Beale Street Music Fest 2017 Lineup Speculation

Posted by Holly Whitfield | February 2nd 2017 10309 0

This post is from 2017. If you’re looking for 2018 speculation, click here.

In the last week, Beale Street Music Festival has posted some challenging clues to help us figure out which bands are in this year’s lineup. Guesses are all over the place, but I thought if we put our heads together we could figure a few of them out. Here are the clues.

Beale Street Music Festival 2017 is May 5-7 at Tom Lee Park right along the river in downtown Memphis. Get your three-day passes here. The actual lineup will be announced a little later in February. (BSMF ruthlessly refuses to give us a date, those rascals.)

I really want to hear y’all’s attempts at figuring out these clues. I’ll be honest…I’m mostly stumped.

Clue #1: Those old VHS tapes don’t stand a chance at surviving the weekend. 

People on the Internet were befuddled by this first one. Guesses included Vampire Weekend, The Weekend, X Ambassador, and any bands with the word “magnet” in the name. My first thought was “Video Killed The Radio Star” but that may just be showing my age.

Clue #2: It can be a real pain to live in a cage, but we’ve all got brighter futures.

While the guesses were seriously all over the place for this one (seriously, everything from Smashing Pumpkins to Cage the Elephant, just because it has the word “cage” I guess), I’m feeling pretty good about “The Killers”. It could be a reference to their song “Mr. Brightside“.

Clue #3: It’s like the crimes we didn’t commit meet the childhood homes we never had.

Everyone seems to be in agreement that this one is Ben Harper. Mr. Harper’s band is called “The Innocent Criminals” and his 2014 album was called “Childhood Home”.

Clue #4: Keep dreaming, but if you don’t know the handshake then it’s best you keep out.

While the hunches on this one were hilarious (Paul Blart Mall Cop? what?!) MGMT (they have a song called “The Handshake”) seemed to be a consensus. Other guesses: Kid Cudi, Twenty One Pilots, or Gym Class Heroes.

Clue #5: It’s a furious fantasy, always having the urge to stand up like that.

Quite a few BSMF internetters seem to think this is a hint that Ludacris is coming to Memphis. He has a song called “Stand Up Like That” and was in the Fast & The Furious movies. (Oh, the things I have learned doing this research…)

Clue #6: Just because we don’t know our next road doesn’t mean it won’t take us home.

The wild mob’s hypothesis for this particular clue was The Strumbellas because of the spot-on rephrasing of lyrics to their song “We Don’t Know“. Also, this particular band is going to, like, every festival this year but hasn’t announced anything for the weeks surrounding BSMF. So it’s a safe bet.

Clue #7: Cadillacs had a different meaning when Cash found friends in Nashville.

This one is a fairly obvious clue for the Drive-By Truckers. Not only have they released a new album recently, they also have a song called “Carl Perkins Cadillac” and it’s all about Johnny Cash, Elvis, and has the line “I got friends in Nashville”. Yep.

Clue #8: The epidemic is everywhere and people are losing their minds over it.

I honestly can’t imagine this being anything but Widespread Panic.

Clue #9: It’s pitch black down there but I’ll stay close behind.

This clue sounds oddly familiar to Death Cab For Cutie’s lyrics in “Follow You Into The Dark”, and most folks on Instagram and Facebook seemed to agree.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on these bands, if they are in fact a part of the Beale Street Music Fest 2017 Lineup? Who would you like to see? Let me know in the comments.

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. Auburn says:

    If it is Ben Harper, Death Cab, and WSP it will be one of the best line-ups in years. I got my passes the day the Ben Harper clue was posted. He has concerts on everyday except Sunday, so fingers crossed!!!

  2. BSMFFAN says:

    If these are right it’s going to be an amazing lineup.

  3. veena says:

    If Death Cab and The Killers are coming, I might actually brave MusicFest for the first time in a decade. Fingers crossed!

  4. Amy Garton says:

    No Killers. That clue is for Soundgarden.

  5. David says:

    311 has got a new album coming out, sooooooo 311!

  6. KY says:

    Clue #4: Keep dreaming, but if you don’t know the handshake then it’s best you keep out.

    Project Pat “if you ain’t from my hood you can get from round here”?

  7. Cat says:

    So if you cross your theories with the vote list we should have a few strong possibilities……Ludacris, x ambassadors, Ben Harper, widespread panic, and kid cudi…….

  8. Louanne says:

    SO UTTERLY DISAPPOINTED in this lineup! I can’t believe I just spent a huge amount of money on airfare, lodging and tickets to surprise my husband … for this horrible lineup of acts. I had seen the lineups going back to 2013 and thought this would be the greatest surprise birthday for him, and now I am kicking myself. Where are the legends? I would have given my eye teeth to see several of the acts from past years, but THIS? This SUCKS! So disappointed! What a waste of money.

  9. Rick lykes says:

    I would like to see John legend,Russ freeman and the rippingtons,and the Pat metheny band.

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