Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Survival Guide to Beale Street Music Fest

Photo:. Memphis in May

The Beale Street Music Festival attracts music enthusiasts from all the nation and a dozen foreign countries to the Bluff City every year. Memphis is already the home of the blues and rock ‘n’ roll, but during the festival it is home to an eclectic mix of contemporary rock, blues, soul and modern talent .

For over a decade now, the music-inspired setting has drawn over 1.1 million fans and spread them out across multiple stages for three days. The festival is held in beautiful Tom Lee Park overlooking the Mississippi River. Just like the river, good times keep on rolling at BSMF. To ensure you get the most out of your experience, we have consulted BSMF veterans and compiled a survival guide:

1. Pack a poncho


There will be vendors there, and a few places on Main Street will be selling them as well. In case of the rain, you don’t want anything to damper your experience. Protips: Stock up on ponchos before April. Umbrellas are highly frowned upon. Sunscreen is also important for those moments of sunshine that may occur.

2. Be Shoe Smart


This cannot be stressed enough. You want to be able to stand and get involved in the crowd action. It is very hard to do so in stilettos. Nobody is going to be checking out your feet, especially if your heel is sunk. If wearing a heel is a must, it is suggested to go with a wedge. In fact, don’t take any shoes you aren’t okay with throwing away every night.

3. Bring a blanket


If you are more of a relaxed around the outside of the crowd enthusiast, a blanket is a must have for you. Lawn chairs are prohibited for safety reasons, blankets however are welcomed with open arms.

4. Bring the kids, leave the dogs at home


Friendly to beings of all ages, BSMF encourages patrons to celebrate as a family. They do however ask you leave your canines at home. It is against the rules to bring any pets. There is always great food, activities, and experiences for children of all ages. Keep in mind that strollers are not allowed.

5. Get Stamped


To leave and re-enter you must exchange your ticket for a re-entry stamp. They are very strict on this to prevent non ticket holders from entering. You might have a few hours before your next favorite band is on. Go venture into Downtown Memphis and Beale Street. There is lots to do, certainly during Memphis in May.

6. Get Programmed

BSMF wants to make sure you’re in the know and their app will have all acts listed by time and location. There will also be a map of the stages and info on food vendors. Download the app here.

7. (901)-577-7777


Program that number in your cell phone, right now. This is the number to Premier Taxi Service. Perhaps you are responsible enough to know you are not capable of driving home, or you want to stay later than your group. Either way, one can never go wrong with saving the taxi service number. There will also be cab stands located on the north and south ends of the park. Uber and Lyft are also available but you may have to pay higher fees for peak times.

8. Splurge on food


From turkey legs and grilled corn to steak on a stick, your food options will be plenty. Memphis has been voted time and time again for its delicious food. Anywhere you go downtown will not disappoint. Go ahead, splurge, and experience the festival and Memphis to its utmost potential.

9. Bring the bare minimum.


BSMF will offer you the time of your life. You want to be focused on Memphis, music, food, and fun. You don’t want the hassle of keeping up with several belongings. It’s hard to dance and crowd surf when you are weighed down with a 15 pound purse. You can’t bring food, drinks, bicycles, recording devices, laser pointers, lawn chairs, pets, roller blades, roller skates, water guns, strollers, or cameras with lenses (point and shoot cameras and mobile phones are allowed). To ensure you fully emerge yourself into Memphis and BSMF, try to pack lightly!

10. Enjoy Memphis

Memphis trolley bus

Photo: Amanda Hill

BSMF is an awesome celebration in itself. Before, after, or during enjoying the festival; enjoy Memphis as well. Take a moment and see the sites. Take a ride on the trolley. The trolleys combine Memphis’ rich past with its optimistic future as patrons are transported to some of downtown’s most notable destinations. Explore sites like The Orpheum, The Civil Rights Museum, South Main, and The Cotton Museum. See why The Bluff City is an awesome home to BSMF and yourself!

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