Memphis in May International Festival
||Memphis in May Events Committee
||May 2–4, 2014 Beale Street Music Festival; May 15–17, 2014 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest; May 24, 2014 Sunset Symphony; May 1–31, 2014 International Festival
Memphis in May is a month long festival held in Memphis, Tennessee. The festival itself is split into four main events: The Beale Street Music Festival, the kick-off event which showcases a mix of local and national music acts, International Week, a group of events dedicated to the country that is sponsored that year, The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, one of the most popular barbecue contests in the country, and the Sunset Symphony, a night of classical music. This event will mark its 38th anniversary in May 2014.
Memphis in May The Beale Street Music Festival
The Beale Street Music Festival is a three-day music festival that has both a mix of big-name stars performing side by side with local musical acts. Held during the first weekend of May in the city's Tom Lee Park at the foot of Beale Street, it is considered to be the kick-off event of the entire Memphis in May celebration. It typically hosts 100,000+ people for each of the first two nights of the event, and usually quite large crowds for the ending big-name finales on Sunday night. The festival was added a year after Memphis in May was created. Its history can be traced back to the 1800s, when African-American musicians throughout the South would come to Beale Street and perform.
Memphis in May Lineups by year
- 2013 Bands
- Friday, April 30
Widespread Panic, Limp Bizkit, Goo Goo Dolls, Blues Traveler, Jeff Beck, Al Kapone, The B-52s, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Neon Trees, Mutemath, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers, Kenny Neal & Band, Coco Montoya
- Saturday, May 1
Yo Gotti, Puddle of Mudd, Seether, Colbie Caillat, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, Bobby Blue Bland, Elmwood, North Mississippi Allstars, Drive-By Truckers, Gov't Mule, Joan Red, The Constellations, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Blind Mississippi Morris, Ruthie Foster, Savoy Brown, Walter Trout & Band, Dragon Balti
- Sunday, May 2
Earth, Wind & Fire, Boys Like Girls, Five Finger Death Punch, Chevelle, Rock Sugar, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Sore Eyes, Truth & Salvage, Band of Horses, Robert Wolfman Belfour, Hubert Sumlin, Sonny Landreth & Band, Janiva Magness, Leon Russell & Band, Vince Neil
- Friday, May 1
The All-American Rejects, Steve Miller Band, Ben Harper & Relentless 7, Tommy Castro, Katy Perry, The Cult, G. Love & Special Sauce, Jack's Mannequin, Rise Against, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Matt Nathanson, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Lurrie Bell, Bonnie Bramlett
- Saturday, May 2
Green River Ordinance, Hubert Sumlin, Billy Gibson Band, Shane Dwight, Jump Back Jake
- Sunday, May 3
Reba Russell Band
- Friday, May 2
My Chemical Romance, Sheryl Crow, The Roots, Keb' Mo', Richard Johnston, Hellogoodbye, Jonny Lang, Ben Folds*, Charlie Musselwhite, Robert "Wolfman" Belfour, Flyleaf, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Project Pat with Computer, Yung D & Lil’ Wyte, Drive By, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Lord T & Eloise, Amy LaVere, Lurrie Bell (*did not perform due to weather)
- Saturday, May 3
Preston Shannon, Eli "Paperboy" Reed
- Sunday, May 4
Fergie, Michael McDonald, The Black Crowes, Doyle Bramhall, Richard Johnston, Finger Eleven, Aretha Franklin, O.A.R., Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Robert "Wolfman" Belfour, Gavin DeGraw, Jerry Lee Lewis, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Nick Moss & The Flip Tops, Rue Melo, Duman, Umphrey's McGee, Samuel James Carney, Billy Lee Riley, Pete Francis, Calvin Cooke
- Friday, May 4th
The Allman Brothers Band, Three 6 Mafia, Koko Taylor, Iggy & The Stooges, Sum 41, Gov't Mule, Social Distortion, Richard Johnston, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chevelle, Hubert Sumlin & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Plain White T's, The Derek Trucks Band, North Mississippi Allstars, Popa Chubby
- Saturday, May 5th
