Memphis in May, including Beale Street Music Fest, postponed amid coronavirus outbreak

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis in May, which includes Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking competition, has officially been postponed.

The month-long festival’s future for the year has been up in the air.

FOX13 reported earlier this month that Memphis in May was on track despite the fears of the coronavirus.

Tickets were also still selling, however, organizers said that it is no longer the case.

Robert Griffin, VP of marketing for the festival, wanted to make sure the public understands that Memphis In May will still go on, just at a later in the year. The hope is for the fall when the festival will be a much needed moment of celebration he said.

“Two things that you think of when you think of the identity of the city of Memphis and that’s music and barbecue,” Griffin said.

For more than 40 years Memphis in May has bonded these two elements of the Bluff City.

“With the health and safety of all of our patrons and all the different participants in all of our activities in mind, we’re working on fall postponement of each of those events,” Griffin said.

Griffin told FOX13 he knew this would come. It was just a matter of hearing from local officials before making an announcement.

“We were waiting to see as we said all along, waiting to see what the guidelines were gonna be from the CDC and also waiting to see what the guidelines and requests were going to be from the local health officials,” he said.

Memphis in May is on a list of festivals forced to postpone across the nation including Bonnaroo and Coachella. Both are set for the fall now, which may impact the Beale Street Music Festival artist lineup.

“But a number of the other festivals are also looking at rescheduling for the fall too, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility because that’s what a lot of people are exploring,” said Griffin.

Griffin said he looks to Memphis in May in the fall to boost civic pride and the local economy.

“Once we get this rescheduled it’s going to be a great party and it’s going to be an opportunity for us all to celebrate the fact we all need something like this once this is all behind us. So we’re going to look forward to a great event that everyone can enjoy.”

Griffin told FOX13 an announcement on new dates will be made next Friday. Ticket buyers, runners for the race and BBQ teams who can’t attend will be able to get a refund.

The impact of the novel coronavirus is being felt all across the Mid-South where new cases are being announced every day and new steps are being taken to help limit the spread. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.

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