Five Reasons To Go To Soulsville USA Festival 2018

Five Reasons To Go To Soulsville USA Festival 2018

Ed. Note: Aisling is here with reasons to head to Soulsville this weekend for the annual Soulsville USA Festival. If you like music, Memphis culture, or want to honor the legacy of the late Aretha Franklin, you'll be here this Saturday, Oct. 2o. It's totally free, too. 

Unless otherwise stated, all photos by Malik Tha Martian, courtesy of Soulsville USA and used with permission. 

This Saturday, bring your 901 pride and your comfiest dancing shoes to the corner of College and McLemore in South Memphis for the  Soulsvile USA Festival. This annual blowout party, now celebrating its fourth year, will feature a full day of performances on five stages, plus food, crafts, visual arts and dance.

Last year’s festival drew about 5,000 revelers to Soulsville. The place is hallowed ground for music lovers.

  • Artists like Otis Redding, Mavis Staples, and Sam & Dave made soul jams that continue to influence musicians around the world.
  • Legends like Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White spent his formative years with childhood friends David Porter and Booker T. Jones in Soulsville.

There are so many reasons to pay homage to this part of our city’s history and celebrate our performing arts legacy and future by celebrating with your fellow Memphians at Soulsville USA. Here are five more.

1. Live Music
Enjoy incredible live music by artists from various genres, including soul, jazz, rock, jazz, gospel, and hip hop artists on five stages. Katrina Anderson, Nick Black, Izzy Moore, Courtney Richardson, Black Rock Revival, Stax Alumni Band and the LeMoyne-Owen Concert Choir are just a few of the acts you can catch Saturday.

Plus, catch the moves of the Sassy Steppin’ Seniors and performances from the Memphis Black Arts Alliance Youth Troupe.

2. Get Moving: Fun For The Whole Family

Soulsville USA festivities include all sorts of activities for the young and young at heart. Kiddos can enjoy games, face-painting and other fun activities, and there will be plenty of opportunities for movement, including interactive contemporary jookin, b-boy and stepping dance demos, and rock climbing and yoga inside Memphis Rox.

Explore Bikeshare will offer a neighborhood bike tour, too. 

3. Snacking & Shopping

About 40 vendors will be at the festival selling crafts, artwork, jewelry and other items. Nonprofits will set up tables to educate Memphians about various initiatives in the community. And several food trucks will be on site, offering everything from fried rice to MemPops. Snack, shop, learn, and support your local businesses and organizations.

4. Free STAX Museum Admission  

You’ll get FREE entry to the acclaimed Stax Museum of American Soul Music, which normally costs $13 for adults. See floor-to-ceiling cases full of albums released by Stax. See Isaac Hayes’ superfly custom-made Cadillac Eldorado with 24-carat gold exterior trim.

After exploring the STAX exhibits, gather your friends — or strangers, because this is Memphis and strangers will gladly sing and dance with you — to express yourself on the museum’s dance floor, where you can pick up some moves from the dancers in vintage Soul train episodes playing on screen.


5. Education and Community

One of the goals of the Soulsville USA Festival is to educate the public about those who have contributed to the Bluff City’s soulful music history and introduce them to those who are contributing to the city's soulful future.

Organizers have worked hard to showcase the different organizations housed in the neighborhood. Yes, you can ride a bike through South Memphis, visit STAX Museum, chat with neighborhood musicians, or hang out at Memphis ROX any day of the week, but we have an actual annual citywide holiday where we all get to do it together, and it’s pretty dang amazing.

Go There:

2018 Soulsville USA Festival

Saturday, October 20, 2018
11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Soulsville USA District at College and McLemore, South Memphis

Festival admission is free. Expect a crowd and consider getting yourself there by public transit, bike, carpool, Lyft, or your own two feet. The weather forecast is looking pretty good, with sunshine and temps in the 60s.


About The Contributor
Aisling Maki is a freelance writer, editor, and public and media relations specialist with awards from The Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists and Public Relations Society of America, as well as several awards for fiction writing. Her work has appeared in publications in more than 20 countries. You can usually find her cheering on the Grizzlies, doing outdoorsy things, or traveling with her daughter, Brídín. They live in Cooper-Young with a dog, a guinea pig and a pair of pet mice.

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Norma Jean Walker
Very Informative!!! So Excited!!! What an Awesome informative article!!! This is the place to be on a Beautiful Day!!!
October 20, 2018 1:23am