MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Music fans will have to wait another year to hear great live music along the Mighty Mississippi during Memphis in May. The 2021 Beale Street Music Festival has been canceled. Music Fest 2020 was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, so is Music Fest 2021.
Memphis in May President Jim Holt says many spring music festivals around the county are canceling their 2021 events or moving them to the fall. He says waiting until 2022 to host the next Beale Street Music Festival, and canceling other events, has been difficult.
“We have a very dedicated board of directors,” he told WMC Action News 5, “We’ve reduced our staff from 14 to 5. And I’ve got 4 very, very determined employees and staff members who have 6 or 7 decades of experience with the organization, and we’re committed to make sure Memphis in May endures for another 40 years.”
The Memphis in May World Championship Barbeque Contest will take place in 2021 on May 12-15, with COVID-19 protocols. Fewer teams will participate, and they’ll have larger booths to allow social distancing. Masks will be required.
And daily attendance will be limited to 30 percent capacity of what previous BBQ fests accommodated in Tom Lee Park. The Miss Piggy contest won’t take place, and there won’t be a Patio Porkers division next year.
Memphis Tourism president Kevin Kane says not having the music fest is a big economic loss for the city, but tourists will be wowed, he said, when they do return to the Bluff City.
“They’re not going to recognize Memphis when we get open for business again,” Kane said, “Our airport’s going through a $300 million transformation. The convention center is a month away from finishing a $200 million renovation and expansion. You won’t even recognize the building inside or out.”
Kane also mentioned all the hotels being built that will provide nice, new accommodations when tourists visit Memphis.