Get Arsty At The 2019 River Arts Festival

Get Arsty At The 2019 River Arts Festival

Ed. Note: It's a Memphis tradition, and this year it's blocking off Riverside Drive again! The River Arts Fest on Oct. 26 and 27 features 200 arts and crafts vendors, live music, artist demos, and more. Contributor Daniel has all the details. 

Get your artsy souls ready—Memphis' largest fine arts festival, River Arts Fest, is back for its 13th year!

River Arts Fest Memphis on Riverside Drive. Photo by Alex Shansky.

Featuring nearly 200 fine artists from across the nation, live music, and hands-on activities on the banks of the Mississippi River, this year's River Arts Fest will again be one for the books.

River Arts Fest is one of my (Daniel's) personal favorite festivals in Memphis. The festival is designed to cultivate the arts community in our city—profits from it go back into growing the festival and supporting various education initiatives throughout the year.

Photo by Philip Murphy. Courtesy of RiverArtsFest.

Thousands of people attend every year to delight themselves with the amazing work artists from across the country put on display and to, hopefully, bring home some new one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Others just go for the people-watching experience, which is perfectly fine too.

With more than 200-juried fine artists participating, the artists market of RiverArtsFest 2019 will feature original works in painting, photography, ceramics, glass, wood, drawing, jewelry, metalwork, sculpture, and more. 

In addition to the artists market, the festival will also feature a variety of musical acts on their main stage, including Avon Dale, Tennessee Mass Choir, Joyce Cobb, Misti Rae,Dueling Pianos, and many more! Expect to meet some strolling musicians and performing artists along the festival as well, including performances by Ballet On Wheels, Opera Memphis, Danza Azteca, and other local organizations.

The little ones (and even the not-so-little ones) will be able to showcase their own artistic abilities at the festival’s "Hands on Arts" interactive station. And if you'd rather just see how professional artists create their masterpieces, then make sure to check out the "Artist in Motion" stations, which will feature demos for papermaking, pottery, painting, and more. 

Photo by Justin Fox Burks

If you are like me and associate fine art with fine wine, the "Arts Bars" throughout the festival will have you covered with specialty cocktails, beer, and wine. Various food vendors will be on site too.

Find the festival on Riverside Drive, between Jefferson and Beale. The City is blocking off the street to make way for the festivities:

Photo by Alex Shansky

As part of the celebration, the festival will offer FREE entry after 5 pm on Saturday, October 26.

A few more notes:

- Leave pets at home along with coolers and alcoholic beverages
- Most artists accept credit cards; but some may require cash.

For even more info, visit:

Go There:

RiverArtsFest 2019
Riverside Drive, Jefferson Avenue to Beale Street

River Arts Fest Memphis Hours and prices:

Saturday, October 26, 2019

10 am to 5 pm — $5 per person
5 pm to  9 pm — free
Children 10 and under FREE

Sunday, October 27

10 am to 5 pm — $5 per person
Children 10 and under FREE
"Race for the Cure" participants receive free entry with race bib

Originally published in 2018. Updated for 2019.

About The Author


Daniel Bastardo is a Venezuelan scientist at St. Jude with a genuine love for Memphis. He is a runner and social media enthusiast who is passionate about all things local. Find him on all social media outlets as @dbastardo27.


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Hope they move RiverArts back to South Main in 2019. Just didnt have same feel as on South Main. River is nice but on that hot asphalt with no green space, it didnt have the artsy, friendly, inviting, diverse & interesting atmosphere of South Main. Felt very closed in & crowded. Seemed like fewer booths. I like seeing artists fro outside the are but it's also disappointing to see so few Mid South arists represented. And the food choices were minimal. Where were all our great local food trucks? Also no provision made for handicap parking.
October 28, 2018 6:57pm

Holly Whitfield
Thanks for reading and commenting, Candace. I'd reach out to the organizers directly to be sure that your feedback is received. I know that construction prevented it from taking place in its usual location this year.
October 29, 2018 1:04pm