Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

A Local’s Guide to Spring & Summer Festivals in Memphis

Photo: Memphis Flyer Summer Cocktail Festival

Festival season is in full swing! From food to fashion and music to mushrooms, there are a number of local gatherings going down—and we want to make sure you know about ’em all.

Take a look at all the festivities:

AUGUST

When the streets are filled with the sweet smell of hot wings, terrific music and entertainment that the whole family can enjoy, we know it’s Memphis Hot Wing Fest! Hosted at Tiger Lane as a benefit for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis, there’ll be plenty of grub to go around and fun for all ages to enjoy. 

 

The annual MFW puts a spotlight on the exceptional talent and swagger that exists in this city.  Emerging designers, established local talent, and major designers from other parts of the country come together to put on a packed itinerary of runway shows, special events, and some sought-after VIP shopping opportunities.

 

Talent transcends across all age groups in this city—and the Indie Memphis Youth Film Festival shows off what our youngest filmmakers are capable of! Not only do they host workshops that’ll help 7th-12th grade teens take their work to the next level, but there are screenings available where people of all ages can be proud supporters of our budding moviemakers.

Keep an eye out for passes to go on sale——and in the meantime, make sure to take note of the year-round programming they have for youth to enjoy

SEPTEMBER

If there’s one thing about Memphians, we know how to put on for our city! This free party is a chance to immerse yourself in everything that’s happening in the M, by connecting with local organizations and finding ways to plug in to all the great things that Memphis has to offer.

 

Who doesn’t love a day at the fair? The annual Delta Fair is back again at the Agricenter! You can expect the festival to provide good ole wholesome family fun and entertainment. Take a look at what’s coming to the carnival this year here.

 

Y’all wanna take about a full on Memphis family reunion. The Southern Heritage Classic has been bringing Black Memphis, and beyond, together since 1990—and the 32nd annual celebration will be no different. HBCU’s will gather, the right people will be on the grill, rivalry games will go down, and there’s even more where that comes from.

Take a look at the schedule of events

Grab your game day tickets here

 

If life’s feeling salty, why not add a little tequila and lime to go along with it! The Memphis Flyer invites you to get litty in the city during the 4th Annual Memphis Tequila Festival. Featuring 30 different types of tequila, local DJs spinning, a costume photo booth, and more, they’re setting the vibes to get you in the “spirit.”

 

Cooper Young Festival is in its 33rd year of operation, and hasn’t missed a beat since its beginning. What better way to spend a day than wandering down Cooper St. in search of good eats, impressive street vendors, and local musicians who are providing the soundtrack to our city? Oh, and it’s free!

 

Sneakfest is a space for sneaker heads to not only ball out on the latest and greatest kicks, but to meet, connect, learn, and make money moves all in the spirit of the culture.

 

The following festivals will make their return in late 2021/2022:

 

Look to the future to see what Memphis festivals are coming our way when the cooler months kick in!


Past Events:

MAY

Between the Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest, and the Great American River Run, the Memphis in May International Festival is one of the largest events this city has to offer!

Beale Street Music Festival has brought out top acts like the Avett Brothers, Cardi B, Panic at the Disco, and more star studded performers. They may be on pause for 2021, but we’re ready to see who they bring to the stage in 2022!

The World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest is next in line, bringing out some of the best grill masters to show our city what they’ve got. From ribs to pork shoulders to wings, and everything in between, you’ll want to break out the stretchy pants for this one.

And to do your body good after downing all that meat, the Great American River Run will get you on your feet! Participants have the choice between the 5K, 10K, or Half Marathon that courses past historical landmarks and overlooks the Mighty Mississippi! Did we mention that there are fireworks and post-race food and beer available, plus a grand cash prize up for grabs?!

 

If you’ve been craving pronto pups and candy apples with a side of adventure, make your way to the Bluff City Fair at Liberty Bowl Stadium. There’ll be circus performers, rides for all ages, a petting zoo, and more! Tickets can be purchased upon arrival. Make note of the discount days -> Unlimited Rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays for $10. 

 

Vintage901 is celebrating it’s 5th anniversary at the Levitt Shell with a full day spring festival featuring the best in wine, food, and music to celebrate community, culture, and purpose!

**Normally this is a three day event, but with COVID regulations, they’ve pivoted to host a one-day event with two time slots: Noon-3PM & 6PM-9PM.

 

While the full festival doesn’t take place until October 2021, Memphis Mushroom Festival, has two upcoming events to kick things off a little early as they continue their efforts to educate on and promote sustainability, healthy cooking and legalization of all plant food and medicine.

The Mushroom Fest Kickoff Event & Chef’s Tasting will feature an assortment of mushroom-centric bites with craft cocktails, local brews and a flurry of culinary activities provided by some of our favorite local chefs. Grab your tickets here.

And since you’re all about the shroomies, why not stock up on some mushroom merch at the Mushroom Fest Outdoor Pop Up Shop. There’ll camping supplies, tshirts, psychedelic hoodies,  mushroom stickers, mushroom jewelry, mushroom plushies, and more—plus a DJ will be on site spinning those beats that’ll keep the vibe right.

