The Memphis in May International Festival is a month long festival that strives to bring cultural awareness to the city by honoring a chosen country each year. In addition, it is a celebration that offers something for everyone, bringing Memphians together for a month of food, fun, and education.
Beale Street Music Festival:
It is only fitting that a city with such musical heritage should have a musical event with the magnitude of the Beale Street Music Fest. This event that sells out annually, consists of three days of music on four stages, featuring more than sixty nationally known and local artists. Past performers have included Bob Dylan, Staind, The Black Crowes, James Brown, and hundreds more. The lineup of artists changes every year and is announced each March.
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest:
Grillmasters from all over the world gather in Memphis each May to compete for thousands of dollars in prizes at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Award categories include whole hog, shoulder, ribs, seafood, poultry, and people's choice. There are fun events for the general public, as well, including tours, cooking demonstrations, and live entertainment.
On the last weekend in May, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra puts on a spectacular performance at Tom Lee Park known as the Sunset Symphony. Attendees are welcome to bring picnic dinners and watch the sunset as they enjoy the relaxing sounds of the orchestra.
As a festival designed to promote cultural awareness, Memphis in May offers a multitude of events that take place across the city. Such events include the performances of dancers, musicians, artists, and speakers from the honored country; exhibitions of the honored nation's arts and crafts and cooking; and other groups that come to educate the community about life in the honored country.