There is a new music festival coming to Memphis, Tennessee on October 6th & 7th at Shelby Farms Park, to celebrate the birthplace of Blues, Soul, and Rock & Roll. The inaugural Mempho Music Festival will open its doors with performances from Cage the Elephant, Cold War Kids, Bishop Briggs, Southern Avenue, and Dan Luke & the Raid on Friday night. The celebration will continue on Saturday with a full day of music from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, a very special tribute to the music of Memphis set from Steve Cropper & Friends, Booker T. Presents: A Stax Revue & Journey Through Soul, Blues, and R&B, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Hard Working Americans, The Weeks, and Jojo Hermann’s Slim Wednesday.
Today, Mempho Music Festival reveals the lineup for their Saturday tribute to Memphis music. Booker T Presents: A Stax Revue & Journey Through Soul, Blues, and R&B will perform the main stage, followed by an all-star performance from Steve Cropper & Friends. The back-to-back sets will serve as a continuous tribute to Memphis’s roots in music, as led by the legends themselves.
Steve Cropper, legendary guitarist of Booker T & The MGs and a main producer of such artists as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, and many others, has tapped an eclectic mix of artists, either local to Memphis or connected to the music, including: Dave Mason (Traffic), Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers, Dead & Company), John Popper (Blues Traveler), Eddie Floyd (wrote “Knock on Wood” with Cropper), as well as legendary keyboardist Lester Snell (Isaac Hayes, Shaft, B3 organ), drummer and cousin to Al Jackson, Steve Potts, trombonist Victor Sawyer, and tenor sax player Jim Spake.
The Steve Cropper & Friends set will follow Booker T. Jones’ Stax Revue, a presentation of Booker T.’s hits with the MG’s. The Stax Revue will feature a ten-piece big band with three lead vocalists, a three-piece horn section and Booker’s usual rhythm section. The set will deliver a high energy experience curated to take the audience on a boundary-pushing musical journey of Stax Records through Booker’s eyes.
The inaugural Mempho Music Festival takes place Oct. 6-7 at the 4,500-acre Shelby Farms Park, one of the largest urban parks in America, just minutes from Downtown Memphis. This year’s lineup includes Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Cage the Elephant, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Cold War Kids, Bishop Briggs, Robert Randolph and The Family Band, Hard Working Americans, Southern Avenue and more. Tickets — including single-day and two-day general admission and VIP passes — are on sale here.
“I’m humbled to play a small part of such a momentous occasion,” says Diego Winegardner, Founder and CEO of Big River Presents, the promoter behind Mempho. “The impact of Stax Records on American music is immeasurable, while Steve Cropper and Booker T. Jones are nothing short of national treasures. It’s an absolute honor to bring these two giants back to the forefront of our collective consciousness for the launch of the inaugural MEMPHO Music Festival.”
Big River Presents have recruited a stellar team of professionals to work with the event, including production manager and fellow Memphian Mike Smith from Widespread Panic, Royal Studios owner Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, former Ardent/Compass Point Studios engineer and legendary producer Terry Manning, Rolling Stones and Allman Brothers Band keyboardist Chuck Leavell, and the city of Memphis.
Chuck Leavell, who is also the founder of the Mother Nature Network (MNN) added in a recent press release, “As a special advisor to MEMPHO, I’m proud to help bring one of the greatest musical cities in the world a new kind of music festival. The setting is spectacular and the talent line-up is top notch with a combination of great new artists and some established fan favorites. As an environmentalist, I’m also very pleased that everyone involved has a high sensitivity to keeping the event clean and green, and in harmony with nature.”
With the tagline, “music food and nature,” MEMPHO seems to share the urge to preserve the rich musical history of Memphis. Its founders are committed to making it an integral part of the Memphis cultural scene for years to come. At 4,500 acres, Memphis’s Shelby Farms Park feels like the obvious home for this new-natured event. The Park features miles of paved and unpaved trails, dozens of lakes and ponds, the internationally recognized and sustainably designed Woodland Discovery Playground, a buffalo herd, the FedEx Event Center, The Kitchen Bistro and Kitchenette, a water play splash pad, an outdoor event stage overlooking an 80-acre lake, a treetop adventure course and more. It’s the perfect backdrop for this exciting inaugural event. Tickets — including single-day and two-day general admission and VIP passes — are on sale here. Ticket prices, which currently begin at $40, will increase Friday, Sept. 8.
For more information, head to the festival’s website.