Local Festivals

Published on September 18th, 2017 | by Brittain Thompson


Inaugural MEMPHO Music Festival Takes Over Shelby Farms October 6 & 7

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The inaugural MEMPHO Music Festival has a packed lineup featuring Grammy Award–winning artists Cage The Elephant, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Grammy-nominated Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, as well as Cold War Kids, Bishop Briggs, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Hard Working Americans, Southern Avenue among other featured performers. As a special tribute to the music of Memphis, legendary artists Steve Cropper & Friends and Booker T will present: A Stax Revue and A Journey thru Soul, Blues, and R&B.

“The roots of American music can be clearly traced directly to Memphis. The first annual MEMPHO Music Festival is being launched with a distinct purpose to pay homage to our community’s unique role in shaping and influencing global music culture,” said Memphis native Diego Winegardner, Founder and CEO of Big River Presents, the promoter behind MEMPHO.

MEMPHO will be the first major music festival held amid the natural splendor of Shelby Farms Park. Just minutes from downtown Memphis, and five times the size of New York’s Central Park, Shelby Farms is one of the largest urban parks in America and features diverse outdoor activities including biking, canoeing, zip lining, and horseback riding. With two stages of music and culinary options for every taste and budget, MEMPHO will offer attendees an abundance of great music, food and nature. The menu will of course include Memphis’ legendary barbecue, as well as a wide array of beer, wine, and cocktails.

Chuck Leavell, legendary keyboard player for The Rolling Stones and founder of the Mother Nature Network (MNN), said; “As a special advisor to MEMPHO, I’m proud to help bring one of the greatest musical cities in the world a new kind of music festival. The setting is spectacular and the talent line-up is top notch with a combination of great new artists and some established fan favorites. As an environmentalist, I’m also very pleased that everyone involved has a high sensitivity to keeping the event clean and green, and in harmony with nature.”

Anderson .Paak

Anderson .Paak

Mempho Music Festival has confirmed performers for its AutoZone Stage, which spotlights top acts from Memphis and surrounding region, and added new performers to its Main Stage. Reverend John Wilkins, a singer and guitarist in the tradition of Hill Country gospel and country-blues greats like Mississippi Fred McDowell and R.L. Burnside, headline Friday’s AutoZone Stage schedule that also includes Dan Luke & The Raid and Bluff City favorites Star & Micey and Dead Soldiers.

On Saturday, the jazz and blues sound of JoJo’s Slim Wednesday, led by Widespread Panic keyboardist John “JoJo” Hermann, culminates a day that features Marcella & Her Lovers, Devil Train, Objekt 12, Chinese Connection Dub Embassy, UTR, and local students from School of Rock.

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

In addition, Memphis’ Stax Music Academy Band will open the festival’s Main Stage on Friday. Stax Music Academy is an after-school instructional program for aspiring musicians that focuses on the rich legacy and tradition of Stax Records, once located on the same spot where the Academy now sits. 

Tickets are available for purchase here.

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About the Author

Brittain was an associate editor of The Local Voice from 2015-2018, ex-journalism student, and bad noise maker from the highway town of Brandon, Mississippi.

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