Beale Street Music Festival tightens security to keep music lovers safe

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Many people at the Beale Street Music Festival had recent international shootings and tragedies on their minds as they passed through the ticket gates of Riverside Drive.

Tony Boyd and Javier Rodriguez both traveled about two hours to attend the festival Friday night. And both said they discussed recent mass shootings with their families and companions before coming.

"You can’t relax when out in big crowds like this. You have to be aware of where you at," Tony Boyd said.

“The family’s been the one like, ‘Y’all need to text us every hour so we can make sure you’re still alive and everything is okay,’” said Tonie West, who attended the festival with Rodriguez.

Memphis in May officials said they'd been working on the weekend’s safety plan since May of 2017. They said they work with Memphis Police, Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies and even Homeland Security.

“We also hired an outside expert who’s consulted for a number of Olympic games. He’ll be on site for the festival to make sure this is the most secure event we could provide," Memphis in May's Robert Griffin said.

Inside the festival, you can see officers patrolling nearly everywhere.

Barricades at the entrance are filled with water to potentially block a vehicle from plowing through.

People took notice.

“They checked my purse. Did the wand. I feel safe here tonight," Jackie Myers said.

“When we came in there were a lot of police cars parked there and they were still rolling in. They got everybody here tonight. They're going to make sure if anything breaks out they’ll be ready for it," West said.

If you're planning to attend Music Fest, note you're not allowed to bring in chairs or chain wallets. You can find a full list of prohibited items here.