Steely Dan, Hawthorne Heights, Godsmack, George Thorogood, Bobby "Blue" Bland, The Bar-Kays, Wolfmother, The Ohio Players, Walter Trout & The Radicals, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Taking Back Sunday, Taj Mahal, Ryan Shaw, Kelley Hunt, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jack's Mannequin, The John Butler Trio, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Keller Williams, Eddie Floyd, One Less Reason, The Duhks, Daddy Mack Blues Band
- Sunday, May 6th
Counting Crows, John Legend, Hinder, Elvin Bishop, Barenaked Ladies, Corinne Bailey Rae, Daughtry (band), Tab Benoit, Guster, Edwin McCain, Project Pat, Backdoor Slam, Umphrey's McGee, Ann Peebles, Papa Roach, Watermelon Slim, Billy Lee Riley, Egypt Central, The Lee Boys, James "Super Chikan" Johnson
- Friday, May 5th
B. B. King, Train, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, Puddle of Mudd, Bryan Adams, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Three 6 Mafia, Big Star, Jason Mraz, Duwayne Burnside & Mississippi Mafia, Augustine, Zac Brown Band, Marty Casey & Love Hammers, Billy Gibson
- Saturday, May 6th
- Sunday, May 7th
- Friday, April 29th
Trey Anastasio, The Wallflowers, Jack Johnson, Tommy Castro, Mavis Staples, Ozomatli, Switchfoot, Gavin DeGraw, Nickel Creek, W. C. Clark, Ingram Hill, Popa Chubby, Bowling for Soup, Carey Bell, Seether, American Hi-Fi, Yo Gotti, Michael Tolcher, Egypt Central
- Saturday, April 30th
Nelly, The Killers, Los Lonely Boys, Guitar Shorty, Jonny Lang, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Mooney, Collective Soul, Tesla, K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Crossfade, Al Kapone, North Mississippi Allstars, Spin Doctors, Alvin Youngblood Hart's Muscle Theory, Hubert Sumlin & Willie Big Eyes Smith, Little Feat, Ricky Warwick, Nigel Mooney, Todd Snider, Particle, Pinetop Perkins & Willie Big Eyes Smith, Robert Belfour, Will Graves, Breaking Point
- Sunday, May 1st
Sarah McLachlan, The Black Crowes, The Roots, Johnny Winter, Billy Idol, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Elvis Costello, War, James Cotton Blues Band, Lisa Marie Presley, Chevelle, Medeski Martin & Wood, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm, Bloodthirsty Lovers, E. G. Kight, Ben Kweller, Kenny Brown, Relient K, Billy Lee Riley
- Friday, April 30
Sound Tribe Sector 9, G. Love & Special Sauce, Saliva, The Offspring, Smile Empty Soul, Trapt, Chaka Khan, Styx, MRNORTH, Johnny Clegg Band featuring the music of Juluka and Savuka, Joss Stone, George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, Slick Ballinger & the Soul Blues Boyz, Bettye LaVette, Michael Burks, Charlie Musselwhite
- Saturday, May 1
The Gamble Brothers Band, Buddy Guy & Double Trouble, Yonder Mountain String Band, Indigo Girls, Collective Soul, Journey, Porch Ghouls, Shinedown, Switchfoot, Fuel, Sister Hazel, Puddle of Mudd, Lucero, Paul Thorn, Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Lee Lewis, Doug E. Fresh, Anthony Hamilton, Zac Harmon & Mid-South Blues Revue, Delta Moon, Robert Belfour, Reneé Austin, Ellis Hooks, Eric Sardinas, Bernard Allison
- Sunday, May 2
Free Sol, The Wailers, Bar-Kays, Live, Foo Fighters, Sonny Burgess & The Pacers, Drive-By Truckers, Charlie Daniels Band, Little Milton, Steve Miller Band, Josh Kelley, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Gov't Mule, O.A.R., Tone Loc, Three 6 Mafia, Super Chikan & The Fighting Cocks, Richard Johnston, Tinsley Ellis, Otis Taylor, Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets with Sam Myers
- Friday, May 2
- Saturday, May 3
Bob Cheevers, Lucero
- Sunday, May 4
Gamble Brothers Band
Memphis in May International Week
Every year the festival sets its theme around a different country. A week of events and publicity, starting the day after the music fest, is dedicated to this country and it showcases the local foods and entertainment of that location. While International Week provides a learning experience for the community at large, the core is a comprehensive educational program for area youth in public and private schools and home-schooled students throughout Memphis and Shelby County. The goal of International Week is for area students, by the time they graduate from high school, to have had the opportunity to experience the customs and cultures of twelve different countries from around the world. Two countries – Japan and The Netherlands – have been featured twice.
