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Beale Street Music Festival 2010

Forget the stages, head for the Blues Tent!

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Blues-rock guitarist Coco Montoya

Blues-rock guitarist Coco Montoya

Photo by Frank Vigil, courtesy Alligator Records

Memphis, Tennessee has a lengthy and hallowed musical tradition. From the blues of Furry Lewis and Bukka White and the soul music of Isaac Hayes and Al Green, to the R&B and rock 'n' roll of artists like Elvis Presley and Jim Dickinson, and much, much more the Bluff City has nurtured and spawned great American music unlike any other city, north or south!

Every year, the Beale Street Music Festival is held in the 33-acre Tom Lee Park on the banks of the Mississippi River at the end of Beale Street. This year's festival will be held from Friday, April 30th through Sunday, May 2nd as part of the city's month-long "Memphis In May" celebration and will feature dozens of artists performing on four separate stages.

Beale Street Music Festival 2010 Line-Up

Since its inception in 2000, the Beale Street Music Festival has hosted a diverse range of rock, rap, R&B, gospel, and blues artists on its stage. Maybe it's the economy, maybe the plethora of touring bands and festival paydays, but this year's line-up will sparkle a little less brighter than in years previous.

Among the artists anchoring this year's event are such nostalgic rock acts as Alice In Chains and the Goo Goo Dolls, Southern jam band Widespread Panic, psyche-rockers the Flaming Lips, and indie rockers Band of Horses. Sadly, the festival also features such has-beens as Limp Bizkit and never-weres like Seether among its many performers.

Beale Street Blues

Blues and blues-rock fans have a reason to rejoice, 'cause although the Beale Street Music Festival's selection of rock performers this year is somewhat suspect, the blues and roots music line-up is truly mouth-watering in its diversity and potential entertainment value. Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Jeff Beck will headline the Sam's Town Casino Stage on Friday night, while the North Mississippi Allstars and Govt. Mule will rock the Budweiser Stage on Saturday night along with roots-rockers the Drive-By Truckers. Sunday night, attendees can groove to Booker T & the MGs and soulful singer-songwriter John Hiatt.

It's the Blues Tent where the party is going to really happen, though, with a wealth of talent making its way to Memphis to rock yer socks. Kenny Neal, Coco Montoya, and Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers will hold down Friday night's entertainment. On Saturday night, Walter Trout and Bobby "Blue" Bland will deliver blues-rock and soul, while Sunday night will close out the festival with the great Chicago blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin, award-winning singer Janiva Magness, and slide-guitar wizard Sonny Landreth. Other performers in the Blues Tent this year include:

  • Joanne Shaw Taylor
  • Alvin Youngblood Hart
  • Blind Mississippi Morris
  • Ruthie Foster
  • Savoy Brown
  • Robert Belfour

A separate "Blues Shack" will feature one-man-blues-band Richard Johnston, and Delta bluesman T-Model Ford performing. Both three-day passes and single-day tickets to the event are available; check with the Memphis In May website for more details on the Beale Street Music Festival.

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