Last Saturday, June 7, at the Levitt Shell was the first annual Moon River Festival and it could not have gone better! Over 3,000 people showed up with blankets, folding chairs, or hammocks for a day filled with good music, good food, good beer, and good people. The festival was the brain child of Memphis product Drew Holcomb and featured performances from Drew, his wife Ellie, the Dirty Guv’nahs, Judah and the Lion, Holly Williams, Will Hoge, Rob Baird, and Dwan Hill as well as Memphis locals DJ Radski, Idle & Wild, Myla Smith, Apollo Almighty and alumni from the Stax Music Academy.
The event also featured beer by local brewery Wiseacre and food from Central Barbecue and Chiwawa. As the day progressed it seemed as though it would storm at any second and yet in a funny twist of fate, the storms waited until a few songs into Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors’ set which closed out the evening. The show was not cancelled, only delayed and as a testament to how just how much of a success the festival was, almost no one decided to leave but stuck it out for the rest of the set. The night wrapped up with the whole crowd singing along to the song “Moon River” as the stage lights turned blue and the band was joined on stage by many of the other acts.
The day was a success not only for the people in attendance, but for charity as well. Portions of the money made from the festival went to St. Jude, the Soulsville Foundation, and the Levitt Shell. Hopefully for everyone involved, the event will continue for many years to come!
Follow Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors on Facebook and be sure to pick up the acoustic version of Moon River they recorded for the event on iTunes, proceeds from which will benefit music scholarships for Memphis’ Soulsville Charter school.