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Beale Street Music Festival: Day One 2023

Beale Street Music Festival is part of the Memphis In May International Festival that takes place in the Memphis Riverfront downtown in Tom Lee Park, Tennessee. This was a three day festival with 40 artists on the lineup. The lineup included artists like The Lumineers, Greta Van Fleet, Earth Wind & Fire, Gary Clark Jr, Lucinda Williams, Young The Giant and so more.

Due to personal unforeseen circumstances, I was only able to attend day one this year. However, my experience on day one of the festival, Friday, May 5, was exceptional. Upon arrival, parking was very easy to find. There were multiple lots within the area.

Once I arrived at the gate, I was escorted in a golf cart to the media trailer to pick up my credentials and receive further instructions. I do have to comment on the amazing treatment I received despite not being part of the main media team of the festival. They allowed all media personnel access to the media trailer. This is usually not the case with some other festivals. They allowed us space to work or rest should we choose to, as well as room to store items. If you got lucky, you could even catch a ride in a golf cart to the stages.

The festival had your usual spots for food and drinks. There were several food vendors situated between stages.

Because there were so many amazing artists in the lineup, many of the artists’ performances overlapped with each other. Unfortunately, it was a long walk from one stage to another, so the chances are you might be missing out on a couple of those performances. I myself was only able to make it to two stages: the Bud Light and Volkswagen stage.

The artists I covered on day one were The Sensational Barnes Brothers, Low Cut Connie, PJ Mortan, and The Lumineers. Each artist was unique in genre. The Sensational Barnes Brothers brought gospel soul to the stage while PJ Mortan brought in a more R&B soul sound. Low Cut Connie brough rock & roll, while The Lumineers brought in the indie alternative sound. Each artist was remarkable onstage.

The Sensational Barnes Brothers

Low Cut Connie

PJ Mortan

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love and admire The Lumineers. They hold a special place in my heart. They have been my favorite band since the release of their self titled album, The Lumineers, in 2012. Their music became the soundtrack to my life. It got me through the good and the bad days. What I love most about their music is their ability to tell a story through each song. You have no choice but to really listen and hang on to every single word. When you combine these phenomenal lyrics with Wesley’s mesmerizing vocals and Jeremiah’s virtuoso instrumental accompaniment, it almost breaks your heart. There wasn’t a single dull moment in their life performance that night.

Don’t even get me started on their stage lighting. The one consistent prop you will see on the stage is their disco ball. Once the lights point to this disco ball, it creates a starburst effect among the stage fog. These rays of light bleed out off stage. They began with Jeremiah’s appearance on the catwalk on the drums followed by Wesley and the rest of their phenomenal band on stage.

Throughout their performances, the band would rotate from the stage to the catwalk allowing them to be amongst the crowd. You would catch Stelth and their keyboard player running across the stage barefoot, through the catwalk, jump off stage, and at some point, jump on the piano itself. Wesley also jumped off stage to join the crowd at some point.

You can tell the chemistry between the members of the band is strong just by the way they performed in unison on stage and the love they had for the audience. They ended the night performing on the catwalk, giving each other a hug and a wave goodbye to the audience. Wesley ran down the walk giving high fives to the fans upfront. It was the greatest experience of my life to be able to experience their magic on stage up close and let alone be able to document the experience.

I couldn’t have thought of a better band to end the day with. Overall, I could conclude that day one of the festival was a success. I got a little taste of what Memphis, Tennessee has to offer.

The Lumineers

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