Memphis in May: Attending the Beale Street Music Festival

The three-day Beale Street Music Festival is an integral part of Memphis in May, a month-long celebration in the biggest city in Tennessee.

I’m a huge music fan, so while traveling a few years back, I made sure to stop by the Beale Street Music Festival in Tom Lee Park. Here’s what I found.

My experience at the Beale Street Music Festival

That year, I was treated to a solid and diverse lineup, including Elvis Costello, Snoop Dogg, James Taylor, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fall Out Boy, Bonnie Raitt, the Steve Miller Band, Al Green and George Clinton.

Tim McIlrath

Tim McIlrath of Rise Against performs at the 2009 Beale Street Music Festival.


The music was good, but the weather didn’t cooperate. It rained heavily, turning the entire park into a mud pit. I ruined two pairs of shoes that weekend.

Most other music festivals cope with rain by putting down mulch, large wooden boards, or other substances to give people a way to get around without trudging through mud. I wish the Beale Street Festival had been more proactive in dealing with the mud, but I still had a good time enjoying the music.

2018 Beale Street Music Festival Details

The festival typically runs in early May. The 2018 event boasted an impressive lineup with
Jack White, Erykah Badu, Post Malone, Logic, Incubus, Alanis Morissette, David Byrne, Kaleo, The Flaming Lips, Dashboard Confessional, Margo Price, and many others.

Jerry Lee Lewis beale street music festival

The ageless legend Jerry Lee Lewis performs in 2009.


Tickets for the 3-day fest are quite a bit cheaper than many similar festivals, even including Ticketmaster fees. I’ve been to a number of music festivals around the country, and, for my money, the Beale Street Festival is one of the best values anywhere. (Assuming the weather cooperates…)

Check out the official sites for more details on Memphis in May and the Beale Street Music Festival.

Just make sure to bring an old pair of shoes in case it rains!

About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Looking for a hotel? I always recommend Booking.com where you can easily compare hotel rooms, prices, and availability. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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