New Music Festival Riverbeat unveils inaugural lineup

Steven McCash previews the lineup for the inaugural Riverbeat music festival, coming to Memphis May 3-5.

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Since 1977, the Beale Street Music Festival would host over 100,000 music lovers during the first weekend in May. The 3-day festival would celebrate the deep and rich music history of Memphis by inviting local living legends as well as new up and comers plus a mix of big-name national stars. B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Al Green and Isaac Hayes are just some of the legendary acts from the Bluff City to grace a Beale Street Music Festival stage. The Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Snoop Dogg and Aretha Franklin are some of the national acts to visit the festival through out the years.

Every year, music fans from around the world would anticipate who would be on the festival’s bill in anticipation of making the trip to Tom Lee Park in the spring. Work began a few years ago to revitalize the park after years of abuse and neglect leaving the festival looking for a temporary home. The 2002 iteration of the festival took place at the fairgrounds in front of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium of the home of the University of Memphis football team. That year’s festival included Weezer, Megan Thee Stallion, Smashing Pumpkins and Academy Award Winners Three 6 Mafia. The stacked lineup was not enough to get fans to attended the festival at its temporary new home and saw the festival suffer record loses. 

The 2023 festival returned to the new and improved Tom Lee Park, but was forced to alter its shape due to the drastic renovations done at the park. The Lumineers, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Glorilla and The Roots tried to bring the fans back to the riverfront, but the damage seemed to be done. Low attendance and a bill for $1.4 million to repair damages suffered at the park during the festival left the board of directors with the tough decision to suspend the Beale Street Music Festival for 2024 in October of last year.

Once the initial hurt and anger subsided, the organizers of the Mempho Music Festival stepped up and said they would present a festival the first weekend in May in the absence of the Beale Street Music Festival. On Wednesday, the festival released the lineup for the inaugural iteration of the Riverbeat Music Festival and much like its predecessor covers multiple musical genres. 

Legendary hip-hop trio The Fugees, EDM duo Odesza, and Tennessee’s very own Jelly Roll will serve as the headliners for the new festival. Jelly Roll is not the only Tennessee connection on the bill. The host city will be represented by rap heavy weights 8Ball and MJG, Al Kapone & the B.W.A. Band as well as by the rock band The Band Camino. Up and coming soul artist Taliban Safiya will preform her new EP Black Magic in front of her hometown fans and Memphis based Marcella Simien will display her alternative sounds for festival goers. 

You cannot have a music festival and not have some blues on display. For Riverbeat, the blues will be brought by Charlie Musslewhite, Don Bryant ft. The Bo-Keys, Kenny Brown and Squirrel Nut Zippers member Jimbo Mathus. Hip-hop is heavily represented with Grammy winners Big Boi of Outkast fame and Killer Mike, Grammy nominee Tobe Nwigwe and Daddy Aioli himself aka Yung Gravy. Killer Mike, one half of the rap duo Run the Jewels, is coming off his three-win night at this years Grammy Awards for his album Michael. 

Riverbeat Music Festival has knocked it out of the park with their lineup that features artist from alternative, pop, country, rap, blues, R&B, dance, and rock giving the excellent opportunity to have an amazingly successful first year. Tickets are on sale now and a VIP ticket is offered. VIP will include access to two VIP Lounges near the two main stages with relaxed seating, private air-conditioned restrooms, complimentary grab and go snacks, exclusive bar with premium drinks for purchase, exclusive food options for purchase, complimentary WiFi in both VIP Lounges, dedicated VIP Concierges to assist with your festival needs, dedicated entrance lane, lockers for rent and more. For more information and to purchase tickets visit Riverbeat’s website.

Steven McCash is the Lead Music Writer and Utility Man for SoBros Network. Steven is the host of the ‘Drinking With…’ podcast, and the pioneer of New Music Friday, highlighting each week’s new releases in the world of music in addition to the occasional live show review. He also pitches in as a Nashville lifestyle writer and football analyst (hence the ‘Utility Man’ title). Follow on Twitter: @MC_Cash75

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