Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Save the Dates: Memphis Festivals To Look Forward To In 2018

Photo: Keith Montgomery

Photo: Keith Montgomery

With 2018 just getting into gear, here are some Memphis festivals and celebrations to keep you excited and entertained throughout the new year.

Got something to add to this list? Let us know here.

January

The annual Pink Palace “Science of Beer” festival returns once again! You’ll get to sample some of the best local professional and home brewed beers while also enjoying Memphis dinning. You can talk to the brewers in person and learn about their processes as well. On top of it all, attendees will get to take part in a scavenger hunt, beer goggle sports, experiments, and much more! This event offers a variety of ticket options including member discount, VIP, and designated driver options; all of which are available here.

  • January 12th – 14th – DreamFest Weekend – $10
    • DreamFest: The Concert
    • DOA Draft: DreamFest Edition
    • Dream Bowl (charity flag football game)

DreamFest is a weekend of events dedicated to promoting Memphis Music and artist collaboration.

The Museum is open from 8 am to 6 pm and is offering special discounts in honor of the MLK holiday. Admission is $5 all day for all ages, $3 if you bring a food donations for the Mid-South Food Bank, or FREE for you and others if you donate blood to LifeBlood.

The 8th Tennessee Equality Project Gumbo Contest presented by Hilton Memphis will be held on Sunday, January 21, 2018. TEP’s annual Mardi Gras celebration brings together teams from the Western, Middle and Eastern United States to compete for the best gumbo in Memphis. Gumbo contestants will be awarded prizes by an appointed panel of judges and by individual tasters like you in the People’s Choice competition. Official judges shall also vote for the Best Vegetarian Gumbo.

This event will showcase a set of 5, 45 minute acts of local musicians/bands while donating 75% of proceeds to the St. Jude Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis. Acts include Good Bueno Sky King, Houstn, The PRVLG, and Austin Blue. Refreshments will be provided.

  • Sunday, January 27th – Staxtacular – $175 – 7 pm to 11:30 pm

Memphis Grizzlies PG Mario Chalmers and Paije Speights will host this years Staxtacular along with special guest, Grizzlies legend Shane Battier! Benefiting the Stax Music Academy, guests will be able to enjoy a night filled with music, dancing, and of course, Food.

  • Enjoy live music provided by the Stax Music Academy and the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band.
  • Delight your taste buds with southern cuisine, special craft beer and snazzy cocktails.
  • Purchase exclusive items from our silent and online auction.

February

  • February 1st – 27th – The Morris and Mollye Fogelman International Jewish Film Festival
    • Thu, Feb 1 – 7:30pm – Malco Paradiso – The Children of Chance
    • Tue, Feb 6 – 7:30pm – MJCC Belz Theater – The Midnight Orchestra
    • Thu, Feb 8 – 7:30pm – Malco Ridgeway Four – An Act of Defiance
    • Sun, Feb 11 – 1:00pm – MJCC Belz Theater – Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me
    • Tue, Feb 13 – 7:30pm – MJCC Belz Theater – The Exception
    • Thu, Feb 15 – 7:30pm – MJCC Belz Theater – Fever at Dawn
    • Sun, Feb 18 – 7:30pm – MJCC Belz Theater – Hummus! The Movie
    • Thu, Feb 22 – 7:30pm – MJCC Belz Theater – Big Sonia
    • Thu, Feb 22 – 7:30pm – MJCC Belz Theater – Monsieur Mayonnaise

March

On Thursday, March 1st 2018 starting at 6 pm, Joe’s Wines & Liquors are set to host their 7th Annual “Passport to Oregon” wine tasting at The Memphis College of Art’s Rust Hall (in Overton Park). This is a rare chance for Memphians to taste some of the best wines from the Willamette Valley and greater Oregon. Each year has been a sellout and they expect this year to be one as well so be sure to grab tickets while you can!

  • March 2nd – 4th – Vintage901 Wine Festival – $65 to $375
    • Grand Tasting – Friday, Mar. 2 – 6 pm – 9 pm – Crosstown Concourse
    • Perfect Pairings Dinner – Saturday, Mar. 3 6 pm to 9 pm – Memphis College of Art
    • Sparkling Brunch – Sunday, Mar. 4 – 12 pm to 2 pm – Shelby Farms FedEx Center

Over three days, this festival grants Memphians with an opportunity to taste some of the the best in artisanal wines at three premier locations across the city.

Drink Memphis Made beer. Eat Midtown food. Bid on cool stuff from local businesses with all proceeds going towards Cooper-Young’s Peabody Elementary PTA to support their arts and technology. Your ticket will get you Memphis Made brews and food from Central BBQ, Sweetgrass, Mulan, Aldo’s and Celtic Crossing. Silent auction items from local businesses. Music by DJ Zac Ives of Goner Records.