Countries previously honored:
Memphis in May The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest
Memphis in May History
Although the WCBCC had a small start in 1978, with only 26 teams, it rapidly grew. The contest drew 50 teams in 1979, 80 in 1980, and 180 teams from nine states in 1981. It has now grown to be the largest pork barbecue competition in the world. More than 250 teams from 20+ states and several countries compete, and an estimated 100,000 people attend the competition. Media from around the world, including the BBC and The Food Network, come to the city to cover the event.
Credit for the original idea of a barbecue contest goes to Rodney Baber, chairman of the Memphis in May events committee in 1977, and his co-worker Jack Powell, Tennessee's reigning chili champ at the time.
The original champion at the first competition was Bessie Louise Cathey, who won a $500 prize, a sizable return for her $12 entry fee. Today, the prizes for each event range from $300 to $10,000 for the main cooking competition, and from $1,000 to $7,000 for the ancillary contests. Today's entry fees range from $700 to $2,600 just for renting the necessary booth space, and an extra $60 per competition entry. Some teams regularly budget amounts in excess of $15,000 just for the competition and booth. 
Because of this, some teams are regularly sponsored by corporations. In 1984, Schering-Plough HealthCare began sponsoring teams for Tennessee's leading politicians. Al Gore attended the competition several times when he was a senator and once as vice president. Other sponsors include local automotive dealer Gwatney Motors, who has their own regular barbecue team, and the Terex corporation.
In 1989, when MIM officials discovered that there was a feast in Honolulu which earned the title of "largest barbecue" in the Guinness Book of Records, they calculated the amount of food prepared at the WCBCC. The total was 55297 pounds of pork, and thus earned the WCBCC a record in the 1990 edition.
Beyond the WCBCC, some contests outside of Memphis – such as the barbecue contest in nearby Tunica, Mississippi during its annual Rivergate Festival – are now designated as official preliminary events.
Memphis in May Food Events
Pork Shoulder Event Judging
The competition has three official meat categories: pork ribs, pork shoulder, and whole hog. There is also the "Patio Porkers" competition, which encourages up to 40 amateur teams (who have not previously won the Patio Porker division in the WCBCC) to enter.
There are ancillary food contests, including:
- Anything But - This contest refers to "Anything but Pork" and you are allowed to cook anything you like. There are subcategories to this competition, including: Beef, Poultry, Seafood, and Exotic.
- Sauce - One of the most entered ancillary contests, this includes subcategories of Tomato, Vinegar, and Mustard.
- Hot Wings - Judged on flavor and "heat".
- People's Choice Award - Cancelled in 2012 and replaced with The Kingsford Tour of Champions
- Kingsford Charcoal and Memphis in May International Festival officials announced 03/07/2012 an offer that will allow greater access to judging of championship barbecue at the Festival’s annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. The Kingsford Tour of Champions Judging offers non-trained judges an opportunity to judge world class competitive barbecue on-site with select teams and determine who goes home with bragging rights and $2500 in prize money for being the consumer’s favorite.
four shifts: Thursday 2-4 PM or 4-6 PM, Friday 2-4 PM or 4-6 PM. You can sign up for multiple tastings if you want.
Only wood and charcoal cooking is allowed at the event, no gas or any other sort of heat system is allowed to be used.
Memphis in May Special Events
- Ms. Piggie - Teams dress up contestants as pigs, and then perform songs or skits on stage.
- Best Booth - Booths are judged on design, originality and connection with the honored country.
- T-Shirt Design - Shirts are judged on design, originality and connection with the honored country.
- Cooker Caravan - The Cooker Caravan provides the public a FREE behind the scenes look at competition barbecue by offering guided tours to teams in each championship category.
Memphis in May Winners by year
Memphis in May Sunset Symphony
The Sunset Symphony is usually a free or low-priced event held on a single stage at Tom Lee Park, during the Saturday evening of the last full weekend in May. The concert is the largest annual performance event of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and serves as a closing event for the MIM festivities. The symphony performs a variety of classical works as well as music of the year's honored country.
Featured guest performers have been included in recent years, including Stax recording artists- the Barkays in 2011 and Mavis Staples during the thirtieth anniversary event in 2006, The Temptations in 2007, and The Four Tops in 2008. Sponsorship of the concert varies from year to year as well, with past sponsors including SunTrust Banks, Regions Financial Corporation, and Memphis-based AutoZone.
Since 2007, additions to the festival finale have included an air show with historic aircraft from the Commemorative Air Force, and a fireworks show.
Memphis in May References
Memphis in May External links