Hooray for May! That means our month is filled with fun festivals and events, most notably Memphis In May International Festival. The downtown riverfront will come alive with music, the world’s best barbecue competition, a half marathon and more during Memphis In May, which this year honors Canada. But MIM is just the start of all the fun that’s in store as spring blooms in the city! Enjoy!
April 29 – May 1, 2016: Beale Street Music Festival
Kicking off the entire Memphis in May celebration is a three-day music festival featuring over 65 big-name stars and local musical acts performing on 4 stages and one tent in Tom Lee Park. Performers include headliner Neil Young & Promise of The Real, Meghan Trainor, Indigo Girls, Mavis Staples and Lunchmoney Lewis. You can find the full lineup of acts and purchcase tickets: memphisinmay.org/
April 30 – May 1, 2016: IRIS Orchestra with Jonathan Biss
World-renowned pianist Jonathan Biss is touring the United States and Europe this season with a stop in Memphis where he will join Conductor Michael Stern and IRIS Orchestra for two performances at GPAC that are sure to be enthralling. For more information and tickets, visit irisorchestra.org.
May 1, 2016: Oak Hall Run for St. Jude
The annual Oak Hall Run for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of the top fundraising races for our hometown miracle-worker. Participants can walk, jog or run the 3-mile route, which winds through east Memphis and ends back in the parking lot at Regalia Center, where a big party ensues. Register online until April 29 or on race day from noon until 2:00 p.m. More information about and registration options can be found online at oakhallrunforstjude.racesonline.com
May 1, 2016: Pearl at Lafayette’s Music Room
Popular cover band Pearl plays the historic Lafayette’s Music Room from 4 – 7 p.m. There is no cover charge and all ages are welcome to hear cover songs of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Talking Heads, Badfinger, David Bowie and more. For more information, visit facebook.com.
May 5, 2016: 37th Blues Music Awards at Cook Convention Center
Definitely one of the hottest nightsin town, the Blues Music Awards, presented by The Blues Foundation, features over 100 nominees. The night will be filled with award presentations and performances in a cabaret/dinner setting at the Cook Convention Center’s ballroom. More information and tickets: blues.org
May 6 – 7, 2016: Memphis Greek Festival
The 58th annual festival celebrating all things Greek will be held at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church will feature incredible food, a marketplace, sanctuary tours, and Greek music and dancing. Satisfy your sweet tooth in the pastry shop with yummy sweets including Baklava, Spanakopita, Tiropita, and more. Advance tickets are available at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, and other locations. Learn more at memphisgreekfestival.com.
May 6 – 29, 2016: Memphis at Playhouse on the Square
The Tony Award-winning musical, Memphis, is the story of Huey, a young white DJ with an affinity for R&B music, and Felicia, a black singer with a dream to make it big, and the objections they face when they fall in love in the tumultuous 50s. Full of laughter and true Memphis soul, this Broadway smash is coming to Playhouse. Buy tickets online at playhouseonthesquare.com.
May 7, 2016: Dog-A-Roo at Shelby Farms
Bring your pooch to the Outback Off-Leash Dog Park for Shelby Farms Park Conservancy’s Dog-A-Roo Festival! There will be a wide range of activities for your four-legged friend, including contests and races, gourmet pet treats, and more! Learn more at shelbyfarmspark.org
May 7, 2016: Mid-South Food Truck Festival
You had us at “food truck”, so imagine dozens of them, all in one spot – Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium! Foodie nirvana, plus competitions and craft vendors. Bring the whole family! Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for kids ages 5-12, can be purchased here: midsouthfoodtruckfest.com
May 7, 2016: Jockey and Juleps Derby Party
Ladies and gentleman, if you can’t make it to Kentucky for the derby, you can still sport your spring finery and watch the Run for the Roses! Head to the Jockeys and Juleps Derby Party benefiting the Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy. There will be big hats, bourbon, bluegrass and a live broadcast of the 2016 Kentucky Derby. This one’s a sure bet for fun. Find tickets online: southernreins.org
May 8, 2016: Symphony in the Gardens
An evening of Big Band Music performed by The Memphis Symphony Orchestra in the Dixon Gardens – could there be any more lovely spot for magical music of a bygone era? The concert is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and you can find more information about food and seating at dixon.org.
May 9, 2016: Sally Mann at Memphis College of Art
Memphis College of Art hosts internationally acclaimed photographer and New York Times bestselling author Sally Mann for a book reading and signing event. At 7 p.m Mann will read excerpts from her recent book, HOLD STILL: A Memoir with Photographs, in Callicott Auditorium with a reception and book signing following at 8 p.m. in the Main Gallery. More information: mca.edu
May 12 – 14, 2016: World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest
Yay! It’s BBQFest time! Memphis in May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is May 12 through May 14 at Tom Lee Park. Hundreds of teams will compete for bragging rights and cash – over $111,000 in prizes, in fact. While grilling is the main theme, the contest wouldn’t be complete without the “Ms. Piggie Idol” competition, where the finest “swine” tests their vocal skills, and grown men dress in tutus and snouts. More information and tickets: memphisinmay.org
May 15, 2016: Opera Memphis Family Day
Bring the family to Clark Opera Memphis Center for an afternooon of fun and music from Opera Memphis. Pony rides and kid-friendly activities are on tap, including a special performance of Jack and the Beanstalk. More information: operamemphis.org
May 15, 2016: Mutts in May
May 21, 2016: Bugs and Frogs Family Day at the Dixon
Dixon Gallery and Gardens is home to lots of bugs, frogs other critters. Come learn more about them and their home in the Dixon environment and enjoy art, live music, healthy snacks and much more. Admission is free! More information online at dixon.org.
May 21, 2016: Sushi Class at Memphis Made Brewery
Admit it, you would love to be a sushi master – and here’s your chance! Learn the tips and tricks of how to roll your own sushi at this fun and educational class to be held at Memphis Made Brewery. The first class sold out so they added this second one. Don’t miss out, get your tickets now: birminghamsushiclasses.com
May 25, 2016: Journey and The Doobie Brothers at FedExForum
Classic American rock is headed our way as Journey and The Doobie Brothers bring the “San Francisco Fest 2016” tour to FedExForum. The lineup also includes special guest Dave Mason. Purchase tickets at any Ticketmaster location or online at fedexforum.com
May 26, 2016: Cartoonists United for St. Jude Kids
Cartoonists United for St. Jude Kids will bring well-known cartoonists to Memphis for a special evening benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Featuring a VIP meet-and-greet, cartoonists improv and entertainment, dinner and a live auction, and host cartoonists at select tables. Twenty A-list cartoonists are expected, including Bill Morrison of The Simpsons and Bongo Comics, Steve McGarry of the Minions, and Jeff Keane of Family Circus! Tickets online:stjude.org
May 28, 2016: Memphis In May’s Great American River Run and 901Fest
As part of the last weekend of MIM, the Great American River Run is the revamp of the MIM Half Marathon. The race has moved downtown, where elite runners and weekend joggers/walkers will run a course showcasing the Mississippi River. There will be live entertainment along the route, and a post-race party with music, food and beverages on the river bluff. The race is the first of two events that will become part of the festival’s Memorial Day Weekend line-up, closing out the month-long civic celebration. The second, 901 Fest, is a day-long celebration of music, food and fireworks on the river. All the info is at memphisinmay.sitewrench.com
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