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The numbers are in and the 2019 Memphis in May International Festival made massive waves on the way to breaking revenue records.

The final numbers for 2019 were announced during last month's Annual Meeting with the economic impact ($149.1 million), local tax generation ($4.6 million) and revenue numbers ($12.2 million) surpassing last year’s record-breaking results. 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 and an average economic impact of $132.9 million!

“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,” said James L. Holt, President and CEO of Memphis in May.

Beale Street Music Festival Artist Poll

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After packing Tom Lee Park with more than 107,000 fans, expectations for #BSMF20 are high. Limited quantities of three-day passes for $125 will go on sale via October 4. Before they do, cast your vote in our artist poll on Choose901 to let us know who you would like to see perform. Check out the BSMF social media pages September 9 for complete details. 

Booking for BSMF is progressing well with some major names already locked in! We expect the 2020 to be even bigger than 2019. Block your calendar for May 1- 3 and join us in Tom Lee Park. 

#WCBCC20 Team Applications Open Next Month


We're bringing the 2020 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest smoke to Tom Lee Park May 13-16! Team applications for the Big Daddy of all cooking competitions will open on Friday, October 18. You can take things serious in one of our championship categories or grab some friends and get a taste of competition in the Patio Porker (amateur) division. Whatever you choose, don't miss the fun!

10K Added for 2020 Great American River Run


We have big news for the thousands of runners from all over the United States who have joined us on a lap through Downtown Memphis and along the river for the Great American River Run… the fifth annual edition of the city's premier river race announces the addition of a 10K distance! 

More information on #MIMGARR will be released in the coming months, but for now, set your calendar reminder for October 11 to register early at the lowest price for our 5K, Half Marathon – and NOW a 10K!

The Republic of Ghana Chosen as 2020 Honored Country

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We’re thrilled to announce The Republic of Ghana as the 2020 honored country! Rich in natural resources, poignant history, unique art and music communities, and friendly people with many indigenous cultural groups, Ghana is the seventh African country to be honored by the festival. Our Salute to Ghana programming will run the entire month of May, with exhibits, cultural performances, cinema showings and many more elements all centered around their colorful culture. 

2020 Curriculum Guide Available This Month

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One of the cornerstones of our award-winning education program - the 2020 curriculum guide will be available for download on our website beginning September 6  The guide can be used for any K-12 grade classroom and is the perfect resource for teachers to educate their students on the 2020 honored country, The Republic of Ghana.

Sponsor Profile - Georgia-Pacific

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One of 160 community sponsors who enable us to present the diverse array of events and programs, Georgia-Pacific is a sponsor of the Creative Writing Competition, one of many vital aspects to our award-winning Education Program.

“The Memphis in May International Festival promotes and celebrates Memphis culture, fosters economic growth, and enhances international awareness through education," said James Barnes, public affairs manager, GP Cellulose – Memphis operations. "Education is one of the four pillars of Georgia-Pacific’s community investment focus with the others being enrichment, entrepreneurship, and environment.  Our local company, Memphis Cellulose, has supported the festival for many years and is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019. This year we supported the festival’s education award ceremony in the same year the bi-centennial of Memphis and Shelby County was saluted. Our investment served as a unique opportunity to honor our community’s past, present and future.”

Board Profile - David McKinney

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New to the Memphis in May Board of Directors this year, David McKinney is the Vice President, Government and Community Relations, Customer Satisfaction for AutoZone. A lifelong Memphian, McKinney holds a bachelor’s and a juris doctorate from the University of Memphis and has previously worked for the Greater Memphis Chamber as Senior Vice President of Public Policy, as well as Memphis and Shelby County governments.  Additionally, McKinney is actively involved in the local community and serves on a number of national boards and committees. He is married to Dr. Shanea McKinney and they have one child.

Thank You, Volunteers!


Several hundred volunteers joined us on August 14 for the annual volunteer awards ceremony. It was a special night of honoring those who contributed their time and talents to make the 2019 festival a huge success. We want to give a special shoutout to Alexandra Slater who won the Lawrence Blackmon award (volunteer of the year), Jodie Taube, the recipient of the Sylvia Bradshaw Chair of the Year Award, and President's Award winner, Michael Znaniecki. Join the fun in 2020 as volunteer registration opens Friday, November 1!

Staff Profile - Susan Green

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Susan Green has worked seasonally with Memphis in May dating back to 2002, before landing her current position of Executive Administrator in December 2016. Love of music runs deep for Green, who was in the concert business for 30+ years, and served as the talent and operations coordinator for BSMF in the 90s. It comes as no surprise that her favorite Memphis in May moment was when Dave Matthews Band and Van Morrison both headlined BSMF in 1996. Green is thrilled about this year's Salute to Ghana and seeing how the lineup shakes out for the 44th annual Beale Street Music Festival in Tom Lee Park.

Vendor Spotlight - Moonshine Lighting

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For more than 35 years, the Moonshine Lighting team has helped brighten up every performance at the Beale Street Music Festival. With the company based in Memphis, Moonshine's President Cindy Ridley said her crew takes great pride in lighting up their hometown festival every year. At the peak of their duties across all four stages, Ridley utilizes 27 different people in various positions. We're proud to continue our partnership with Moonshine Lighting in the years to come! 

Salute to Ghana

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Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris (center right), His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Bawuah (center left), the Republic of Ghana's ambassador to the United States, Memphis in May President and CEO Jim Holt (third from left), 2020 Board Chairman Charles Ewing (far left) and other Ghanian government officials pictured together during a visit for the 2019 Memphis in May International Festival.

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