photos from Beale Street Music Festival Facebook
Beale Street Music Festival returned for its 40th year as part of Memphis in May with one of the most diverse lineups I’ve ever seen. Typically there are several factors (that have nothing to do with the music) that make a festival amazing to me, but this one was all about the music. Really good music.
Music Genre – Alternative, Rock, Hip-Hop/Rap, and GRiZ
Camping – No
Capacity – Extra Large
Crowd Type – High School Kids, Middle Aged Adults and up
Water Stations – No
For The First Timers – Do your research on exactly where the festival is at. As someone who has never been to Memphis before, let alone downtown Memphis, I spent an entire hour driving around (and constantly going the wrong way on one way streets), attempting to figure out where the festival was and where I could park. Although rooms near Beale can get kind of pricey, I would certainly recommend staying somewhere downtown within walking distance. I stayed about 45 minutes away to try to save some money on a hotel for the weekend, but ended up spending the money saved on parking. Also, this goes for my veterans just as much as my first timers. The trash was absolutely insane. I have never seen so much litter at a festival before and it was a little disappointing. We all need to do our part and pick up after ourselves. Festival grounds should never be left like that, c’mon people.
Standout Food – My personal favorite festival treat: King of Pops.
Musical Highlights – Without fail, anyone who asked me what my favorite set so far was, said, “You know, everyone keeps saying that!” upon hearing my answer. And everyone I would ask, “Who has been your favorite?” had the same answer as well: MGMT
Their performance on the Bud Light Stage Friday night was their first in almost three years, and it was like they never even left. The psychedelic rock sound they give is absolutely incredible. The visuals behind the band was unanimously described as “Trippy AF” by everyone around me. Certainly one of my absolute favorite live sets ever.
My second favorite from the weekend was one who I never thought I would ever see live: Ziggy Marley. Being a huge Bob Marley fan, getting to see his son was an honor. His beautiful dancers, those amazing dreads, and familiar voice instantly put a smile on absolutely every face in the crowd. He even sang a few of his father’s songs and my heart was full.
Things To Do – There was not much to do other than running back and forth between the four stages; but, I honestly found that I spent my entire time right at a stage anyways, so I didn’t mind one bit.
VIP or Nah – Our very important people had access to elevated, shaded, and seated viewing areas. Although I’m one that loves to jump and dance around, those shaded chairs certainly looked tempting. I’d say go VIP if you want a nice place to relax at some point in the day, but certainly not necessary as the weather was absolutely beautiful (luckily, as rain is apparently a tradition at Beale Street) and the ground works just fine to sit.
Story Corner – I’d have to say the funniest moment for me out of the entire weekend took place on Sunday. Tori Kelly was about to perform on the River Stage as I was walking around trying to find an area to go sit and enjoy her set. I’ll admit, my hair does resemble hers quite a bit, but I didn’t think it looked that much like hers. As I’m walking through the crowd, I noticed stares and heard whispers saying “Wait is that her?” At first I didn’t pay much attention because I assumed it wasn’t targeted at me. I eventually caught on that it was me and was incredibly confused until a very intoxicated lady came running up to me saying, “No way! You’re like…her!” When she pointed to the stage where the real Tori Kelly was going to be in just a few minutes, I immediate realized what all of this was about. I laughed as I took my sunglasses off and told her I wasn’t her. She cracked up as well as a few people around us. Sorry to disappoint guys. No Tori, just Alyssa. It kinda made my day though. It was quite funny.