Crowd causes cell service problems at Beale Street Music Festival

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you made it down the Beale Street Music Festival then, chances are, you know using a cell phone was almost not an option. The cell service issue hit vendors pretty hard too.

"With 30,000 people in the park posting on Instagram, or posting on Facebook, it was hard for those credit card transactions to get through," Robert Griffin, with Memphis In May, said.

Officials with Beale Street Music Festival sent a push alert through their app, warning fans to load up on cash before arriving.

"It impacted vendors. There's no question," Griffin said.

"We brought our own little square system and ran it off our own tablet. It wasn't a problem for us. We were still able to take cards," vendor Lance Cordova, with Island Noodles, said.

Island Noodles backed up its sales, then connected to wifi later so the transactions could go through.

"Everyone in our line was saying they were thankful we were accepting cards, and we were the only ones to their knowledge in this whole area," Cordova said.

Griffin thinks the Tom Lee Park redesign could prevent problems like this one for future festivals.

"There's not a wifi system in the park, so all of our credit card machines, ATM machines have to use the cell network to run those transactions."

The fans are gone and the stages are coming down, but Griffin says the work is far from over.

"Next, Memphis In May is working on reaching a compromise with Memphis River Parks Partnership to keep the fun going with a few improvements that could overall bring an even better festival experience."

We asked about attendance numbers, but those won’t be available until August.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.