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You may not know art, but here's something you'll like

Some guy pretends to know what he's talking about while his hair tells you all you need to know.
Some guy pretends to know what he's talking about while his hair tells you all you need to know.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Welp. Time to shine up the ol' elbow patches and dust off the monocle. 'Tis the weekend of the 4 Bridges Arts Festival.

Actually, if it's one thing Chattanooga has usually gotten right, it's having a laid-back attitude about art and artists. And we have a beautiful city (until Bob Corker decides to run for president and arranges to have the rest of it paved) that sets a nice backdrop for adventures in color and form. Sunlight, a spring breeze, and girls with tattoos and head kerchiefs - what could make that better? Beer. Don't worry, there'll be some of that, too.

If you've been to one of the previous nine AVA-sponsored events, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The 4 Bridges Arts Festival will be held at the Tennessee Pavilion on April 17th and 18th, and will still be your given morass of artists' booths, music, food, and some mysterious substance they're calling "fun". The mere $5 gate fee does nothing to stem the tide of the hoi polloi but everything will be aimed at and catered to the rich and rich-ish people who might actually buy some of the art. And the "catering" is in the literal sense; an as-yet-unconfirmed list (two days before the festival?!) of food vendors will be slinging fois gras like ballpark hot dogs. Craft beer (going to go out on a limb and say "Big River") will be available as well, and may assist in contemplating some of the art.

So the wife took off for her mother's house after asking you for your "honest opinion" and left you stuck with the kids for the weekend? No sweat! There is a free kid's area with, get this, structured activities all day! Kids love to draw, because drawing is a form of destruction - introducing chaos to what was once a clean, white piece of paper or wall. And for your part, you get a free babysitt...ah, educational experience for little Johnny.

There will also be live music pretty much nonstop throughout the festival. It's mostly the singer-songwriter stuff you would expect would be safe for the Lookout Mountain crowd, but there's a few highlights:

  • Sat, 2:15 - The achingly beautiful songs of Hudson K, which somehow simultaneously evoke smoke, lipstick, and childhood fears.

  • Sun. 1:30 - If you cover Natalie Merchant's body and voice with tattoos, then you get Nanyana.

  • Sun. 2:45 - Immediately following her is the Last of the Full-Grown Men, the ice-cool Webb Wilder, who's 95% rock and 5% -abilly.

The AVA will be holding juries to award $10,000 in prize money, as well as offering a few gimmies to emerging artists. They promote the arts in Chattanooga by blah blah blah snore. I mean, hey, they do a great job, but that's not why we're there.

We're there to enjoy an afternoon in the breeze with a cold beer, since the NCAA tournament is over.


The 4 Bridges Arts Festival, First Tennessee Pavilion, Saturday: 10am to 6pm and Sunday: 11am to 5pm. Admission to the festival is $5 for adults 18 and over and free for children under 18. For more information, please call Director of 4 Bridges Arts Festival, Jerry Dale McFadden at 423.265.4282 ext. 106.


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