 

One of the most charming ways you can spend a Sunday afternoon in Memphis is cozying up to some live music, and the River Series at Harbortown Amphitheatre will bring you good vibes and views. Acting as a fundraiser for Maria Montessori School, this event brings out eclectic local and touring acts every spring and fall.

On May 22nd, Amy Lavere & Will Sexton will take the stage. Purchase tickets here.

 

This outdoor, family-friendly day out is bringing the island vibes to Brinson’s Downtown. There’ll be live reggae music, Jamaican fare, tropical drinks, and more as they pay tribute to Dancehall legend Sean Paul!

 

JUNE

Y’all ready for the most colorful weekend of the year?! Memphis Pride Fest is coming our way, and while some components may be hosted virtually, we gotta tune in and turn it out in celebration of being EXACTLY who you are supposed to be!

The Pride on Wheels Caravan will kick off at Tiger Lane on May 30th at 2PM. This event will be streamed during the virtual festivities that take place June 4-6, but we gotta give the folks something to look at! Cars, motorcycles, trucks, floats, and scooters are welcome to join in the caravan from Midtown to Downtown, so come decked out for the gawds.

Drag and Drive, happening Thursday June 3 at Summer Drive-In, will feature a movie and an hour-long show, during which some of our local queens will do their thing! Performers include : Demonica Santangilo, Will Ryder, Luna Luella, Bella Duballe, Jr Stone, Aubrey Ombre, and Justin Allen Tate. Grab your tickets here before they sell out!

The virtual festivities take place June 4-6, featuring live entertainment, serious and fun conversations, a multi-faith service, and more!

 

Because we Memphians love live music, Memphis Tourism is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the Downtown Memphis Commission, and Beale Street to bring us some for free! Get Loud is coming to WC Handy Park, with 14 talented acts that’ll take the stage starting June 5th.

    • June 5th: PJ Morton + Marcella & Her Lovers
    • June 10th: St. Paul & the Broken Bones + The Mo’s
    • June 17th: David Ryan Harris + TBA
    • June 24th: Rebirth Brass Band + Chinese Connection Dub Embassy
    • July 1st: The Wooten Brothers + Dottie
    • July 8th: Paul Thorn + Amy Lavere & Will Sexton
    • July 15th: TBA
    • July 22nd: Son Little + TBA
    • July 29th: TBA
    • August 5th: TBA
    • August 12th: Marc Broussard + Turnstyles

 

Get your best friends together and sample some of the best margs in town at the Memphis Flyer’s annual Margarita Fest! Your ticket gets you entry to the event and margarita samples from your favorite restaurants, with awesome entertainment. Food will be available for purchase, and there will also be a cash bar with full-sized drinks available. This festival, held in Overton Square in midtown Memphis, is guaranteed ​to be awesome squared, rimmed with salt, and served up chill!

 

The first annual Bluff City Balloon Jamboree, featuring a morning balloon launch, hot air balloons, carnival rides, arts and crafts, live music, and more will be held  on Maynard Way in Collierville. 

 

In celebration of diversity, acceptance, and inclusion, TriState Black Pride Music Festival is bringing folks together for a Sunday funday in Overton Park that features live music by local artists, DJ sets, food trucks, and more! Word is they’re also working to schedule events leading up to the music festival, so check our their Facebook page to see what they end up planning for the week of June 17-20!

 

Where the plant-based peeps at? It’s your time to shine! The Memphis Vegan Festival will feature all the eats a proper veg-head would appreciate, plus vendors who specialize in creating plant based health & beauty products, clothing and accessories.

 

You mean we get an entire afternoon to indulge in bloody mary’s, mimosas, summer cocktails, and brunch eats from local eateries? Sign us up!

 

JULY

The Memphis Flyer’s Crafts & Drafts Shop event showcases local artists and makers in a fun and exciting setting in midtown Memphis. Join your fellow Memphians and take over the plaza at Crosstown Concourse for a fun day of shopping local, along with fun family activities and local beers on tap!

AUGUST

Why watch a golf recap when you can go straight to the greens to witness some of the best golfers in the game go up against each other? The Fedex St. Jude Invitational is coming in hot with all the golf goodness to support the life-changing work that’s being done at St. Jude Research Hospital—and the game is only half of the experience! There’s all kinds of food, playscape areas for the kids, a premium bar for all your boozy needs and more.

Grab your tickets here.

 

Mark your calendars for one of the most notable celebrations in Memphis – Elvis Week. Each year, Elvis fans from around the world gather for a celebration of the music, movies and legacy of Elvis Presley. Elvis Week features concerts, panel discussions, dances and much more – plus traditional Elvis Week events such as the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and the annual Candlelight Vigil.

 

Cool down with refreshing sips at the season’s hottest party as the Memphis Flyer invites the city out for a day of dancing and indulging in summer-inspired cocktails from over 30 of your favorite spirits!

 

Need some new wall dressings? The Beale Street Art Crawl is bringing talented local and regional artists to the iconic street Downtown to provide a family-friendly day full of finding your next masterpiece.

 

 

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