Once in a blue moon, the stars align and what feels like all of the anticipated music events fall within the same month! September in Memphis, which I have dubbed Festember, is chock-a-block with options for the music lover. Get ready to cover some serious aural ground in a short time.
To help lead you through the landscape, I have compiled a special Festember guide. I will be sure to keep this updated as well when more detailed schedules are added for some of the events.
September 1 – 2
The Center for Southern Folklore is hosting its annual Memphis Music and Heritage Festival featuring a plethora of Memphis talent. The event is free and packed to the brim with some great artists.
Don’t miss: The Subteens, Ghost Town Blues Band, The Plantation All-Stars, River City Tanlines
Saturday: Bobby Rush, Joyce Cobb, Exodus, The Bo-Keys, Elmo & The Shades, King Ellis, Shufflegrit, The Gary Topper Group, Favor, The Mellowtones, Hope Clayburn & Soul Scrimmage, The Plantation All-Stars, The Bell Singers, The Subteens, Jazz-A-Fire, Smoochy Smith, Loni Rose, Mary Ubonksy, Robby Grant, River City Tanlines, John Kilzer & Teenie Hodges, Deborah Swiney, Lisa Lambert & The Pine Ridge Boys, Porcelan Chalet, Anointed Cowans Singers, Alfepado, The Sensational Six, Grassfire, The Sultana, Last Chance Jug Band, Johnny Yancey and The Sanctuary Jazz Orchestra, Austin Carroll, Community Bubble, David Corbett & Nancy Chase, Dandelion & The Raindrops, The Kattawar Brothers, Brittany Russell & The Trunk Monkeys, Big Brother & Little Brother Music Ministry, John Paul Daniel and Friends, Hickory Withe Bluegrass and more
Sunday Tribute to Rufus Thomas by FreeWorld with special guests Marvell, Carla & Vaneese Thomas with James Govan, The Stax Music Academy, Kate Campbell, Susan Marshall, Barbara Blue, Valerie June, Grace Askew, Tonya Dyson, Sweet Angel, Blind Mississippi Morris & Brad Webb, Los Cantadores, Mr. Del, Devil Train, Ms Nickki & The Memphis Soul Survivors, Moments of Joy, Paul Taylor, Sonny Burgess & The Legendary Pacers, John Paul Keith and the 145’s, Darrel Petties & S.I.P., Dan Montgomery with Robert & Candace Mache and with Louis Meyer, Tennessee Mass Choir, The Jazz Collective, WAMPA, Orange Mound Jazz Messengers, The Agitators, Ghost Town Blues Band, Jeremiah and the Gospelettes, Randy Haspel, Sidney, Cindey & Sidney, Memphis Klezmer All Stars, Bluff City Backsliders, Judy McWillie, Anne Katherine Campbell and more
Saturday, September 15
The Cooper Young Festival will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! They have announced a few of the artists that will appear (below) and I will be sure to update this post when the full schedule is released.
Don’t miss: Ross Rice
Ross Rice Band, Nancy Apple, Darrel Pettiesm The Memphis Dawls, Patrick Dodd Trio, Tiger High
September 6 – 9
Rock for Love keeps getting bigger and this year they have expanded to three locations around midtown. This is one serious party with a purpose, raising funds for the Church Health Center which provides health care for uninsured working people and their families. Many Memphis musicians are patients at the Church Health Center which is why this event brings out some of the best Memphis talent. So come out and support. Fulfill your philanthropic duties while doing what you would probably be doing anyway, checking out a rock show in midtown.
Hi Tone Café – Jim Mize (11:15), Mouserocket (10:30), The Merry Mobile (9:45), Mark Edgar Stuart (9:00)t
Hi Tone Café – Star and Micey featuring Jody Stephens (11:15), Snowglobe (10:30), The Wuvbirrds (9:45), Chris Milam (9:00)
Overton Square – The Memphis Dawls (6:15), Kelidophonix (5:15), Marcala Pinella (4L15 pm), Larry Rasberry and the Highsteppers featuring the Gentrys (2:30), Rev. John Williams (1:30), John Murry & J.D Reager (12:30 pm), The Stax Academy (11:30 am), The Memphis Blazers (10:30 am)
Hi Tone Café – The Switchblade Kid (12:15), Tanks (1:30), The Modifiers (10:45), Dead Soldiers (10:00), Fast Planet (9:15)
Levitt Shell – Booker T Jones (7:15), Al Kapone (6:00)
September 27 – 30
Where Memphis comes out in droves to sweat to the raw side of rock. Goner brings in a mixture of international, national and local artists to create a truly unique lineup that is always an experience. Just go check it out and you are certain to see something you will never forget.
Hi Tone Café – Oblivians, Golden Boys, Heavy Times, Slug Guts, Jack of Heart, Moving Finger
The Buccaneer (afternoon) – The Hussy, No Bails, Toxie, Anomalys, Johnny Lowebow
Hi Tone Café – Nobunny, RiverCity Tanlines, Bits of Shit, Gary Wrong Group, Bad Sports, Nots
Murphy’s (afternoon) – Legs, White Mustery, Ryan Rousseau, Cecilia and Sauerkraut, Lenguas Largus, Native Cats, Chemicals, Party Bat, Chicken Snake, Detonations
Hi Tone Cafe (night) – Spits, Mad Macka, Personal & The Pizzas, Persuaders, Ex-Cult, White Wires
The Gazebo (afternoon) Closing Ceremonies
The Buccaneer (night) No bands, just DJ’s
And, just in case you would like to snack on a funnel cake and ride the Gravitron between bands, there are two fairs in the area that include live music.
September 21– 30
No line up announced yet so stay tuned for an update… I am willing to take bets on possible acts. Who knows, there is always a chance they will surprise us with something checking out. Fingers crossed but not holding my breath.
August 31 – September 9
Yes, it is a fair so the music line up may not be as exciting as the festivals listed above, however, if you plan on going, why not go on a night when you might also catch someone you might enjoy? The two picks from the headliners are:
Percy Sledge and Flock of Seagulls