Tips and Tricks: Memphis In May Beale Street Music Festival

Tips and Tricks: Memphis In May Beale Street Music Festival

Update March 19, 2020: All Memphis In May events for 2020, including Beale Street Music Festival, International Salute to Ghana, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Great American River Run have been postponed until fall 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 27, festival organizers will announce new dates for the event and also provide information on refunds.


Ed. Note: Contributor Baylee Less is here with 9 tips and tricks to make the most of Beale Street Music Festival 2020.

If you want to know more about the bands playing this year's Memphis In May music fest, she's already done the research for you: check out the Who Is Playing At Beale Street Music Festival? Guide

Top photo by Sean Davis. Below photos by Joey Miller. 

Memphis is still in the middle of winter right now, but we officially can’t wait to groove, clap, and schvitz our way through Memphis In May's Beale Street Music Festival 2020. In honor of the lineup announcement this week, here’s your comprehensive guide to one of our favorite weekends of the year.

The Nitty Gritty

Beale Street Music Festival 2020 is slated for May 1-3, 2020 (new date TBA) in Tom Lee Park in the heart of downtown Memphis. Read the list of bands and musical acts here.

Tickets are on sale, and you can purchase GA three-day passes starting at $145 and VIP experience packages starting at $699. Add the official BSMF poster to your ticket checkout for $30.

Beale Street Music Festival single day tickets are on sale as of February and are $65 with fees. 

If you’re coming into town for the event (and you should!) be sure to check out our guides to Where To Stay In Memphis, the Memphis Cheat Sheet for food and recommendations for things to do, the list of 100 Places To Go In Memphis, and Late Night Eating In Memphis.

Tips and Tricks

We've been before, and this is what we've learned to make the most of Beale Street Music Festival:  

1. Plan ahead. Know the map (released in April 2020) and schedule (detailed schedule comes later) and know it well. Download the Beale Street Music Festival app (new version released in March) so you can stay well-informed regarding weather updates, delays, stage changes, or even emergency notices.

2. Follow BSMF on social media. You can stay current with announcements and surprises, like last year's surprise Miley Cyrus and Marc Cohn duet: BSMF Facebook, BSMF Instagram, BSMF Twitter.

3. Try the South entrance. It's usually a quicker, less crowded way to enter the Beale Street Music Festival.

4. It will rain and it will shine. Prepare for all types of weather at BSMF, but also all types of fun. Wear sunscreen, rock comfortable shoes that can get wet (think boots or sneakers, not flip flops or heels), and pack a poncho.

5. Know what to bring, and what not to bring. In addition to your ticket (be sure not to forget that), other items we suggest bringing include: a blanket for lounging, plastic baggies to cover valuables in case of rain, and a photo I.D. if you are over 21. Memphis in May lists items that are not allowed in the festival on their information page. The festival only allows clear bags, and keep it on the small side. 

6. Print your ticket. BSMF requests that all attendees arrive with a printed ticket to guarantee a smooth check-in process. It’s a challenge for their scanners to read phone images, so don’t be the person to hold up the line.

7. Hydrate. You can bring a factory-sealed water bottle or CamelBak for hydration, and easily refill at the complimentary water stations throughout the park.

8. Get a re-entry stamp if you leave. Every festival-goer is granted one exit and re-entry to the BSMF grounds, so don’t stress if you forget a necessity at home or need a nap in the middle of the day. But make sure you receive your re-entry stamp before leaving the park.

9. Take a Lyft. As an official partner of BSMF, Lyft has three designated pickup locations near each exit of the festival. If you can't get through online (which is bound to happen; the cell network is overloaded and dysfunctional every year) see if you can't walk a few blocks away. (Ed. Note: My move is to walk to Beale Street proper, Main Street, or South Main for a nightcap after the festival and let the Lyft/Uber surge pricing—and there will be surge pricing—die down.) 

About The Author
A born and raised Memphian, Baylee Less recently returned to her roots after her four-year hiatus at the University of Maryland. A contributor to I Love Memphis and Memphis Travel, she is excited to share the reasons she’s always loved Memphis. She enjoys live music, Asian food, and being outdoors. Follow @bayleeless on Twitter for updates about being vegan in the land of barbecue.

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kenneth randolph
Just moved here from Philadelphia via Atlanta Georgia, I transfer here with the railroad Canadian National, would like to be kept in the loop about the city
February 13, 2019 1:16pm

Holly Whitfield
Welcome to Memphis, Kenneth! You can subscribe to the blog here: Thanks!
February 13, 2019 1:20pm

Jerry wortman
Keep me in the Beal Street Blues info, please! Nothing like good ol blues!
April 19, 2019 4:29pm