Mpd1 Brightest

At the Memphis in May 2019 Annual Meeting last week, Festival officials announced the preliminary results of the forty-third annual month-long festival.  Today, we proudly reveal the final numbers and announce that the 2019 economic impact, local tax generation and revenue numbers surpassed last year’s record-breaking results.

Memphis in May enjoyed its third consecutive year of record-setting gross revenues finishing 2019 with a festival-high gross of $12.2 million, an increase of 13.6% over 2018’s previous record of $10.9 million.  The organization ended the year with a total surplus over expenses of more than $630,000. 

The 2019 Beale Street Music Festival saw record-setting gross admissions of $4.9 million, with attendance of 107,153 filling Tom Lee Park to see headliners Dave Matthews Band, The Killers, Cardi B, Khalid, G-Eazy, Shinedown, Charlie Wilson, One Republic and Gary Clark Jr.  The 2019 BSMF patrons came from from all fifty states and twenty-six countries and boasted our second consecutive Sunday sellout on May 5. 

Memphis in May’s second-largest event, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, drew 68,177 attendees to the competition, and included 226 teams from twenty-six states and six countries, including as far away as Australia and Norway.

Since 2016, Memphis in May has commissioned a local firm, Younger Associates, to conduct an Economic Impact Study to assess the effect the month-long festival has on the area’s economy, and this year was no exception.

The 2016 study found an economic impact of $88.1 million; the 2017 study reported an economic impact of $111.9 million; the 2018 economic impact was $137.7 million, while 2019 has now come in at a record-setting $149.1 million impact on the Memphis economy!

Additionally, the 2019 Festival events contributed more than $4.6 million in direct tax revenues for the City of Memphis, supporting 1409 full-time equivalent jobs —an increase of 28.54% over 2018’s $3.5 million in local tax revenues with 1300 full-time equivalent jobs supported.  In just the last three years, Memphis in May events have contributed more than $14 million in direct tax revenues to the City of Memphis.

“The 2019 results are a conservative assessment of the impact of new outside dollars Memphis in May’s events bring into the economy,” said Sharon Younger, President of Younger Associates. “This report does not include spending by patrons from within fifty miles of Memphis. All Memphis In May events are ticketed except Celebrate Memphis, so analyzing impact is more accurate than for events which rely on crowd estimation.”

“Despite breaking with our forty-two-year tradition of saluting a country and instead honoring the City of Memphis on the occasion of its Bicentennial, the record-breaking revenue and economic impact results clearly show that our patrons were excited to join our salute to Memphis,” said James L. Holt, President and CEO of Memphis in May.  “We are proud to have once again positively contributed to the economic well-being of the City of Memphis through the tax revenue our events generate and the expanded local employment our events support, and we look forward to returning to Tom Lee Park in 2020 to do it again!”

CLICK HERE to download the full report.

2020 Memphis in May International Festival Dates
Month-long Salute to Ghana: May 1-31, 2020
Beale Street Music Festival: May 1-3, 2020
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 13-16, 2020
Great American River Run: May 23, 2020


About Memphis in May 
Memphis in May is a not for profit, community-based organization, whose programs in 2019 contributed more than $4.6 million in direct tax revenue and $149.1 million in economic impact to the community, fostered civic pride, promoted awareness of Memphis’ heritage, and built international relationships and understanding through education. 
Memphis in May is the recipient of 211 prestigious Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival and Events Association and has been named to Travel+Leisure’s international list of Festivals Worth Traveling For.  The Beale Street Music Festival was named one of the World’s Top Festivals by Fest300 and made Forbes’ list of “5 Underrated Music Festivals You Should Attend.”  In 2018, Memphis topped CNN Travel’s list of international destinations to visit in May specifically because of the Memphis in May events.

About Younger Associates 

Younger Associates is a market research and economic development consulting firm established in 1990. The firm has been recognized by the Economic Development Administration, the International Economic Development Council and other professional associations for the quality of work produced. Their methodology is utilized in courses at the Economic Development Institute and recognized by the International Economic Development Council.  Recent projects include an impact study for a World Equestrian Center currently under construction, and for the operations of Space X.

Site Map