VOL. 131 | NO. 40 | Thursday, February 25, 2016
Beale Street Music Festival Marks 40th Year With 64 Acts
By Bill Dries
The last time Neil Young played Memphis, it was at the Mid-South Coliseum with a rockabilly band called the Shocking Pinks and Ronald Reagan was president.
And at the end of the 1983 tour, Young’s record label, Geffen Records, sued him over the album.
Young returns to Memphis for the first time since 1983 as one of the headliners of the 2016 Beale Street Music Festival, April 29-May 1 in Tom Lee Park.
Among the other headliners announced Wednesday, Feb. 24, are Beck, Paul Simon, Train and Modest Mouse.
Of the 64 performers in the lineup, 30 are newcomers to the Beale Street Music Festival lineup.
That includes Young, who is touring with the band Promise of the Real; Simon; Modest Mouse; Meghan Trainor, who recently won the Best New Artist Grammy; and singer, songwriter and choreographer Jason Derulo.
Young is one of four Canadian acts performing as the larger Memphis in May International Festival honors Canada. The other Canadian performers are Barenaked Ladies, singer-songwriter Coleman Hell and blues artist Jack Semple.
The bill also includes Those Pretty Wrongs, the new project of Big Star drummer and Ardent Studios CEO Jody Stephens.
The duo of Stephens and Luther Russell of the Freewheelers is one of 14 local acts at the festival. Among the others are Julien Baker, whose debut studio album, “Sprained Ankle,” was released last year to critical acclaim; Yo Gotti; and Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars.
The music festival, in its 40th year, features a wide range of music – from Latino hip-hop veterans Cypress Hill to Americana artist Lucinda Williams to blues rocker Doyle Bramhall II.
For the first time in several years, the lineup does not include a festival performance by Jerry Lee Lewis.
The music festival is the first weekend of a monthlong series of events.
Other events – all happening in Tom Lee Park – include the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest on May 12-14 as well as the debut of the Great American River Run, a half marathon and 5K run on May 28 with 901Fest later that same day.
The run and 901Fest replace the Sunset Symphony in the festival lineup.
A complete schedule of Beale Street Music Festival acts is available at memphisdailynews.com.