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Memphis Magic: Three Locals Take on the Riverbeat Festival

Photo Credit: Miles "Good Hippy" Thomas

Riverbeat just happened, and it was a blast! We rounded up some of the coolest Memphians in the city to reflect on their experiences. The voices of Memphians matter, and we’re bringing them straight to you. Dive into their unique perspectives and discover how this musical extravaganza rocked the heart of the 901! ⇣ 

Highlight #1

Festival Highlight? 

It would have to be just walking around and seeing beautiful people everywhere. The smile on my face when I ask if they are from the city and they tell me how far they’ve traveled to come to Memphis! 

Favorite Local Act?

Talibah Safiya. I feel like every time I see her performances, she elevates higher and higher into her artistry. Everyone in the crowd are on the same frequencies, you could literally feel it in the air as Talibah performed from her latest album, “Black Magic.”

Why is it important the 901 hosts experiences like Riverbeat? 

It’s a part of elevating local artists to the next level and giving them tools to grow and go on to do even more. If an artist isn’t uplifted in their own city, it could really bring the overall morale down. Having local artists at festivals like Riverbeat ensures that the Memphis culture isn’t lost throughout the festival and gives people a chance to hear some home-grown music.

A man in a dark shirt and cap sits at a table with a microphone at the Riverbeat Festival, flanked by two large portraits in a dimly lit room.
Kamien Bell
Media Manager at TONE & Videographer

Highlight #2

Festival Highlight? 

This is a two-parter. 1. The renovations of Tom Lee Park mixed with the overall aesthetic of RiverBeat (lights, visuals, stage set-up, etc.) brought a breath of fresh air to the riverfront experience. 2. You could really feel the intentional curation of local talent; seeing them on the big stage like that felt like a win for future performers too.

Favorite Local Act?

Seeing Lawrence Matthews and Talibah Safiyah back-to-back was a true treat. They are both so raw with the way they share their artistry, and we—as Memphians—are lucky to be able to elevate and empower them. That, and they shared the love with even more hometown heroes: Uni’Q, Idi X Teco, Vo, Marcella Simien, Yella P… Everybody did they thang.

Why is it important the 901 hosts experiences like Riverbeat? 

Music experiences like this matter because Memphis is a music city. It’s an avenue for communication across communities. Now, the accessibility aspect for something like this needs to be addressed, but the bottom line is festivals like this create a lane for local industries to thrive.

A joyful woman with braids and glasses making a peace sign with her hand at the Riverbeat Festival, against a plain background.
Shelby Smith
Manager of Communications & Marketing at Overton Park Shell

Highlight #3

Festival Highlight? 

The highlight of the festival was for sure seeing the city out in Memphis and everyone just being excited for something new!

Favorite Local Act?

Favorite local act was definitely 8ball&MJG, it’s all classics and reminds me of chilling with my pops on the weekends!

Why is it important the 901 hosts experiences like Riverbeat? 

I honestly think we are the city of soul, it’s important for us to have these experiences because this city loves music, and we need continued positive events where the city can truly show the melting pot of local creativity that it is and truly show how dope we can be when we all our together enjoying our city.

Young man with dreadlocks holding a camera, standing in front of a colorful abstract painting at the Riverbeat Festival, photographed with a vintage filter.
Miles "Good Hippy" Thomas
Local Creative/Digital Content Coordinator at Choose901

That’s a wrap on our Riverbeat Festival recap! We hope you enjoyed exploring the event through the eyes of some of our city’s most dynamic voices. Don’t miss out—stay tuned for more insights and stories, as we continue to bring you the best of Memphis through the perspectives of those who know it best. More recaps from real Memphians are on the way!

Get more of memphis here ⇣

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