Expect a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On This May in Memphis

Published On: March 2nd, 2019

Expect a “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” this May during the Memphis in May International Festival

For the first time in its history, Memphis in May International Festival, 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. 

Swing, Sway, and Swagger.  Sip, Savor, Shop and Stay… but most importantly, Bring Your Soul and celebrate 200 years of history in Memphis this May! The Memphis in May International Festival has been named to Travel+Leisure’s international list of Festivals Worth Traveling For and has won over 216 prestigious Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival and Events Association.

Most of the festivities take place on the bluffs of the magnificent Mississippi River at Tom Lee Park. Check the Memphis in May website for the most current festival information.


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Swing and Sway

Grab tix to the Beale Street Music Festival being held May 3-5 at Tom Lee Park.  This is a must-do! This spectacular outdoor festival was included as one of the World’s Top Festivals by Fest300, and listed by Forbes as one of “5 Underrated Music Festival You Should Attend.” With an amazing cross-section of artists, this weekend of music is sure to please all the musical tastes of your traveling tribe. This year’s festival bill features, amongst others, Dave Matthews Band, Charlie Wilson, India Arie and Gary Clark, Jr.


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Show off your swagger at the Great American River Run, May 25, 2019 and then flash that winning medal at Celebrate Memphis also being held on May 25. The Great American River Run is actually two runs – a half marathon and a 5K.  The half marathon course leads racers along the banks of the Mississippi River while 5K runners experience a route through downtown Memphis. The fun culminates with a massive post-race party that includes food, drinks and live music.

A new event, Celebrate Memphis, was introduced to the month-long Festival lineup as part of the 2019 salute.  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 elements that make Memphis and Shelby County truly unique. From food to music, art to innovation, this promises to be another highlight of this truly remarkable festival.


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Sip and Savor

Memphis in May is not complete until you have smelled and tasted the incredible barbecue cooked up by the Q-masters at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 15-18, 2019. Recognized by USAToday as the “Most Prestigious Barbecue Contest,” the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is a four-day competition held in Tom Lee Park on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis. Nearly 250 teams travel from around the world and across the U.S. to compete for the title of World Champion and a share of the more than $115,000 in prize money. The Contest draws more than 75,000 attendees, including teams from twenty-six states and six countries, from as far away as Japan and the Czech Republic to compete in the championship pork categories of Ribs, Shoulder, and Whole Hog, as well as the ancillary competitions of Hot Wings, Sauce, and “Anything But Pork.” Be sure to check out the amateur category, the Patio Porkers, which allows backyard grillers the opportunity to test their skills against the best in barbecue.


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Want to sport some cool new togs?  A wonderful way to get to know local neighborhoods, Memphis offers some terrific shopping options.  Right near Beale Street, pay a visit to Elvis’ favorite tailor, Lansky Brothers, celebrating 70 years in business.  Known as the “Clothier to the King”, shop the style of Elvis at this wonderful shop that features women’s and men’s fashions.  Offbeat fashion finds more to your taste?  If there is still time and energy during all of the Memphis in May activities, check out: the Broad Avenue Arts District, Cooper Young District, and the South Main Arts District, just one block south of Beale Street.


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With so much happening this May in Memphis, plan to stay the entire month at The Guesthouse at Graceland!  With plenty of activities located near this magnificent hotel, the fun never ends. The Guesthouse at Graceland offers the most convenient location to visit Elvis’ home, Graceland Mansion, experience Elvis Presley’s Memphis, a state of the art exhibition center and entertainment complex featuring exhibits, restaurants, shops, and a sound stage for concerts and movies.  Insider tip- Book these exciting activities in advance as some options sell out. To complete the full Elvis experience, tour his private planes –Lisa Marie, affectionately named for his daughter and Hound Dog II – named in honor of his famous hit single, “You ain’t nothin but a hound dog”.  Just as Elvis welcomed numerous friends and family through the doors of his home, The Guesthouse at Graceland extends a personal invitation to these special concerts and events happening throughout the month of May.

In the words of Elvis, “Well, I said, come on over baby, a-whole lot-ta shakin’ goin’ on” and join the celebration as Memphis in May salutes Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee, celebrating 200 years and a new century of soul!  

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and book your room today!



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