MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A list of possible alternative sites for the 2020 Beale Street Music Festival were released Friday, and Memphis in May organizers aren’t pleased with the prospects of those sites.
The proposed redesign of Tom Lee Park, the usual host of the festival, is set to begin this summer and last until the end of 2020, which is why looking into an alternative site was needed.
The Downtown Memphis Commission selected six sites downtown or close to it that have the capacity to host the festival. Memphis in May officials don’t like the sites.
The sites (also in the photo slideshow) are MLK Riverside Park, Greenbelt Park, Georgia Ave. Elementary, Mud Island, I-40 at Riverside Drive and Beale Street.
Memphis in May Director of Marketing Robert Griffin sent the following statement:
“A cursory review of the sizes and infrastructure of the suggested sites reveals that these simply are not compatible to host our world-class events, and reaffirms our President and CEO Jim Holt’s assertion yesterday that aside from Tom Lee Park, there are no other sites in downtown Memphis that can accommodate Memphis in May.”
The Memphis River Parks Partnership, which is designing the upgrades to the park, said space for the festival is increased by the redesign, but Memphis in May disagrees.
On Thursday, Memphis in May officials said they asked for a phased construction plan that would allow for the 2020 festival to be at Tom Lee Park.
“Memphis in May received the test-fits from our local architect at Architecture Inc., which showed that contrary to what has been reported by MRPP, the Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will not fit in the current proposed redesign of Tom Lee Park but will instead be significantly reduced,” Griffin said.
George Abbott, director of external communications for MRPP, previously told WREG that he does not think a phased construction is likely.
“If we wanted to start construction tomorrow, we couldn’t because we’re not there yet,” Abbott said. “We won’t know the construction schedule until we get further down the line with construction drawings to see if a phased schedule makes sense.”