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Here’s your guide to upcoming festivals in Memphis in 2016
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Here’s your guide to upcoming festivals in Memphis.

memphis comedy

March

  • Saturday, March 19 – Sneakfest – 12pm – 5pm – $15

First appearing in Memphis in 2014, the SneakFest Expo is the perfect hub for lovers of fashion and footwear who seek to sell or trade their current footwear or add to their collection from vendor selections. In their first Memphis expo in March of 2014, SneakFest brought out over 60 vendors and over 700 attendees, and in their second Memphis expo in October of 2014, SneakFest brought out over 70 vendors and over 800 attendees. This year, SneakFest has the potential for over 100 clothing vendors, thousands of people, and multiple food truck vendors. Tickets will also be available at the door if you miss your opportunity to purchase a presale ticket online.

  • Saturday, March 26 – MusliMeMfest – 10am-8pm – Free

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 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 probably (definitely) a karaoke session. It spans a few neighborhoods and several venues and attracts thousands of Memphians.

 

Memphis Beer

Photo: Keith Montgomery

April

Opera Memphis’ fourth annual Midtown Opera Festival takes place over ten days in April at Playhouse on the Square. It will feature two intimate chamber operas, family events, panel discussions, and a late-night cabaret in the heart of Memphis. The 2016 operas are Peter Brook’s  The Tragedy of Carmen and Maurice Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole. Additional programming presented in partnership with local institutions includes New Ballet Ensemble’s festival-inspired Springloaded, the Rhodes College Brubeck Festival’s socially challenging and musically delightful The Real Ambassadors, and a fast-paced evening of informative talks with Ignite Memphis.

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.In addition to live music and food trucks, you can enjoy family hikes at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm and a Shelby Farms Park Conservancy tour with Jimmy Ogle. The parking fee is $5 per vehicle. All proceeds help keep Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline clean and safe.

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

This year’s festival will be honoring the Republic of Tanzania with vendors, international music, and more.

Get acquainted with two of the tastiest southern comforts during the Memphis Flyer’s Bacon & Bourbon Festival at Memphis Farmers Market on April 16 at 6 pm. With 20 of Memphis’ best restaurants, you can truly experience bacon, BBQ, and bourbon. With great music and great conversation, you can savor healthy portions of various bacon and pork inspired dishes while drinking delicious bourbons, whiskeys, and more. If your 15 samples don’t quench your taste buds, a cash bar will be available with proceeds benefitting Memphis Farmers Market.

The 7th 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 on a Spring afternoon for a sampling of fresh beers of all colors, styles and tastes. Memphis Brewfest will be held outdoors at the beautiful courtyard of AutoZone Park (200 Union Avenue, the corner of Third St. and Union Ave). All net proceeds from the festival will go to benefit Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.

Each spring, the East Buntyn ArtWalk celebrates local artists and musicians with an open-air bazaar of galleries set up in the front yards and porches of the historic east Memphis neighborhood. This unique arts fair offers visitors the opportunity to visit and engage with local artists while enjoying the hospitality of East Buntyn residents. There will be a silent auction tent featuring special items from the artists, local food trucks, live music, and more. Rain date is April 17th.

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

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. 

One of Memphis’ most popular events returns Sunday, April 17, 2016 with something for everyone. 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.

Enjoy unique and local artwork, vendors, food trucks, beer, and live music to benefit the Broad Avenue Arts District. More details to come.

The Southern Hot Wing Festival is a celebration of the chicken hot wing, the drummie, the flat, flap, and everything in between. Established in 2003 by a local Memphain 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 bringing with it the warmth and the fire to usher in the Spring. The festival will be located just south of the Tennessee Visitors Center on Riverside Drive between Jefferson and Union Avenue. Jefferson Davis Park (Jefferson and Riverside) will provide lots of green space to relax and enjoy some great music while you feast on your wings.

Minglewood Hall will be hosting a big giant block party featuring Lucero w/ St. Paul and The Broken Bones. More bands, food trucks, and vendors announced soon.

