Memphis Events and Festivals in 2018
Memphis is a city full of heart and soul. Known as the cradle of American music, Memphis hosts a variety of things to do and see year-round for its residents and guests, alike. Whether it’s exploring Elvis’ Graceland, touring historical landmarks or listening to world-class musicians at one of the many honky-tonks that line famous Beale Street, Memphis has something for everyone at every turn.
Here are 18+ more reasons to discover the magic of Memphis in 2018:
J A N U A R Y
January 4-8: Elvis’ 83rd Birthday Celebration at Graceland
This fun, multi-day event celebrates Elvis and includes a birthday brunch in honor of The King, as well Graceland tours. Of course, a birthday would not be complete without cake!
January 16-20: International Blues Challenge on Beale Street
Produced by the Blues Foundation, this musical event honors the Blues with a variety of musical showcases at the various clubs on Beale Street. Guests can listen to the best Blues musicians or learn about this genre at one of the many workshops and seminars taking place.
M A R C H
March 2-4: Vintage901 Food & Wine Festival
Community. Culture. Purpose. The second annual Vintage901Fest,is a three day spring festival that brings the world to Memphis, Tennessee to celebrate wine, food and music.
March 5-11: Memphis Black Restaurant Week
Memphis Black Restaurant Week (MBRW) is a delicious week-long event and allows diners the opportunity to support minority owned eateries. Enjoy $15.00 two course lunches and $25.00 three course dinners!
March 8-11: Memphis Comedy Festival
The Memphis Comedy Festival (MCF) is a four-day celebration of stand-up comedy and the comedic arts. MCF hosts stand-up showcases, themed comedy shows, improv showcases, podcasts, informational seminars, comedy open-mics, and probably (definitely) a karaoke session. It spans a few neighborhoods and several venues and attracts thousands of guests.
March 17: 45th Annual Silky O’Sullivan Beale Street St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Wear your green and bring the family for the city’s largest parade with bands, cars, dancers, floats and more in the heart of Memphis.
A P R I L
April TBD: Memphis Brewfest
Beers, Breweries and Beer enthusiasts from the region will gather near the bluffs of the Mississippi River for a sampling of fresh beers of all colors, styles and tastes.
April 1-8: Memphis Fashion Week
Memphis Fashion Week cultivates and celebrates local and regional fashion through designers, photographers, models and boutiques. Proceeds from official events benefit The Memphis Fashion Design Network.
April 6-14: Mid Town Opera Festival
Opera Memphis presents the Sixth Annual Midtown Opera Festival: two weeks of opera, parties, panel discussions, family events, and more in the heart of Memphis!
April 21: Memphis Bacon and Bourbon
Creative bacon inspired dishes of all kinds from some of Memphis’ best restaurants, plus a vast array of distilled spirits to tempt taste buds, plus enjoys fabulous music and entertainment at this fun event.
April 21: Southern Hot Wing Festival
This festival is a celebration of the chicken hot wing, the drummie, the flat, flap, and everything in between. With more than 70 teams participating, this is a fun and delicious family-friendly event celebrating hot and spicy chicken wings!
April 20-22: 32nd Annual Africa in April Festival
This is a unique event that focuses on bringing African dignitaries, ambassadors, and culture to the Memphis Community. The Festival will showcase African countries from an international perspective using a multiplicity of mediums- education, economics, culture, fashions, arts/crafts, music, history, and cuisines.
April 29: Beale Street Wine Race on Beale
Skimpy bathing suits, lots of grapes, and plenty of wine – what could be better? Watch and root for your favorite restaurants and bartenders as they compete in four events for cash, prizes and glory! Awards for Parade, Queen of the Vine, Grape Stomp and the Great Wince Race!
M A Y
Memphis in May International Festival
Memphis in May hosts the city’s largest events like the Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Great American River Run Half Marathon & 5K and 901Fest. Memphis in May also produces extensive education, international, and economic programs for the city.
May 4-6: Beale Street Music Festival
The Beale Street Music Festival is a three-day, four-stage event in Memphis, TN featuring 60+ top musical acts from today and beyond.
May 16-19: World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest aka “BBQ Fest”
The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is a four-day event taking place in downtown Memphis with the Mississippi River as the backdrop. More than 230 teams come from over 25 states and several foreign countries to participate in America’s most prestigious barbecue competition.
May 26: 901Fest
Memphis is a city that deserves to be celebrated every day! Enjoy all things Memphis, from enjoying a local brew next to the Mississippi River and bouncing around in knockerballs, to taking in some local music talent and closing out the festival with a fire works show.
May 26: Great American River Run Downtown
The Great American River Run is a half marathon and 5K race taking place in downtown Memphis. The half marathon course leads racers along the banks of the Mississippi River while 5K runners experience a route through downtown Memphis. The fun all culminates with a massive post-race party that includes food, drinks and live music.
