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Beale Street Music Festival

Beale Street Music Festival

The three-day Beale Street Music Festival is actually the kick-off event for Memphis in May, a month-long, multi-festival event that has been running for forty years and includes events like World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Great American River Run 5K and Half-Marathon.
Though it’s not a blues festival per se, it would be impossible to ignore the rich musical heritage of BSMF’s setting. A former hangout of the likes of Louis Armstrong, Memphis Minnie, B.B. King, and Rufus Thomas, the blues tradition that grew up on Beale Street developed into a genre all its own, known fittingly as “Memphis Blues.” Numerous songs—such as “Beale Street Blues” by W.C. Handy and “Furry Sings the Blues” by Joni Mitchell—have name-dropped the location in their lyrics, making it only appropriate that a music festival be staged here.
 Add in the iconic Mississippi River complete with passing steamboats as a real-life backdrop, and you’ve got a festival that’s rooted in history and full of some of the best contemporary music around.