May is quite possibly the best time to visit Memphis. It's finally warmed up & Memphis in May is back!
Memphis in May is a festival we have been celebrating here in Memphis for many years. Each year a different country is selected for us to celebrate. People representing that country are brought to Memphis to share their culture with us. For 2005 we are celebrating Ireland.
The month long festival starts out the first weekend in May with the Beale Street Music Festival. It's a 3 day music festival with 2 main stages & a few others. You will find not only very popular well-known bands, but also a few unknowns. This music festival offers music from many different genres & they're all brought together to celebrate Memphis in May. You can buy 3-day passes in advance, but they always say "Once it's May, the deal goes away." It's a better deal than buying 3 one-day passes. The Beale Street Music Festival actually takes place in Tom Lee Park overlooking the Mississippi River.
One weekend is dedicated to the Barbecue Festival. There is a BBQ cooking contest, and there are tons of groups that enter. You can enter as an amateur or representing a BBQ restaurant as a professional. As far as I know they don't sell the BBQ after the contest is over, but if you know someone who is in the contest, they may invite you to come & join them after the contest is over so you can try some of theirs.
The last weekend of Memphis in May is when they have the Sunset Symphony. I've never been, but I've heard it's really nice.
There are many other activities involved in the Memphis in May International Festival. You can look them up on their website.
Thanks to my dear friend Steve, (NC_Ziggy here on Virtual Tourist) for sending me some wonderful photographs of Elvis in concert. These photographs were taken approximately 6 months prior to the legendary performer's untimely death. These photographs are rare indeed, as Vernon Presley is also in attendance at the concert in Charlotte, North Carolina. His Father is standing right in front of the stage, clearly Elvis' biggest fan. It is very heartwarming to see the joy and pride in both of their faces as Elvis performs.
Please visit Steve's Memphis page for a rare glimpse back in time at the life of a world legend. VirtualTourist.com - NC_Ziggy's Memphis Travel Page
If you would like to listen to some of your favo(u)rite Elvis songs right now, (or later) please visit the Elvis Jukebox website below.
If there is a particular band you really want to see try to get to the stage early before the show starts. You might have to miss something else you want to see in order to do this, or you might have to leave another show to get there early, but you can get some really great pictures.
Dress for the warm weather. Also, all bags will be checked upon entering the festival. The food will be very expensive. If you plan to stay all day there are plenty of port-a-potties, even though sometimes you still have to wait.
I used to live in a rickety old apartment across from Ardent Studios. Even though you can't tour through it, it still is a pretty cool thing to know about if you're a music fan in memphis. One of the premier recording studios in the world, you know it is first rate. Sometimes I would see people going in and out of the studios and wondering if they were recording. Check out the website to see who's recording. Usually they will play local gigs while they're there. I wish I had seen Jeff Buckley but I was out of town. Sadly, it was while he was recording that he tragically drowned in the Mississippi.