Festival records $170K loss resulting from smaller-scale events and postponement of BSMF in 2021 due to COVID19

NEW Approved  IM Logo

MEMPHIS, TN, September 2, 2021 – Memphis in May International Festival released its annual report highlighting the results of another fiscal year impacted by the global pandemic. The organization posted a loss of $170,927 in FY2021 following the record $1.795 million loss in 2020 when the festival was forced to cancel all events due to COVID19 which contributed to the financial loss.

The organization was able to present a reduced-scale World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and Great American River Run, but the Beale Street Music Festival and Honored Country salute to Ghana were postponed again due to COVID19 affecting revenue potential.

These events were among two of the largest public events safely and successfully presented in North America during the month of May, at a time when few large-scale public events were being held.

“We were pleased with the enthusiastic reception that our events received,” said James L. Holt, President & CEO of Memphis in May. “Memphis really came together and we’re grateful for the support and cooperation from Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, the Shelby County Health Department, City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, and the City of Memphis. We would like to thank our dedicated corporate sponsors who offered continual support as well as our amazing volunteers, barbecue teams, judges, runners, and attendees for their unwavering support.”

All festival events will return in 2022, however, the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will be displaced from their home in Tom Lee Park for one year to make way for construction in the park.

2022 Memphis in May International Festival Dates

  • Beale Street Music Festival April 29 – May 1, 2022
  • Honored Country Salute to Ghana May 1-31, 2022
  • World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest May 11 – 14, 2022
  • Great American River Run May 28, 2022 The 2022

The 2022 location for the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will be announced mid-September.

About Memphis in May

Memphis in May is a 501(c)3 nonprofit community-based organization whose mission is to promote and celebrate Memphis’ culture, foster economic growth, and enhance international awareness through education. Founded by racially diverse Memphians in 1977, racial equity and parity are embedded in the fiber and culture of Memphis in May, the official festival of the City of Memphis.

Recipient of 228 prestigious Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival and Events Association, it has been named to Travel+Leisure’s international list of Festivals Worth Traveling For, and in 2018, Memphis topped CNN Travel’s list of international destinations to visit in May because of Memphis in May events. Beale Street Music Festival was named by Oprah Magazine as one of “14 Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss in 2020. For additional information, please visit www.memphisinmay.org.

Site Map