MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With a little over a week away from the start of Memphis in May festivities, preparations at Tiger Lane are well underway.
Thursday, crews were hard at work building stages and seating areas for this year’s Beale Street Music festival.
Instead of the Mississippi River and Downtown Memphis as the backdrop, it will be the Liberty Bowl and Midtown. We spoke with Vice President of Marketing Randy Blevins about the new location.
“Two of the main stages will have the Liberty Bowl behind them and the third main stage will have [East] Parkway behind them,” Blevins said. “So, it creates like a triangle of music central and all of Memphis. Tiger Lane, dead down in the middle of it, will be where all the action will happen.”
To help cut down on traffic in the area, a free MATA shuttle between two locations downtown and the fairgrounds that will depart every ten minutes.
There will also be a shuttle leaving from the University of Memphis. You must register by Monday, April 25, to save your spot.
“We do expect a lot of congestion when you bring this many people into town to one spot. Just be patient, plan ahead, and hopefully some of the shuttles and the reserved parking will help alleviate some of that,” Blevins said.
Brennah Hutchison said they are used to the congestion.
“[I’m] not too worried about it,” Hutchinson said. “We actually live fairly close to the Liberty Bowl. So, we are kind of used to high traffic and parking in the area.”
The change of venue also means big business. In 2019, the City of Memphis saw an economic impact of $150 million from the festival, mostly to the downtown area.
This year, Midtown will see the financial impact.
“It will be nice to have it over here for a change to see everybody walking by coming in the store, it will be fun,” Hunter Williams at Grivet Outdoors said.
“It will be interesting to see what type of boost in the arm the Midtowners will see this year,” Blevins said.
Security is also a top priority. Randy Blevins said despite the change of venue, security continues to be a top priority.
“Our goal is for people to have fun and enjoy what we produce but also for all of our events to be safe,” Blevins said.
There is also a Memphis in May app that you can download that will be an interactive guide to everything you need to know.
This will be the first Beale Street Music Festival since 2019. The last two years were canceled due to COVID.