This was the 37th year for the Beale Street Music Festival, which is equally loved and reviled by locals for the three day party/mud pit that descends upon Tom Lee Park the first weekend of each May to kick off the city’s annual Memphis in May celebration. Apparently thousands of people drinking and dancing along the Mississippi River is a modern day raindance sure to summon the dark clouds to our fair city, because without fail it rains every year during BSMF.  This year was no different in that regard, but in addition attendees also dealt with the unexpected twist of record-breaking lows in the 30s for the first two nights. Did that discourage people from wearing booty shorts and flip-flops?  Of course not! But a music festival without booty shorts and flip flops is like a music festival without porta potties and fair food, i.e. no music festival I’d want to attend!

Often criticized for not bringing bigger acts like other summer festivals, I think people forget that BSMF is part of an annual celebration hosted by the City of Memphis. For $35-$45 a day you can see absolute blues legends and local artists playing the same stages as mainstream rock bands, modern hip-hop acts, country singers, and EDM newcomers.  Granted, some years the line-up is better than others.  This year it was particularly good, perhaps the best it’s been in awhile, which you could tell from the huge crowds that came despite the miserable weather conditions.  Messy, loud, frenzied, full of inappropriately dressed people, good-natured drunks and the scent of smoked meat in the air, Beale Street Music Festival is a Memphis experience worth the effort — just don’t forget your rainboots.

Hexbeat’s Joshua Miller, Kandi Cook, and Brandi Rinks all attended this year’s BSMF, and you can see some of their photos below!


An Arkansas girl living in Memphis, TN. I love pugs, live music, slasher movies, and absurdity. Send me photos of your favorite hot dogs.

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