First ever Mempho Music Festival receives positive reviews

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The first ever Mempho Music Festival brought a uniquely local flair to the music festival scene, which is clear when you look at the food options like Corky's BBQ.

"Oh it's nice because this is Memphis," said Larry Barnes, Pit Master with Corky's. "So you're going to need the Memphis people to come out and do the Memphis thing every time."

A crowd of mostly Memphians came out to enjoy the good music among a family-friendly crowd at Shelby Farms Park.

Festival organizers expected thousands of people to attend the event, which lasted through early Sunday morning.

Security was heightened in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting with organizers shutting down roads in the area.

Organizers have been working for months to make sure the festival goes off without a hitch.

"I think the biggest challenge is, like anything, you're doing something for the first time here at the park at this scale," one organizer said.

Click here for the full list of events at the festival.

The dancing was in full swing Friday night, and people definitely enjoyed themselves.

"This is the best event, I've been waiting all year for this event," said Tammy and Linda, who live in Memphis.

"It's amazing, man, it reminds me of Bonnaroo in Manchester," said Coletan Matkins from Memphis.

Many of the people WMC5 found are local, with Memphians making MemphoFest special.

"I live not far from here and to have this event right close to where I live, I'm so excited," Tammy and Linda said.

"You have Corky's BBQ out here, you have Mempho Pops, and Mempho, Memphis is in the name," said Latty, a DJ for 96.1.

"You know it's a great time of the year, it's a beautiful setting here at Shelby Farms Park, it's incredible," said MemphoFest founder Diego Whinegardner.

Whinegardner grew up in the Bluff City and said the inspiration for the festival came unexpectedly on a visit home.

"I was on a bike ride last summer," Whinegardner said. "I hadn't been in Memphis in a while. They put me on the green line, ended up here at Shelby Farms Park and I couldn't leave. I was here all day, I was here for the sunset and just fell in love."

After the tragedy last week in Las Vegas, the focus has been on security, but also on a feeling of healing.

"I think music brings people together like nothing else," Whinegardner said. "In this world of trouble we've got to love one another and that's what this is about."

Everyone we've spoken to has had a blast so far at MemphoFest.

The locally-based festival has brought out thousands, with locally-based food and even many local musicians.

A lot of families enjoyed the music festival as well.

"We've been taking (our son) to festivals since he was 1 or 2, so we take him to Beale Street Music Fest, BBQ Fest and the lineup was great, we came last night," said parent Matt Mulqueen. "So, we decided to come back today."

Other parents said they found this festival to be very family-friendly, calling it a great place to get outside and enjoy some great music with their children.

"That was one of our goals, to bridge the gap between the millennials and old guys like me so I had my 15-year-old, 13-year-old here last night and they were up in the front grooving and I was in the back grooving," Whinegardner said.

Six days after the horrible events in Las Vegas, a lot of focus was placed on security and we've seen a lot of officers and deputies patrolling the ground.

We're told there haven't been any significant problems so far.

"I think they're doing their job and doing a great job," Mulqueen said.

Safety was on the minds of people at the festival.

"I did have that thought as I was sitting there, but I saw on the MemphoFest site that they did a lot of extra security as a result of that to make people feel at ease, it certainly made me feel better," Martha said.

The kids were sure having a good time.

"It's just awesome," Jayden.

"Well you know it's out here in the park," Mulqueen said. "Out in nature, you know lots of room for the kids to run around."

Overall, it appeared that the first MemphoFest has gone off without a hitch and there are plans to host this festival for years to come.

"Yeah, we're just getting started, getting warmed up," Whinegardner said. "This is our first lap, it's great. And if you missed this one, sorry. Because you know everybody else is saying I was there for the first one!"

The festival ends Saturday night at 2 a.m. with a unique jam session starting at midnight that you won't get at other music festivals.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.