A trip to Memphis is an exciting adventure any day of the year, but if you're lucky (or plan your trip accordingly), you might stumble onto one of the city's many exciting festivals, concerts, or events. These demonstrate Memphis at its finest: many feature the city's most delectable food and drink, rockin' local musicians, and coolest resident artists. Whether you're looking to listen to some music, chow down on something tasty, or just enjoy a beer and explore, here are the coolest festivals in the city!
The first major festival of the season is Overton Square’s Crawfish Festival. Madison Avenue is shut down and turned into a Mardi Gras-style party that would make New Orleans proud. 4,000 lbs. of crawfish and other Cajun food are available for you to enjoy, and you’ll also find arts and crafts, fun for kids, live music, and tons more.
We can’t talk about Memphis’s most important events without mentioning Memphis in May. Lasting almost the entire month and encompassing several major festivals, celebrations and concerts, it’s a huge event with something for everyone.
The first happening is the Beale Street Music Fest, which occurs early on in the month at Tom Lee Park. Over three days, 66 artists perform across five stages. And there’s more than just great tunes here; you can also find tons of food vendors serving up everything from BBQ (this is Memphis, after all) to deep-fried everything!
During mid-May, the World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest occurs, also at Tom Lee Park, featuring teams competing to make the best barbecue and win the top prize, along with the wacky Ms. Piggy Idol competition.
And at the end of the month, the newly-instated 901Fest happens. This event is all about local pride: the best local musicians, artists and food vendors come together at Tom Lee Park to celebrate the city. It all ends with an epic air show and fireworks display over the Mississippi!
And there’s more to Memphis than just music and BBQ; beer-lovers come from all over to attend Wiseacre Brewing Company’s Taste the Rarity Beer Festival. A ticket to the end-of-May event gets you access to incredibly sought-after and delicious beers from breweries across the country, live music, food trucks, backyard games, and tons more. The chance to mingle with other beer-lovers and taste some of the rarest and most interesting beers around is definitely a recipe for a good time.
The best way to end the summer is at late-August’s Best Memphis Burger Fest at Liberty Bowl Stadium. Sample burgers from local teams competing to win prizes, or buy full burgers from one of the many vendors. There’s also a cornhole tournament (for those who want in on the competition but aren’t skilled at the grill) and, of course, plenty of live music. The best part? Proceeds benefit Memphis Paws, Inc., a non-profit promoting responsible pet ownership, animal care and rescue organizations around Memphis. Aww!