Mempho Music Festival Celebrates Second Successful Year with Plans for 2019 Expansion Underway

Mempho Music Festival at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tenn saw a great turn out of festival goers in their second year of the two-day festival. For being in the infancy stages of the festival circuit the positive feedback on the size, location, accommodations, and music lineup bode well for years to come in the growth of Mempho as a part of the musical culture and heritage of the region.

Two Days of Sensory Overload …

Saturday’s headliners included Beck, Phoenix and Janelle Monae. And let’s not forget the Royal Studios Tribute set which brought out old and new artists from the label performing hits of yesterday and today with a history of 60 years of making music.

While Saturday turned out quite a large crowd, it was Sunday’s line up of George Clinton and Parliament funkadelic, NAS, and Post Malone that really brought the numbers and cemented the future of Mempho Fest. Post Malone closed out the festival Sunday night to a capacity-meeting crowd.

Other industry heavy-hitters that graced the one of two stages at this year’s Mempho Fest included: Rich the Kid, Juicy J, Project Pat, and Mac DeMarco.

Aside from the two main stages, a big attraction that brought the EDM scene to life for the festival was the Dome – a metal cage with DJ sets and pyrotechnics. And where would a true festival be without a Silent Disco. The grounds were also decorated in lights that were reminiscent of those found in the trees of Electric Forest and to add to the sensory overload, the array of food options from BBQ to Baked Sweets.

Organization and amenities are also a plus …

As far as organization, Mempho’s use of shuttles for parking, box office info center staffing, and on-site all-day clean up crews were a breath of fresh air in a day where many festivals tend to over look these pluses. While this may need tweaking as the festival grows, it is a positive that we hope to continue to see.

An addition to this year’s festival was the ability to camp on-site in Shelby Farms Park. Many campers agreed that while there was not a ton of people in the grounds making it a bit quieter than expected for a music festival, the facilities were clean and easily accessible. This bodes well for future years and with the park being 4700 acres there is plenty of room for expansion. Hopefully, they will keep this amenity – especially if what we have heard about next year being expanded to 3-days is true.

Planning for next year …

Mempho is presented by Big River Productions and after such a successful weekend they are not wasting any time or momentum of getting plans underway for 2019.

Big River CEO Diego Winegardner essentially confirmed plans for the festival to expand to three days next year, with an opening night on Friday and all-day Saturday and Sunday schedule. Winegardner also noted the 2019 festival would include the introduction of added stages, likely increasing the number from two to four.

“When we launched Mempho our plans were always to build and grow,” Winegardner said. “And we’ve done that from year one to year two. We felt like we had to establish ourselves the first year, make sure we had a solid foundation and then build and add elements as we went along.

“This year we had a bigger second stage, and we added overnight camping to the event. In year three, I think we can take further steps to really grow Mempho to the next level.”

Winegardner said the festival is targeting another early- to mid-October date  for the 2019 edition of Mempho.

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Story & Photos by Amanda Andrews