MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis in May starts in one week and for the first time the annual event will celebrate Memphis culture as the city celebrates its 200th anniversary.
But as excitement builds for the festivities, there are still lingering questions about the future of this major event.
Crews set up for next weekend’s Beale Street Music Festival Friday afternoon.
For Memphis In May organizers, this year’s festival brings a mixture of excitement and uncertainty.
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“I don’t know if it’s going to be the last one in Tom Lee Park because we haven’t seen what the final plans are going to be,” said Robert Griffin, Vice President of Marketing for Memphis in May.
Griffin said Memphis in May is in meditation with the Memphis River Parks Partnership about the organization’s proposed $70 million changes for Tom Lee Park.
Griffin said some of the enhancements like adding WiFi would benefit the annual month-long event.
But he said other changes would cost them valuable event space. Griffin said they’re already expecting 30,000 people each day for the music festival and 250 teams competing in the World BBQ Contest this year.
“Once everything’s in place it’s a really tight place already,” he said. “We’ve seen with the test fits that our architect was able to lay our using their proposed design, it’s very difficult to incorporate those pieces in the proposed design.”
Griffin said mediation is ongoing and they’re seeing progress on both sides.
“Are we going to be in Tom Lee Park [next year]? That’s entirely possible and we look forward to that. Are we going to be in a different location? Well let’s make sure we know where that’s going to be as soon as possible,” he said.
Griffin said Memphis in May generated more than $137 million in economic impact last year.
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