Get Arsty At The 2023 River Arts Festival

Get Arsty At The 2023 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. 21 and 22 features 200 arts and crafts vendors, live music, artist demos, and more. Contributor Daniel has all the details. I've added some updates pertaining to this year's festival, but it's all still in the lovely words from Daniel.

Get your artsy souls ready—Memphis' largest fine arts festival, River Arts Fest, is back for its 17th year!

river arts fest along the river
 River Arts Fest Memphis on Riverside Drive. 

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.

More Than 200-Juried Fine Artists Participating

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 2023 will feature original works in painting, photography, ceramics, glass, wood, drawing, jewelry, metalwork, sculpture, and more. 

Two Stages for Musical and Theatrical Performances

In addition to the artists market, the festival will also feature a variety of musical acts on their main stage, including Jeff Hulett Trio, Graham Winchester, Alexis Jade & the Gemstones, Tennessee Mass Choir, and many more! Expect to meet some strolling musicians and performing artists along the festival as well.

This year, the festival will have the ARTSmemphis Performing Stage featuring performances by Hattiloo Theatre, Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group, and lots more amazing groups.

Immerse Yourself into the Arts

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 at Work" stations, which will feature demos for glassblowing, pottery, painting, woodturning, 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.

Go There:

October 21-22, 2023
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Ticket Info:
$10 - General Admission
$5 - Ages 65 and up $5 
$5 - Veterans and Active Military
$5 - Children ages 6 to 18
Free for children ages 5 and under

Find the festival on Riverside Drive, between Jefferson St. and Beale St. Entrance locations include Jefferson Avenue, Court Avenue, Union Avenue and Beale Street. The City is blocking off the street to make way for the festivities typically starting that Thursday before the festival.

Photo by Alex Shansky

A Few More Notes

-Leave pets at home along with coolers and alcoholic beverages

-Most artists accept credit cards; but some may require cash (there's no ATM on site)

For even more info, visit:

Originally published in 2018. Updated for 2023.

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