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Riverbend-Festivalgoers-Can.jpg Chattanooga Times Free Press


Riverbend Festivalgoers Can Check Out User-Friendly Web Site

The Riverbend Festival began in the early 1980s with a small stage
anchored at Ross’s Landing and surrounded by vacant warehouses and decaying property.

Today it has five stages, extends for more than a mile along the Tennessee River and draws more 450,000 visitors. Any trip to the Riverbend Festival this week should start with a short orientation session on the festival’s interactive Web site, www.riverbendfestival.com.

Friends of the Festival, the organization responsible for managing the Riverbend festival, has worked with SurfN Development Corp. to develop a user-friendly and informative Web site, said Pauline Field, systems coordinator for the local technology company.

The Web site's home page features an interesting navigation system with moving multicolored squares.

"We tried to make it fun and front edge, and at the same time it had to be snappy and fast-loading," said Alan Field, president of SurfN  Development.

Officials said the Riverbend Web site had to" be functional and had to be integrated with the database  management system SurfN Development. Officials said the Riverbend Web site had to be functional and had to be integrated with the database management system SurfN Development designed for Friends of the Festival.

"(Our Web site) is a lot more user-friendly this year than if it has been in the past," said Sandy Hunt, director of public relations for Friends of the Festival.

The Web site contains general information, the history of Riverbend and a list of this year’s performers and events. It also includes several maps showing festivalgoers how get to the riverfront. The site also has printable map showing where all the attractions are located.

Friends of the Festival is also using its Web site to register participants for the Riverbend 5K fun run on Saturday. About five people a day have registered to participate, Ms. Hunt said.

The Web site was also used to recruit volunteers.

Friends of the Festival entered the world of e-commerce by selling Riverbend pins online. They stopped accepting online orders May 1.

"We’ve had a really tremendous response," Ms. Hunt said.

The festival staff does not have a count of how many pins they sold online, she said, but orders came from all over the country.

A group from Belgium - fans of the band Chicago, Thursday’s Riverbend headlining act - placed a telephone order for pins after they visited the festival’s Web site, she said.

This year Riverbend features a new Children’s area called Children's Village. Parents can go online to find out about activities planned there.

A concession guide also lists all the dining and refreshment options available to visitors this year.

The Web site is also filled with links to information pages about event's sponsors.

This year the Web site helped Friends of the Festival release information about performers. "The minute we had a contractual agreement, we released it," Ms. Hunt said.

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