Winter Jam returns to the FedEx Forum once again for one of best nights Christian music has to offer. This year, the massive line-up features rapper KB, and Grammy Nominated and Memphis based Rock group, Skillet among many others.

Black Restaurant Week (MBRW) is an opportunity for black-owned restaurants to offer dining deals to bring in new customers and raise awareness. It allows Memphis (and now the country) to support minority owned eateries.

The Memphis Comedy Festival (MCF) is a four-day celebration of stand-up comedy and the comedic arts. MCF hosts stand-up showcases, themed comedy shows, improv showcases, podcasts, informational seminars, comedy open-mics, and more. Their goal is to raise awareness to the Memphis comedy scene by developing alliances with venues and producing and promoting events. Thousands attend this festival and its a perfect event for anyone looking for a good laugh.

Based in Memphis, TN but featuring an international group of emerging artists and curators, Young Collectors Contemporary is an annual art fair featuring the collectible works of up and comers. It provides much needed and appreciated exposure for the young artists, while also providing a way for collectors to engage in events and programs to build their personal collections which supports the arts economy.

  • Saturday, March 24th – MusliMeMfest –  Free – 10 am to 7 pm

The MusliMeMfest festival is a celebration of the community and seeks to foster an interest in building bridges and to start conversation among different communities in Memphis. Funded almost entirely by generous sponsors and supported by the City of Memphis, the MusliMeMfest is free to attend but RSVP is encouraged. MusliMeMfest welcomes vendors of all types. To become an official MusliMeMfest vendor go here.

The Midtown Opera Fest returns! The line-up this year features the 901 Showcase, which is a series of original operas commissioned by Opera Memphis, all set in Memphis. Each opera is unique and features their own characters. The fest this year also features the opera The Triumph of Honor, which is a riveting story set in Italy of two simultaneous love triangles. Each opera will be preceded by a prelude talk, which is designed to prepare the audience and deepen the experience. At the conclusion of each show, the audience is are invited to stay seated for a Talk Back with the artists and creative team to learn more about the behind-the-scenes aspects.

April

Celebrate Earth Day with Shelby Farms during Down to Earth Festival where you can enjoy outdoor adventure, eco-friendly exhibitors, the Go Ape Treetop Ropes Course, and more. All proceeds help keep Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline clean and safe.

Visitors will enjoy authentic Persian food as well as multiple Persian handicrafts and exhibitions. The goal of the Persian Festival is to promote Persian/Iranian culture and bring the community together for a fun and entertaining day. The festival is also accepting sponsors and looking to connect with local businesses. Many members of the Iranian-American Association of Memphis have been living in Memphis for years and call this place home. They are very excited to use this event as an opportunity to give back to our community while promoting diversity.

Enjoy tons of crawfish, live bands all day, a kids area and great shopping in the vendor market.

Healthy Memphis Food Festival features local, diverse, and ethnic cuisines. Vendors offer specialty food items, farmer’s market items, arts and crafts, fine art, commercial goods, home and lifestyle goods and services, and quality imports. Bouncy houses, games, face painting, balloon artists and smaller attractions will be available for kids as well as live music for all. 

In only 2.5 square miles, residents in Binghampton represent over 17 different nations, making it one of the most multi-cultural neighborhoods in Memphis. Pets (on leash) are welcome and the event’s vendors feature multicultural chefs from the Binghampton neighborhood. You can also enjoy top-quality and uniquely flavorful Wiseacre beers specifically paired with your food choices.

The Harbor Town Crawfish Festival benefits The Mid-South Food Bank. Enjoy 1000 lbs of crawfish, music, giveaways, and beer specials all day long.

Join the Memphis Flyer at their third annual Bacon & Bourbon Festival at the Memphis Farmers Market as they celebrate two commonly appreciated southern traditions: hearty food & distilled spirits. They’ll be bringing together a variety of Memphis’ best restaurants and an array of distilled spirits brands as you savor a night of bacon, BBQ, and bourbon.

The 9th Annual Memphis Brewfest celebrates great American craft beer, and the finest, most exotic beers in the world. Beers, breweries and beer enthusiasts from the region will gather near the bluffs of the Mississippi River for a sampling of fresh beers of all colors, styles and tastes. All net proceeds will benefit Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.

In addition to over 18,000 pounds of crawfish, the event hosts a variety of vendors selling food, drinks, art and more. This year, they’re adding a new item: spicy boiled shrimp. A special thanks to the Riverfront Development Corporation for hosting the Festival again this year. As usual, no pets, coolers, tents, handouts, or parking inside the festival area.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. is proud to put on its 4th annual Hopped Up Festival! The event will host multiple bands (tba) and provide the best selections of beer that they have to offer.

