Memphis, TN (October 2, 2023) – This weekend, Mempho Music Festival delivered a winning combination of world-class entertainment, innovative culinary activations, and bonafide Memphis soul in celebration of its 2023 event. Held annually at Radians Amphitheater on the idyllic grounds of Memphis Botanic Gardens, Mempho Fest continues to demonstrate itself as a premier destination for live music, welcoming over 20,000 attendees across three awe-inspiring days.
Among the festival’s many standout moments were Friday closers The Black Crowes, who brought the heat to an already-sizzling Adam Keagan main stage on Friday evening. The Southern Rock Titans treated fans to choice hits from their expansive catalog including “Twice as Hard,” “Sting Me,” and “Gone,” as well as the group’s famed rendition of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle.” Earlier, female-fronted powerhouses Lucius and Larkin Poe livened up the afternoon crowd; local favorite Hope Clayburn’s Soul Scrimmage inaugurated the newly-minted Overton Park Shell On Wheels stage; Zach Person flaunted sultry vocals and blues-tinged guitar chops; and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead brought the house down with beloved jam band classics.
Saturday was topped off by a nearly two hour set from My Morning Jacket, whose staggering medley of rock, roots, and psychedelic anthems made for an unforgettable nightcap. The Louisville based outfit was joined by Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses and Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis, who sat in for the tracks “Wonderful the Way I Feel” and “One Big Holiday,” respectively. Bridwell also joined Dinosaur Jr on the main stage before reemerging in the evening with his own Band of Horses. Other highlights included Courtney Marie Andrews, whose captivating presence kicked the Zyn stage off on a powerful note, and Paul Cauthen’s high-octane and infectious blend of funk and country.
Mempho Fest dedicated its third and final day to the soul, gospel, and blues greats that have established its home of Memphis, Tennessee as the most legendary music city on earth. Among the outstanding lineup were Dedicated Men of Zion and Faith & Harmony, who took up residence on the Shell on Wheels stage all afternoon; electrifying ensemble Billy Allen & The Pollies, critically acclaimed duo The War and Treaty, the always-endearing Devon Gilfillian, and soul-pop maestros Lake Street Dive, who even broke out a cover of The Pointer Sisters’ toe-tapping number, “Automatic.” Red dirt country crooners Turnpike Troubadours topped the night with a smoldering grande finale, featuring prime cuts from their long-awaited release, A Cat in the Rain, plus crowd-pleasing singalongs like “Long Hot Summer Day” and “Pay No Rent.”
Closing the curtains on another slam dunk event, Mempho Music Festival is poised to return next year. Follow along at memphofest.com to get the early scoop on tickets, 2024 dates, and more.
Lucius gets up close and personal with the crowd for set closer “Two of
Us On The Run” (Austin Friedline)