The Commercial Appeal

Who’s playing Beale Street Music Festival?

Given the festival’s strong Memphis rap bookings last year, it’s possible it will follow suit in 2023. Here are a few theories and clues about schedule

- Bob Mehr

Beale Street Music Festival is making its long-awaited return to Tom Lee Park this year.

After the music fest was forced to cancel in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event returned in 2022, albeit at a temporary venue — the Fairground­s at Liberty Park. This year, the festival — set for May 5-7 — returns to its historic home at the foot of the Mississipp­i in Tom Lee Park.

Now, the big question is: What acts are playing Beale Street Music Fest?

The lineup is expected to be announced later this month (for reference, last year’s full lineup was revealed on Feb. 16).

But while we wait for Memphis in May to give the official word on the acts that will perform, here are some educated guesses on who might be coming to the festival.

Though the event will have a different feel, footprint and staging — due to ongoing constructi­on at Tom Lee Park — if recent lineups are any guide, fans can expect the usual wide-ranging mix of music.

In 2022, the festival offered up headliners/big names that represente­d hot contempora­ry pop and hip-hop acts (Megan Thee Stallion, Dababy), establishe­d alternativ­e rock and pop bands (Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Counting Crows), iconic rappers (Three 6 Mafia) and some more grownup/adult fare (Van Morrison, Sarah Mclachlan). Further down the bill, the festival offered up acclaimed indie rock outfits (Spoon, Kurt Vile & the Violators) and reliable festival favorites (Indigo Girls, Modest Mouse).

While the lineup is always subject to the availabili­ty of acts and their schedules, it’s safe to assume the variety and focus on the 2023 lineup will generally reflect the booking approach taken last year.

Beale Street Music Festival lineup hints

In the past, Beale Street Music Festival has teased its lineup online, offering subtle and not-so-subtle hints via social media posts.

This year, the fest is posting a series of Facebook “Song of the Day” contests.

So far, the official Beale Street Music Festival Facebook page has posted Songs of the Day that hint at 2023 appearance­s by rock legend Robert Plant and Americana icon Alison Krauss, Michigan rockers Greta Van Fleet, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers The Pretenders, Grammy-winning R&B artist PJ Morton, indie pop trio AJR, blues vet Keb’ Mo’, and Mid-south roots combo and music fest perennials North Mississipp­i Allstars.

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 ?? JOE RONDONE/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL ?? Fans cheer on Dababy as he performs on Beale Street Music Fest’s opening night at Liberty Park on April 29, 2022.
JOE RONDONE/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL Fans cheer on Dababy as he performs on Beale Street Music Fest’s opening night at Liberty Park on April 29, 2022.

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