  • Saturday, April 23 – V&E Artwalk – 11am-6pm – Free – Family Friendly

The fifth annual V&E Artwalk will raise money and awareness for the V&E Greenline community owned trail which travels through the heart of Midtown and the Vollintine Evergreen Community. The event will feature the work of artists from all over the Greater Memphis area. Artists will be selling their creations at affordable prices and there will be a silent auction from items donated by the artists. There will be a children’s area with art activities and bounce houses. Music by local artists will be a special treat. Several types of craft beer from a Memphis micro brewery, along with a variety of wines will be available. Food offered will include grilled sausages, side items, walking tacos, barbecue smoked for this event, hot dogs and hamburgers, and vegetarian items. All proceeds from the event will go to the V&E Greenline to keep the V&E Greenline attractive and useful for all to enjoy. Rain date is April 24th.

Enjoy a fun-filled day of Latin food from area restaurants, a tequila-tasting station, a margarita station with area bartenders competing for “Best Margarita” bragging right and prizes, cultural activities, music from around Latin America, dancing for fest goers and presentations from professionals.

 

Beale Street Music Fest

Beale Street Music Festival, Photo: James Wessels

May

Beale Street Music Festival returns for another jam-packed 3 days of music. Stay tuned for the full lineup announcement THIS Wednesday.

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.

This is the 2nd annual Midsouth Food Truck Fest at the Liberty Bowl. There will be more trucks, more activities and much more fun.

Participate in a canine costume and talent contest, a parade, training demos, food trucks, live music, and more. Located in the outback off-leash dog park at Shelby Farms Park.

Visit the Brasilian pavilion and be introduced to the largest Portuguese-speaking & Latin American nation on Earth. Experience the many cultural influences that make this amazing country Latin-Brazilian, with a unique blend of Indigenous, African, & multi-ethnic roots. Prepare your taste buds for a culinary adventure with authentic Latin as well as southern favorites from local vendors and food trucks. This is no day for a diet with Brasilian BBQ, tacos, burritos, funnel cakes and more. Interested in becoming a vendor? Please contact April Steele atapril@latinomemphis.org. Kids will enjoy fun interactive activities, arts and crafts, plus it wouldn’t be festival without piñatas, hula hoops, and a bounce house. Stop by the face painting booth and put your esta face on. From sizzling samba, breath-taking Brasilian martial arts Capoeira to festive Mariachis, Memphians will enjoy a rich mosaic of cultural performances on stage and strolling throughout the festival grounds. Do you perform? Are you from Brasil? Please contact Claudia Towell at claudia@latinomemphis.org. Soccer fanatics can show off their skills and tricks while participating in action-packed play and some friendly competition.
This festival hosts the only salsa-making competition in Memphis where teams make their recipe live and from scratch. Competition categories include Best Spicy, Best Mild and Best Decorated Table. Registration opens March 1.

The World Championship Barbecue Fest 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 28 – 901Fest – 3pm – Family friendly

Memphis in May is adding a brand new festival to their annual celebration that will focus 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. Go here to give your suggestions and enter to win tickets.

Photo: Centro Cultural

Photo: Centro Cultural

June

Centro Cultural will again partner with Caritas Village and Crosstown Arts to host their 2nd annual Tamale Fest fundraising and cultural event. The festival will take place on and around the grounds of Caritas Village at 2509 Harvard Avenue. The festival will have main stage live entertainment, a tamale team cooking contest led by local tamale-making experts, a tamale tasting tent, a kids’ activity corner, art vendors, food trucks and a tamale photo booth.

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 a little taste of Italy, right here in Memphis.  Have dinner in the air conditioned comfort of Luigi’s Café while overlooking the park and enjoying the music and people. You could also grab a picnic basket from Luigi’s Market and have your supper out in the field. Baskets are new this year. They will have numerous vendors serving everything from toasted ravioli to cannoli, along with classic festival fair from funnel cakes to Pronto Pups. Looking for a more interactive dining experience? Join one of many area restaurants conducting cooking demos in an air-conditioned Riceland Cooking Tent. The Cooking Demo tent is free to the public and you can come, sit down, watch a demo, and then sample the food.

