Memphis in May International Festival released dates and venues for the organization’s 2024 festival events.
The 2024 Beale Street Music Festival will be paused and will not take place. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will be held at Liberty Park May 15-18, 2024, and the Great American River Run, will be held Downtown Memphis, on May 25, 2024.
In 2023, attendance at the Beale Street Music Festival suffered a significant decline, with attendance at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest dropping as well. As a result of multiple factors, including attendance decline, the organization reported a record financial loss of $3.48 million from the 2023 festival operations.
The programming changes for the 2024 festival events were due to the significant financial loss in 2023, challenges producing the festival in the new Tom Lee Park, and the uncertainty surrounding a lawsuit filed against the festival by the Memphis River Parks Partnership.
The Beale Street Music Festival is being paused in 2024 to explore all options to present an event in the future that meets the standards and authenticity expected of the brand. “Obviously, Memphis in May has built a very authentic brand beginning with the name and location of the music festival,” said James L. Holt, President & and CEO. “With a pending lawsuit and the event now unwelcomed in the new Tom Lee Park, future Beale Street Music Festivals will face fundamental challenges.”
Memphis in May is a non-profit civic and cultural festival that exists for the benefit of the citizens of Memphis. For nearly 50 years, it has brought the world to Memphis attracting millions of people in attendance, generating over a billion dollars in economic impact and tens of millions in tax dollars for the city of Memphis.
Al Gossett, 2024 Board Chair said, “We have proudly presented the Beale Street Music Festival as a world-class entertainment event for nearly half a century. Our board’s decision is to not disappoint or underdeliver against the high standards and expectations of fans and supporters of this city’s largest annual event and signature music festival.”
The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will be returning to Liberty Park, which has hosted the event on two occasions in the past.
Earlier this summer Memphis in May announced a partnership with the Greater Memphis Chamber to manage the festival’s International Salute program. The Memphis Chamber selected France as the 2024 honored country with programming focused on economic development.
Dates for Memphis in May 2024 are World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest at Liberty Park, May 15-18, Great American River Run, in Downtown Memphis, May 25, 2024.