‘Valley Vibes’ Coming Home to Dade September 3-5


**Update** With the cancellation of the Bonnaroo music festival; the Valley Vibes has capped attendance at 1500 people. Nate McDaniel says that if at all possible, avoid the area on Highway 11 due to traffic. The team is working hard to continue to maintain their high levels of safety that they have had sense the beginning.

‘Valley Vibes’ Music & Arts Festival is coming home to Dade County this year. This incarnation of the event is scheduled for September 3-5, 2021 at the beautiful Bella Sera in Wildwood. What began as a small, grassroots event has quickly become the largest locals-only music and arts festival ever assembled in the Chattanooga region. This year’s event will feature 50 live performances on three stages, dozens of art vendors, food trucks, professional wrestling, and other interactive entertainment. The lineup features homegrown acts such as Strung Like A Horse, Call Me Spinster, Carolina Story, Swayyvo, Behold the Brave, and Milele Roots. Tickets start at $30 and peak at $120.

Nathaniel McDaniel and Adam Gann, founders of Valley Vibes presented the benefits of having this festival in Dade County to the Board of Commissioners in June, while seeking to address the issue that county ordinance currently disallows the sell of alcohol at events such as these. McDaniel and Gann expressed the concern that festivals with the antiquated ‘B.Y.O.B’-style alcohol systems cause the event staff (professional security officers, as well as a trained suite of bartenders) to be unable to monitor the consumption of the crowd at the venue. The Commissioners responded favorably to the proposal, but decided to table the issue. The Commission will meet Thursday, September 2nd, for a final vote on the ordinance change; but with Valley Vibes starting on the 3rd, the event will not have the time to seek the new permits this will require.

Despite the slow moving wheels of government, the festival is looking to have their largest year yet. According to Gann, the event lineup currently boasts over 50 bands from opposite ends of the genre spectrum. “You can’t find a music festival that hosts bands like Slung Like a Horse, Fault Lines, Swayyvo, and Carolina Story all in one place.” Reportedly, the vision that the Dade County-based group had inspired more bands than they could afford to put on the two stages they had budgeted for; so a group of bands offered to perform with no pay, giving the Vibes team room in the budget to create and entire third stage worth of acts.

McDaniel went on to say that Valley Vibes was created to become a “breeding ground for creativity;” giving local artists a place to showcase their art and to springboard themselves into success. That creativity doesn’t limit itself to the music stage. There will also be artists of the physical medium setting up booths to sell their wares. But McDaniel and Gann both agreed that, other than music, there was one major draw to the festival: food trucks. “Some of these are going to be people who have never once put their product in front of the public; so we’re just excited to be able to give them the platform to do so,” said Gann. McDaniel bragged on the efforts of “Sling’em’s” specifically. “Valley Vibes and Sling’em’s have had a mutually beneficial partnership, growing together. We’re proud to see they have a regular them have a weekly spot in Chattanooga’s Food Truck park.”

There’s no denying that at an event like Valley Vibes, there will be a lot of money exchanging hands. But that money won’t be staying in any one person’s pockets for very long. “Everything goes back to the hard working artists that are showing up for us this weekend.” The money paid directly to Valley Vibes will go to charitable causes that line up with the two biggest parts of the festival: music and food. Valley Vibes will present the Dade County High School Band with a scholarship after the event takes place; hoping to provide more opportunities for the youth who will replace Gann, McDaniel, and their generation of music lovers. Also, after the festivities, Valley Vibes will make a large contribution to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank “Anything beyond that will go right into funding next year’s festival,” said Gann.

Valley Vibes is looking to give back to the community full of dreamers and music-lovers that has bred so much wonderful culture over the years. “We’re just a bunch of big thinkers who want to create something that lasts,” said Gann; not about himself and the Valley Vibes crew, but referencing all the big-dreaming Dade County residents that want to pursue goals like Gann and company have achieved. Local legislation and ordinances may force Valley Vibes to find a new home in 2022. But 2021’s event will be one to remember, and one that will go down in the histories of the original ’valley’ that inspired the event. This weekend, when you hear the drums echo off Sand and Lookout Mountain; know that it’s proof of thousands of locals’ dreams becoming reality.

by Orey Yates