, and Coolidge Park setting, it made for an impressive backdrop. When the clips from the program air Wednesday on American Idol, I have no doubt that Chattanooga will look like a million bucks. 

In a matter of just a few calls, Dixie and the Riverbend crew secured the pros at Local 140, the stage hands that do so many shows around Chattanooga, including Riverbend. To make Chattanooga look good, they donated their professional expertise and experience. A call to Spectrum Sound got the sound board and equipment delivered at Dixie’s request, to make Chattanooga look and sound good. A call to the folks out at the Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling plant got a Coke trailer, fully stocked and donated to help Chattanooga. The proceeds went to help for tornado victims. Need 15 portable toilets? No problem. Delivered and donated with one call. 

It was really quite extraordinary.

I had the opportunity to watch the whole 24 hours unfold. And Dixie? He says he could have done it in his sleep, taking little credit for what was really a Herculean effort. In fact, he had little sleep, as he was on site to help build the stage before 6 a.m. Saturday morning. That was right after the previous day he spent picking up traffic barrels he loaned to the city for assistance with the police memorial dedication. 

The staff at Riverbend jumped in to help Dixie, as well. Bear in mind, that while Riverbend is one of the nation’s largest and oldest music festivals, the staff is tiny. They all kicked in, as did a few of those reliable Riverbend volunteers. And while the crowd was there to cheer on our hometown star Lauren Alaina, it was Dixie and his band of merry worker bees that made much of it happen. When the show airs, fans which include CEO’s, music stars, and regular folk looking to move to or visit a great city, Chattanooga will shine. 

And let’s not forget to thank our wonderful police department, who also reacted on short notice to maintain order and security for the fans and Lauren. Professional in every sense of the word, these men and women also made Chattanooga look good. Again. 

You can help support Riverbend by buying an admission pin and attending the festival. They are on sale at all area Kangaroo stores and cost just $30 for the entire nine days. For more information on Riverbend, just click here. Some reserved Star Seats are still available, too. This gives you a guaranteed seat, right in front of the Coke Stage. It’s an excellent place to watch the show. A few remain for the fireworks night, too. Call 756-2211 for Star Seating and reserve your spot.


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