May 10: 39th Blues Music Awards
This event brings together Blues performers, industry representatives, and fans from all over the world to celebrate the best in Blues recordings and performances from the previous year. The BMAs are generally recognized as the highest honor given to blues musicians and are awarded by vote of Blues Foundation members.
May TBD: Latino Memphis Festival
The Latino Memphis Festival is a high-energy outdoor fiesta. There’s something for Memphians of all ages. Enjoy authentic Latino cuisine, arts & crafts, fun kid-friendly activities.
J U N E
June 16-17: Juneteenth Urban Music Festival
Each year this festival highlights and celebrates the varied milestones of African Americans. This all-inclusive music festival not only entertains the public, but also educates a nation of people about the final “Celebration of Freedom.” The knowledge of freedom is a power that allows the impossible to be possible to anyone willing to embrace understanding and togetherness.
A U G U S T
August 11-18: Elvis Week
Elvis Week is a celebration of the music, movies and legacy of Elvis Presley. Join us each August in Memphis as we remember the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Elvis Week is a celebration of the music, movies and legacy of Elvis Presley
S E P T E M B E R
September TBD: Memphis Music & Heritage Festival
The Center for Southern Folklore holds this annual celebration of music, arts, dance and food. The Festival reaffirms the abundance of musical talent and the region’s love of music, showcasing over 100 performers, dancers, and craftspeople.
September TBD: Mid-South Book Festival
This fun literary event features, creative writing seminars, speaking panels, a children’s area, food trucks. live musical performance and, of course a book sale, plus, much more! *Did not take place in 2017
September TBD: Cooper-Young Festival
This annual event hosts more than 130,000 guests and provides an appealing mix of art, music and crafts presented by over 435 artisans from around the country. The Cooper Young Festival is a true celebration of the arts, people, culture and Memphis heritage.
September 29 – October 1: Mid-South Pride Parade & Fest
The annual Memphis Pride Fest brought to you by Mid-South Pride, is the single largest gathering for the LGBT community and its allies in the Mid-South. It attracts more than 9,000 attendees and includes entertainment featuring musicians, bands, speakers, and dance performances. The Festival showcases more than 125 vendor and informational booths, great food, and of course, the Pride Parade rolling down Historic Beale Street. Events at the Festival and Parade are family friendly and packed full of fun.
O C T O B E R
October TBD: Memphis Food and Wine Festival
Memphis is celebrating its culinary excellence by showcasing our exceptional local chef talent along with acclaimed regional and national chefs. Enhancing this lineup will be vintners, certified sommeliers and enlightening wine enthusiasts.
October TBD: Cooper-Young Beerfest
Cooper-Young Beerfest is dedicated to bringing the finest, freshest beer in the Southeast to Cooper-Young for an afternoon of tasting with the brewers who make it. This fundraising event benefits the Cooper-Young Community Association (CYCA), which helps to to keep the neighborhood clean, friendly, safe and welcoming to all who come here.
October TBD: Best Memphis Burger Fest
Burger Fest is a family-friendly event featuring dozens of cooking teams competing for the title of Best Memphis Burger. Guests can enjoy live music, a huge Kids’ Zone, a catered VIP area, an official cornhole tournament, food trucks, a vendor merchandise area, pet adoptions and more.
October 31: Fright Nights on Beale
A scary fun night in the heart of Memphis! Costume contests at the various clubs along Beale with the winners from each club competing for the grand prize at midnight! Beware of zombies that invade during the Zombie Walk!
N O V E M B E R
November TBD: Christmas at Graceland
The arrival of winter at Graceland was always a special time of year. It meant the arrival of the holidays in Memphis and the anticipation of all the fun things the season would bring, including decorating for Christmas, opening Christmas presents with friends and family, the annual New Year’s Eve party, Elvis’ birthday, building snowmen in the front yard of Graceland and more.
November 1-5: Indie Memphis Film Festival
The festival brings a range of independent features, documentaries and short films to Memphis from all corners of the world. In their 21st year, this year will undoubtedly showcase some of the best independent films and festival events.
November 15-18: The Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention
Held at the Guest House at Graceland, the Memphis Comic and Fantasy show is an annual comic book convention that has taken place in Memphis, Tennessee since 2010. The convention takes place over a period of three days, and has had notable guests including Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants), Denise Crosby (of Star Trek), and others. The event usually begins with a presentation by a notable figure in the comic book industry, and is then followed by three days of events at local Memphis venues.
D E C E M B E R
December 1: St. Jude Memphis Marathon
With more than 22,000 participants, the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend is the largest single-day fundraiser for St. Jude, thanks to the efforts of St. Jude Heroes. Registration fees help us put on a great race, but fundraising is the best way to support the kids of St. Jude.
December 14-15: Holiday Concert Weekend at Graceland
Celebrate the holiday season with a very special weekend at Graceland featuring three festive live concerts at the Graceland Sound Stage at Graceland’s new Elvis Presley’s Memphis entertainment complex.