From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. Today 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.

Photo: Archimania

Photo: Archimania

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. For 3 days 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 third biennial Women’s Theatre Festival of Memphis.

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. More details to come.

 

Photo: Moon River Festival

Moon River Festival, Photo: @coveringthecoasts on Instagram

August

Memphis native Drew Holcomb is bringing the Moon River Festival back to Memphis at the Levitt Shell. Stay tuned for more info and date announcements.

FOMOfest takes the best of Memphis music and presents it on one stage, in one day, so no one has to miss out. On any given evening Memphis offers a plethora of entertainment choices.  While much of the city sleeps our finest musicians perform–playing in small venues, late at night.  Memphis, historically famous as a music innovator and cultural leader,  continues to produce world class original music in all genres. FOMOfest’s mission is to provide a showcase for the top acts originating from and associated with Memphis. By promoting and celebrating locally originated music this will help spur the growth of a profitable, sustainable, homegrown music industry that can continue to reach out and touch the world. Stay tuned for the lineup announcement.

The 98.5 New Mix FM Southern Salsa Festival fundraiser returns to the Broad Avenue Water Tower Pavilion with a salsa cook-off to Salsa Memphis dance lessons. Local restaurants and contestants will have booths set up to showcase their salsa for free. Food and drinks will be available to purchase from food trucks and regional vendors as well as alcoholic beverages.

Join in the Queen’s entertainment and revelry and celebrate Her Majesty’s visit.  Shout Huzzah as the jousters enter into combat, join musicians in a merry song, test yourself with games of skill and chance, find familiar and exotic foods, join the nobles in courtly dance, pillage with the pirates, laugh at the jesters, be amazed by magicians, and more.  Location: Shelby Farms Park Conservancy in Memphis, TN on the Mullins Station Rd. side of the park between Gates 8 and 9.  Parking entrance is Gate 10.

Best Memphis Burger Fest is the annual fundraising event for Memphis Paws, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to creating responsible pet owners and supporting rescues and animal care organizations around Memphis. Enjoy some of the best burgers in town and vote on your favorites in several categories. More info coming to the website soon.

 

Photo: Mandy Grisham

Photo: Mandy Grisham

September

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. For those familiar with the festival, a few changes have been made to the schedule by Harwood and co-director Whitney Hardy, along with a staff of over 10 volunteers, in order to improve its atmosphere as well as prepare for their 20th anniversary next year. This year’s festival will last eight days, and rather than screening films back-to-back as they have in years past, there will be breaks between films to socialize and attend other events, such as community panels. One major addition that Harwood is particularly looking forward to is the Outflix Regional LGBT Short Film Competition. The competition is now open and will close 5/31. Go here for more info. Festival details coming soon.

On Location: Memphis is a unique film festival showcasing both local and global independent films. The competitive film exhibit culminates in the awarding of multiple awards in categories including Live Action Short, Feature, Music Video, Documentary and Animated Short. Special events include music showcases at local venues.

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. More info to come.

Jazz lovers can enjoy the 7th Annual “Pianos in the Park Jazz Fest” presented by Strictly Jazz Entertainment. It takes place at W.C. Handy Park on historic Beale Street in downtown Memphis. Gates open at 5pm. Pianos in the Park is a family affair so feel free to bring some lawn chairs, and be ready to spend an evening enjoying smooth jazz in the great outdoors.

The Mid-South Book Festival is taking over Cooper Street for a literary street fair. Shop for books, mingle with authors, enjoy the kid’s tent, and visit the festival vendors in between panels. Food trucks will be on site, and the festival is mere steps from Overton Square. The festival will kick off on Wednesday, September 7th with a Literacy Summit (a conference for nonprofit employees, parents, grandparents, and teachers.) Other events include a Well Read Reception to kick off the weekend on Friday, the free Street Fair on Saturday, and the Mid-South Book Festival Writers Conference and Student Writers Conference on Sunday.

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.

