Memphis In May: Festival set revenue record in 2019


Miley Cyrus performs a live surprise set to celebrate the launch of FacebookÕs new campaign, More Together at the Beale Street Music Festival Saturday, May 4, 2019 in Memphis, Tenn.(Justin Ford/Invision for Facebook/AP Images)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis In May says its festival set another record for revenues in 2019.

The organization announced that this year’s events pulled in gross revenues of $12.2 million, an increase of almost 14% over last year’s total. The 43rd annual festival broke with tradition and honored its home city of Memphis on its 200th anniversary, rather than another country.

It was the third year in a row for record-setting revenues, MIM said, and leaves the organization with a surplus after expenses of more than $630,000.

MIM said more than 107,000 people from all 50 states and 26 countries attended the Beale Street Music Festival, which had record-setting gross admissions of $4.9 million. Music fest sold out Sunday, May 5.

The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest drew 68,177 attendees and included 226 teams from 26 states and six countries.

According to an economic impact study by Younger and Associates, MIM contributed $149.1 million to the local economy this year.

A proposed project to add landscaping features to Tom Lee Park has drawn criticism from MIM officials, who say they may not be able to host festival events in the city’s riverfront park. That issue is in mediation with Memphis River Parks Partnership, the group that manages Tom Lee Park.

Mayor Jim Strickland said last month that Memphis In May will temporarily move out of Tom Lee Park to accommodate construction in 2021, but will return to the park for years afterward.

Memphis In May will honor the country of Ghana in 2020.

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