Memphis in May: Resource Roundup

Loyal MusicFest fanatics already know the ins and outs of trouncing through mud and cutting into mile-long porta-potty lines. But here are some useful hints for first-timers and veteran reminders for the 38-year-old Memphis in May International Festival.

Beale Street Music Festival (May 2 – 4)

  • The Lineup features dozens including Kid Rock, the Alabama Shakes, Joan Jett, and the mainstay Jerry Lee “The Killer” Lewis.
  • The Stage Schedule becomes your bible as you’ll be forced to make painfully difficult decisions like seeing either Foster the People or Snoop Dogg.
  • Tickets! Sellouts are possible. Single one-days start at $35+
  • Drinks? Mostly SoCo, sodas, and run-of-the-mill beer.
  • Park anywhere downtown and walk, bus, or Trolley to Tom Lee Park. Expect to pay at least $20 the closer you get. Tip: Line your floor boards with newspaper for your muddy footprints.
  • I personally take taxis. Call Omar and you can disco your way downtown with party lights and a mirror ball.
  • Rain gear: Locals call it “Memphis in Mud” for a reason. Pre-purchase some wellies because the city oddly sells out. Guys: Try Home Depot, Lowe’sOutdoors Inc., and Bass ProLadies: You have many more options; start with Target.
  • Where’s Waldo? The crowd is so dense that you WILL get separated and cell service will be dicey. I suggest setting old-fashioned meeting places and times upon arrival. And I highly recommend gaudy, blinking apparel. My crunk, Superman glow necklace reunited us last year.

Salute to Panama (May 5 – 11)

  • Brush up on your Spanish greetings because music-loving Panamanians will descend on the town expecting your hospitality.
  • Viva Panama!, the main attraction, will feature a night of jazz and Central American cuisine at the Orpheum on Thursday, May 8.

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (May 15 – 17)

  • Tip: Know that it’s mostly private tents and teams, however, if you hang around ’til the weeknight evenings and have a friendly smile, you might score an invite.
  • Want to be a judge but lack a law degree? Well, for $60, you can taste, vote, and be sucked up to by 250 barbecuers. (The judging deadline came early, but good to know for next year.)
  • The Ms. Piggie Idol Contest will take place Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m. It’s a snort-worthy revue of pop culture, satire, and elbow ribbing by the teams themselves.

Sunset Symphony (May 24)

  • The event is budget and family-friendly, and picnic baskets are welcome (more FAQs).
  • Your rite of passage to becoming a local is hearing a rendition of “Ol’ Man River” on the Mississippi at sunset.

P.S. Suffer short-term memory loss? Just download the free MIM app to your iPhone or Android.

One comment

  1. Good tips! I can’t believe that so far the weather is looking good for BSMF – it’s a miracle! Also I want to see that crunk Superman glow necklace!

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