No contract in place for Memphis in May festivals to be held at Tom Lee Park in 2023, official says

Will Memphis in May return to its original location at tom lee park in downtown Memphis?

That’s a question many folks are asking after Memphis in May officials made an announcement Thursday.

Some people are looking forward to having the annual festival back in its original location. They said one of the reasons why they didn’t attend last year’s festival at Liberty Stadium was because the location was too small and it wasn’t the same.

“Are you guys excited about Memphis in May returning to the river this year?”

“Yes finally,” said a University of Memphis student.

It’s something many folks have been waiting for.

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Memphis in May organizers announced Thursday that the Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship BBQ cooking fest will return to its original location next year at Tom Lee Park.:

“We hope that it’s going to be downtown,” said John Vergos Rendezvous co-owner.

The Memphis in May board chair Leigh Shockey said,

“Mayor Strickland recognized the cultural value and impressive economic impact that Memphis in may delivers for the city of Memphis, and we are grateful for his personal leadership to ensure the festival’s return to our long-term home.”

But it’s not a done deal yet.

According to a spokesperson for the Memphis River Arks partnership, there is no contract in place for the Memphis in May festival to be held downtown.

Last year, the annual event was held at Liberty Park due to construction and renovations at Tom Lee Park.

RELATED: Memphis in May reports loss of $1.9M, low attendance after move to fairgrounds this year

Memphis in May organizers said they lost nearly $2 million because they had a low attendance rate.

“The space they were using Tiger Lane was a lot smaller and it took away from the experience of being downtown by the river for the music festival,” said Jessie Navors, University of Memphis law school student.

Rendezvous co-owner John Vergos said when Memphis in May hosts its festival downtown, it attracts a lot of people to come into their restaurant.

“It’s really good for the city overall. It’s good for downtown and it’s good for us,” said Vergos.

A spokesperson for Memphis River Parks Partnership told me the construction at Tom Lee Park is more than halfway done.

They stated they should be done by May, but they haven’t decided whether it will be here.


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