Memphis in May Makes Surprise Announcement for 2019 Honored Salute

2019 MemphisLogo

Memphis in May International Festival held their 2018 Annual Meeting at the Memphis Botanic Garden at 5:30 on Thursday evening. Festival officials reviewed the results of the forty-second annual month-long festival and made a surprise announcement concerning the subject of next year’s salute.  

Memphis in May enjoyed its second consecutive year of record-setting gross revenues with 2018 finishing at $10.9 million, an increase of 12% over 2017 and 29% over 2016.  The organization ended the year with a total surplus over expenses of more than $523,000.  Much of this came from the Beale Street Music Festival which attracted 102,507 ticket holders and boasted a record-setting $4.5 million admission gross on the heels of a Sunday sellout.

Also announced was the impact that the 2018 Memphis in May International Festival had on the local economy.  Following 2017’s economic impact of $111.9 million, this year’s increased attendance produced a record-setting economic impact of $137.7 million, contributing more than $3.5 million in local tax revenues and supporting 1300 FTE jobs. View the full economic impact of the 2018 festival here.

The other big announcement was that for the first time in its history, Memphis in May will break with tradition and rather than honor a country as part of the month-long salute, the City of Memphis and Shelby County will be the year-long focus of the 2019 Memphis in May Festival as it celebrates Memphis’ bicentennial and the start of a new century for the city and county. 

“As the Official Festival of the City of Memphis, our board of directors understood what an historic opportunity this was for Memphis in May to break from tradition and celebrate a new century for Memphis,” said James L. Holt, President and CEO of Memphis in May. “Each year we celebrate the rich history and culture of another country here in Memphis, but this year we look forward to celebrating the history and culture of our hometown as only Memphis in May can.”

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of our next century, and to witness in real-time the influence Memphis has around the world,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “As we celebrate 200 years of originality that has changed the world, Memphis in May choosing Memphis as the subject of its annual salute is a wonderful birthday present.”

One example of how Memphis in May will honor Memphis is the commemorative poster for which a local artist is always chosen by the Festival to create the fine art that represents the subject of the annual salute.  Because of the focus on Memphis and Shelby County this year, Memphis in May is taking an unusual approach and holding an open call for local artists to submit their designs for consideration. 

A juried panel including votes from the general public will determine the winning design and top finalists.  The final selections will be displayed as one of the Festival’s month-long cultural exhibits, and the winning design will be available for purchase as the commemorative poster honoring Memphis. 

Additionally, a new event, Celebrate Memphis, was introduced to the month-long Festival lineup as part of the 2019 salute.  Held on Saturday, May 25, Celebrate Memphis promises to be one of the Mid-South’s most spectacular events. Honoring the past while celebrating the future, the event will feature the elements that make Memphis and Shelby County truly unique. From food to music, art to innovation, the event will showcase individuals, organizations and ideas from every corner of the community.

Join the celebration as Memphis in May salutes Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee, celebrating 200 years and a new century of soul!  

Beale Street Music Festival: May 3 - 5, 2019
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 15 - 18, 2019
Great American River Run: May 25, 2019
Celebrate Memphis: May 25, 2019

About Memphis in May 
Memphis in May is a not for profit, community-based organization, whose programs in 2018 contributed more than $137.7 million annually 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 official festival of the City of Memphis, the recipient of 206 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.

Site Map