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 in January and closes July 15th. Notification for winning and selected films occurs on August 1st. The festival takes place at Malco Studio on the Square.

On Saturday, September 10th, 2016 from 9:30 to 6pm and Sunday, September 11th, 2016 from Noon to 6pm, the community will once again gather in Germantown Civic Club Complex (7745 Poplar Pike) in Germantown for arts and crafts, children’s activities, rides and games, live stage entertainment, car exhibits, community displays, the Running of the Weenies Dachshund race and festival foods for all tastes. This 2 day event is held rain or shine and for many is a long standing tradition of family fun and excitement. The Festival hosts nearly 400 local and regional artists and craftsmen, offering a wide range of unique items including jewelry, pottery, metal, woodwork, hand-stitched garments, paintings, photography and many other popular and trendy items such as purses, fabrics and garden accessories. The Children’s activities and games are always a favorite for families. Attractions include rock climbing walls, bungee jumps, inflatable moonwalks and slides as well as pony, train and kiddie rides. Children of all ages enjoy the clowns wandering the park offering balloon animals and face painting as well as the many art activities and amusements. Civic and Non-Profit Organizations will be selling mouth-watering festival food of every kind from corn dogs, cotton candy, funnel cakes to catfish, brats, BBQ and much more. Live stage entertainment is scheduled for both days and offers festival goers a chance to sit and relax or tap their toes and dance. Additionally, new and classic cars will be on exhibit at the Germantown Festival from car clubs and local dealerships. Admission to the Festival is free and free shuttle bus service is available from two free parking lots located at Union University, 2745 Hacks Cross Road, and Baptist Rehabilitation Center 2120 Exeter Rd. Germantown, TN

The Literacy Rocks! Festival is an annual festival accepting and open to all regardless of gender, race, national origin, religion, age, marital status, or disability. Their mission is to promote literacy by connecting authors primarily with avid readers, book clubs, authors and publishers.  It is held in September during National Literacy Month. At the festival you can meet, engage and network with authors, book clubs and avid readers from across the nation, purchase books to support literacy, walk the book club ‘purple carpet,’ participate in games, win door prizes, have fun in the children’s corner, attend book club panel discussions, enter essay contests to win a number of prizes and awards, and more. Friday’s event is for authors and publishers only; Saturday’s event is free and open to the public.

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

  • Saturday, September 24 – BreakFest – 10am
This festival benefits the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry which delivers food weekly via bicycles to the homeless in Memphis. There will be food competitions, live music, a bloody mary contest, food trucks, beer, and more.

Celebrate with this annual free festival, live entertainment, kids area, food and merchandise vendors at festival site at 4th & Beale St.

Gonerfest is an annual music festival hosted by Goner Records, an independent record label in Memphis. The festival showcases Goner-related bands from around the world across a diverse range of genres in conjunction with an art show featuring works by artists from all over the country. There’s also a delicious assortment of food and beer including crafts from Memphis’ very own Memphis Made Brewery.

The Bona Fide Blues Festival will take place at Overton Square. Stay tuned for the line up details.

 

October

  • October 21 – 23 – RiverArtsFest – Family Friendly – Prices vary

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.

The Cooper Young Beerfest will have over 20 brews to try during its fourth year at Midtown Autowerks.  Tickets go on sale starting September 1st. 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.

Members of the Presley family will join some of Elvis’ close friends, music artists, performers and celebrities for the Grand Opening weekend at The Guest House at Graceland. Special guests will include members of Elvis’ legendary entourage, musicians from Elvis’ original “TCB Band,” co-stars from Elvis’ movies, session players and back-up singers from many of Elvis’ biggest hits, and more. Opening activities during this celebration will be highlighted by a Guest House ribbon-cutting ceremony, red carpet VIP events and cocktail receptions, special live performances, photo opportunities and more.

Photo by Breezy Lucia

Photo by Breezy Lucia

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.

Stay updated by following Choose901 on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and Snapchat.

 

Copyright © 2016 Duncan-Williams, Inc., All rights reserved.


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