Established in 2003 by a local Memphian who felt that the South had more to offer than just amazingly great BBQ, the Southern Hot Wing festival has become a staple event each April. Happening at Tiger Lane this year, the Hot Wing Festival will feature a wing cooking contest, wing eating contest, live bands, silent auction, free kids corner, cornhole contest and more. All to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis.

The annual Arlington in April Festival will be 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in the town’s historic Depot Square. Vendors from around the Mid-South will display handmade crafts and boutique items. Other attractions include live music and entertainment, carnival-style food vendors, kids’ activities, and more.

May

This two-day annual Greek Festival offers a unique opportunity to enjoy traditional food and marketplace items, sanctuary tours, live Greek music and traditional Greek dancing. Free Greek dance lessons are available. Advance tickets include a Greek meal and are available at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and other locations.

The Memphis Children’s Theatre Festival is the only family festival focused on the full breadth of the regional arts community. Theatre performances will also be presented by Theatre Memphis, Children’s Ballet Theatre, Cazateatro​ and Arkansas’ Momandpop Troupe. From dance based movement, aerial acrobats and music petting zoo to drawing, kid karaoke and storytelling breaks, the left side of the brain is engaged for whole child development. A Family Arts Corridor introduces attendees to community arts groups. The tented sector provides an opportunity for parents to explore summer programs while their children visit different craft stations. Every child exits with original artwork and activities to continue through the summer. First 1,000 children will receive a Children’s Theatre Festival backpack.

The Ruby Bridges Reading Festival celebrates Bridges’ legacy of passionately advocating for equal rights, education and tolerance by bringing together families across racial, economic and educational backgrounds around reading.

Beale Street Music Festival returns for another jam-packed 3 days of music. Stay tuned for the full lineup announcement on February 21st.

The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest attracts hundreds of guests every year who come to celebrate all things barbecue. Teams grill and smoke to compete for a chance at winning over $110,000 in prizes and bragging rights. Aside from the competition itself, guests can witness the popular Ms. Piggie Idol, a singing contest where participants can show off their vocal talents.

  • Saturday, May 26th – 901Fest – 3pm – Family friendly

This 3rd annual celebration focuses on all things local! This festival will include local performers on multiple stages, locals artists, local vendors, local food and beverages, and local merchants. An airshow will take place as well as a fireworks show over the Mississippi River. Full lineup to come.

Bring a blanket, take a seat on the lawn, visit with friends, listen to outstanding musical entertainment, enjoy the food, beverages and all around good time.  Enjoy Italian culture right here in Memphis.

June

It’s back! For the sixth year, A Day of Merrymaking in Overton Park brings food, art, music, and fun for families (and dogs!) to the Greensward. The hot air balloon will be returning, and they’ll be announcing other entertainment and activities in the coming weeks.

Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. There will be arts and crafts exhibitors, a car show, a kids zone, an entertainment stage, food, and more.

Sample from the city’s best margarita-makers, vote on your favorite, and they’ll crown a winner at the end of this third annual best ‘rita fest. Your ticket gets you entry to the event and 15 margarita samples from your favorite restaurants, with awesome entertainment. Food will be available for purchase.  There will also be a cash bar with full-sized drinks available. This festival, held in the Memphis’ Overton Park Greensward, is guaranteed to be awesome squared, rimmed with salt and served up chill! This is a 21+ event, and it’s rain or shine.

The premier golf tournament in Memphis returns once again to the greens of TPC Southwind. Competitors and prices TBA.

Benefiting the Exchange Club Family Center, the Germantown Charity Horse Show is proud to be hosting its 70th Annual show! This event, as always, will showcase top breeds as well as having fun exhibits and tasty food for the whole family to enjoy.

For fans of anime, this is the top festival in Memphis, and it returns once again for a weekend of cosplay, gaming, and much more!

July

The Women’s Theatre Festival of Memphis will be held in the Midtown Theatre District of Memphis, TN at Hattiloo Theatre. The festival is designed to highlight and award the contributions of women in theatre arts and showcase theatrical productions. Audiences are invited from all over the world to West Tennessee to enjoy quality theatrical performances written by women, directed by women and about women at the 4th bi-annual Women’s Theatre Festival of Memphis. It includes a red-carpet reception and ceremony, which is then followed by a play on the main stage.

Bring your chairs and blankets and celebrate years of fun on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in a beautiful park-like setting. Enjoy live music, bbq, drinks, beer, a silent auction, and more. All proceeds go to benefit WEVL.

  • Saturday, July 28th – Memphis Urban Arts Festival – 3 pm – Early bird tickets $7 – Reg. admission $15 (including meal ticket)

The mission of this two day fair is to empower young artists and educate the community on the different forms of art. The festival features live cooking demos, food trucks, vendors, and more.

August

The annual Church Health Center benefit concert is host to a ton of local music, food, and vendors.

