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Is the Mempho Music Festival in Memphis Worth It?

You may know about the influence Memphis has on modern music, but the Mempho Music Festival takes it to the next level.

If you’re on the fence about this event, now’s the time to discover why it’s a music lover’s dream. But it’s certainly not your average festival.

Today, we’re diving into this phenomenal fest so you can decide if it should be on your bucket list.

Let’s jam!

A Neon Memphis sign outside a music and souvenir shop on Beale Street. Be sure to explore Memphis while you're there for the music festival.
Memphis is the Home of the Blues and has a rich music history

About the Mempho Music Festival

During the last weekend in September, many legendary artists head to Memphis for the Mempho Music Festival. The 2023 event features popular headliners like My Morning Jacket and The Black Crowes. Other acts you’ll see during this three-day extravaganza include Ween, Dinosaur Jr., and Band of Horses. From rock and rap to alt-country and soul, you’ll hear it all.

You’ll also find plenty of delicious options to fill your stomach. Memphis’ diverse food scene is on display during the festival, with regional chefs offering a range of cuisines. Pho Cue, Cosmic Charlie’s, and Copper Kitchen are just a few of the vendors slinging snacks all weekend.

Folks who want to go all out can purchase a VIP ticket. This will give you access to private features, including air-conditioned restrooms, charging stations, and bars.

If you’re not already sold, this might sweeten the pot. Depending on the VIP package you choose, you’ll get anywhere from $25 to $100 in free Mempho Bucks that you can use for food, drinks, and merch. After all, who doesn’t love a little swag?

Where Is the Mempho Music Festival?

Memphis is an iconic Southern city with a rich musical history. It’s where the blues began. Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, and Elvis are just a few famous artists who got their start in the city.

The Mempho Music Festival takes place at the Radians Amphitheater. This outdoor venue is on the grounds of Memphis’ Botanic Gardens, so you’ll be surrounded by natural beauty. It’s in the heart of East Memphis but feels like a remote oasis.

You’ll be able to explore more than 20 specialty gardens throughout the facility’s 96 acres. Each zone has its own unique ecosystem. Some are wetlands, while others are lush forests or manicured English gardens. 

What Is the Incendia Dome?

Art, science, and engineering collide under the Incendia Dome. This geodesic structure has propane flames shooting out of the high ceiling, providing a warm, mesmerizing glow. In addition to being Mempho Music Festival’s most alluring stage, it’s also an architectural marvel and a masterful work of art.

DJs spin tunes within the dome so you can dance the night away under an otherworldly sky. Once the sun goes down, there’s no way to miss it!

Those who’ve partied under the installation say you must see it to truly appreciate it. We hear it’s awe-inspiring and unlike any other venue around, so you’ll want to check it out.

Other Fun Things To Do Near the Mempho Music Festival

Whether or not you make it to the Mempho Music Festival, the city has plenty to explore. Thrills, local flavors, and a diverse history are all worth taking in. Here are some of our top picks.

Haunted Memphis Bus Tour

A Haunted Memphis Bus Tour might be the perfect excursion if you want a glimpse into the city’s dark side. Informative guides give details into Memphis’ history. They’ll regale you with the spookiest stories of the past. 

You’ll board the Ghost Bus at The Broom Shop, one of the most popular metaphysical shops in town. From there, you’ll cruise through town and hear spine-tingling tales of the historic locations you pass. 

The tour takes about an hour and a half and occurs rain or shine. 

We’ve got the answer: Is the Memphis Civil Rights Museum Worth the Tour?

Memphis Music Hall of Fame

A trip to Memphis wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Music Hall of Fame. You can see Johnny Cash’s iconic all-black three-piece suit, take a selfie with a cardboard cutout of ZZ Top, and get to know all the inductees through an interactive kiosk.

This 5,000-square-foot museum is steps from Beale Street, where musical legacies continue today. They pack a whole lot of history into a small space.

And don’t forget Graceland: Can You Visit the Jungle Room in Graceland?

The Memphis Museum of Science and History

To peer farther into the past, stop at the Memphis Museum of Science and History (MoSH). Prehistoric fossils tell the story of Planet Earth while an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex brings it to life. In addition, the planetarium and nature center provides in-depth information. 

MoSH frequently hosts events ranging from laser shows to “Things that Glow Bright in the Night,” a presentation on animals that shine under black lights. 

Know Before You Go: Visit MoSH’s website to view their upcoming events calendar. 

Beale Street in Memphis at dusk. You can't miss Beale Street while you're there for the Mempho Music Festival.
You can’t miss Beale Street while you’re there for the Mempho Music Festival.

Best Places to Stay Near the Mempho Music Festival

Exploring Memphis at a leisurely pace is ideal. Give yourself time to absorb everything the city offers. Here are a few spots to check out to recharge in between adventures. 

Tom Sawyer’s RV Park

It’s probably no surprise that you won’t find many campgrounds in metropolitan Memphis. Fortunately, an excellent option exists just outside of town. 

Tom Sawyer’s RV Park is across the state line in West Memphis, Arkansas. But it’s right on the Mississippi River, and you’ll have views of the city skyline.

The park can host big rigs, so you don’t need to worry about the size of your RV. Sites feature full hookups, free WiFi, and restrooms with hot showers. They also have laundry facilities on site.

The James Lee House Bed and Breakfast

Right in the heart of downtown Memphis is one of the most luxurious accommodations in the city. This Victorian home dates to 1848 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The renovated suites are elegantly furnished, with individual climate control and modern features like flat-screen TVs. Beautiful marble bathrooms include extra large showers and massive bathtubs.

You’ll also enjoy a gourmet breakfast each morning, plus access to the home’s public spaces. And if you didn’t get your fill at the Mempho Music Festival, you can tickle the ivories on the grand piano.

Holiday Inn Memphis – University of Memphis

The Holiday Inn, just five minutes from the Memphis Botanic Garden, might be the most convenient stay for the music festival. It may not look like your average hotel on the outside. That’s because it’s also part of the University of Memphis’ School of Hospitality and Resort Management.

However, this Holiday Inn offers everything you’d expect from a standard hotel. The Medallion Restaurant and the Tiger Grille and Lounge will keep you fed, but you can also burn off some calories in the 24-hour fitness center. Comfortable rooms have all the essentials, while extended-stay suites offer microwaves and refrigerators. 

Plan your trip with the Moon Travel Guide to Memphis.

Is a Road Trip to the Mempho Music Festival Worth It?

A trip to Memphis, any time of year, is well worth it. But the Mempho Music Festival is an experience you’ll never forget. You’ll hear some of the greatest bands of the modern era and enjoy local flavors and unique art installations. And when you’re not at the festival, you can soak up music at venues throughout town.

We highly suggest putting this Memphis music festival on your itinerary!

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