Chattanooga Blues, Southside Bliss

brunch2“I took a walk down Main Street, mama, just to lose them Chattanooga blues,” sings Lon Eldridge.  It’s a 68 degree (fahrenheit) afternoon washed completely in bright warm sunshine.  From where I sit in the upper mezzanine of the Flying Squirrel bar/restaurant, I can see the mountains in the distance, and in front of them rows of commercial buildings housing all locally owned companies.  Through the glass walls I see dozens of patio diners, with either babies or dogs at every table.  Upstairs in the mezzanine we lounge on these chunky pieces of furniture that could classify as either couch or chair, or both.  The upholstery is the most mellow shade of “Chattanooga blue,” just like you’ll see painted on all four bridges across that wide ol’ Tennessee River.  Those blue bridges might be the only “blues” we get if the weather is going to be like in Chattanooga.  If you want more blues than that, your best bet is to come to the Flying Squirrel for brunch.*

I’m sitting here in this mezzanine (feels like an urban treehouse) as happy as can be, after a short walk around the grounds of the Crash Pad next door, easily imagining the whole place filled with musicians on the weekend of May 30, 31 and June 1.  That’ll be the first of at least two, and hopefully many, World Music Weekends, where people from all different backgrounds come together to share tunes and songs, dances and conversations, workshops and concerts, laughter and connection.  For that weekend we are reserving a cluster of buildings and outdoor space around the intersection of Main Street and Rossville Ave., that will become our festival grounds.  Much of the weekend is free and open access, alongside a schedule of workshops, concerts, and presentations that will all be included in the weekend pass.  I believe that today’s sunshine and musical bliss is a perfect preview of our special weekend in May/June.  Whether you’re one of the lucky few who live in Chattanooga, or planning to visit, I hope you’ll come be part of our first World Music Weekend!

Here are some ways to get involved:

Take advantage of our earlybird pricing and get yourself a weekend pass

Propose to lead an activity for our schedule in exchange for a weekend pass

– Join on as a partner or sponsor for the weekend (email

– Plan to join us on Main Street that weekend (May 30, 31, and June 1) for a jam session or a concert

– If you are a musical teenager, apply for our “Teen Track” and get ready to learn a lot of music and perform together at the end of the weekend!

*Lon Eldridge and the 9th Street Stompers play for brunch here almost every Sunday.  Live music from 11am-4pm, co-organized by the Folk School of Chattanooga.  Today we heard the trio of Danimal Pinson, Jeff Joyner, and Jessica Nunn in the early shift, and now the Stompers are swingin’ it!  On June 1st at the Flying Squirrel, we’ll have performances from the participants of our World Music Weekend, and the Stompers will host the show.