The 41st annual Elvis week will be taking place this August. As always, it will feature fun fan receptions, exciting dance parties, a 5k, and more!

The annual Germantown International Festival will host tasty foods, exciting live performances, and more from cultures around the world.

September

Held each September, this festival for breakfast enthusiasts includes food trucks, samples, and cooking competitions in categories like Best Bloody Mary, Best Omelet, Bacon Lovers, Best Breakfast Sandwich, and more.

Outflix is a program created by the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center to encourage high quality LGBT+ cinema with accurate representations of their lives on screen in order to educate the Mid-South on what the LGBT+ community truly is. The program features an annual film festival in September with year-round events leading up to it.

The annual Delta Fair is set to return once again with its iconic assortment of rides, live shows, food, and great musical performances. Line up and dates TBA.

Celebrate with this annual free festival that is now a 3 day event featuring live entertainment, kids area, food and merchandise vendors, a brunch, and more.

Open to students in grades 7 – 12 and 2016 high school graduates from Memphis and surrounding area: Shelby County (TN), DeSoto County (MS), Crittenden County (AR), Tipton County (TN), Fayette County (TN), Marshall County (MS), and Mississippi County (AR). Submissions close August 1st.

Each Labor Day Weekend the Center for Southern Folklore produces the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival.  It is the Center’s signature event.  With urban Memphis as the backdrop, they showcase and celebrate the music, culture, arts, and rhythms of the Memphis/Delta region.

Thousands come back annually to Memphis to cheer for Tennessee State University and Jackson State University, lively tailgate parties, to tee off in the celebrity golf tournament, for a glimpse at women’s fall fashions, and to experience music made in Memphis and other familiar rhythms. The greatness of the SHC rests on how it connects kindred spirits – young and old – in celebration of the beauty of cultural diversity and the richness of the city’s heritage. 

This annual festival is a day of music, artwork, vendors, food, and more. Stay tuned for the music lineup announcement.

The Unreal Film Festival is a Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genre film festival with categories for both short and feature length films. Opening for entries is now open through June 15th. Notification for winning and selected films occurs on August 1st. The festival takes place at Malco Studio on the Square.

Come out to the Memphis Japan fest to experience the incredible culture of Japan right here in Memphis! The day will be filled with great food, music, dancing, martial arts, and more.

October

The 46th annual Pink Palace Crafts Fair is the largest juried arts and crafts fair in the Mid-South and will include plenty of shopping, demonstrations, food, entertainment, and family activities.  Advance tickets are available at the Pink Palace box office at discounted prices.

The Cooper Young Beerfest will have over 20 brews to try during its fifth year. Each ticket comes with a mug and all you can drink beer samples. Every ticket holder must be 21 years of age or older with a valid ID. Designated drivers will get in for free, but must be 21 years or older with a photo ID. No pets or children will be allowed at the festival. Brewers from across the country will come to Memphis to serve beers to you alongside some local favorites.

Memphis is celebrating its culinary excellence by showcasing exceptional local chef talent and welcoming acclaimed regional and national chefs. Enhancing this lineup will be vintners, certified sommeliers and wine enthusiasts. While festival goers sample from the best, they will also enjoy a buffet of blues, jazz and rock ‘n roll. This event will benefit the FedExFamilyHouse. The FedExFamilyHouse is truly a home away from home for out-of-town families with children receiving treatment at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

This event takes place in the historic Soulsville USA district on College & McLemore. Enjoy live music, dance demos, kids activities, food and craft vendors, a rock climbing wall, face painting, and more.

The Mempho fest at Shelby Farms was a great success. Look for it to return some time this October with a line-up and exact date announcement soon.

Travel back to the time of Queen Elizabeth 1 by attending the Mid-South Renaissance Faire. Enjoy eating a giant turkey leg, browse the merchant rows, take in the performers, “sail the seas” with the Mid-South Buccaneers, and cheer on your favorite jouster on horseback!

RiverArtsFest is a street celebration of original fine arts, real Memphis music and great southern food with attractions and activities for all ages. More than 170 fine artists from around the country gather to exhibit and sell their latest original works in what’s become the largest outdoors juried artists market and urban street festival in the Mid-South.

November

Indie Memphis connects and inspires indie filmmakers and film-lovers all over Memphis. The year-round organization is best known for its annual Indie Memphis Film Festival presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., which transforms the city into a connecting point for filmmakers, musicians, artists, and audiences. This festival brings a broad range of independent features, documentaries and short films to Memphis from all corners of the country. More details to come.

Get your holiday shopping done early at this free curated exhibition and sale of handmade arts and crafts from over 80 talented local craft vendors. Enjoy handmade arts and crafts, shopping opportunities, as well as a great selection of beers available for purchase.

December

  • Holiday/NYE events TBA in November

Got something to add to this list? Let us know here.