The second annual Mempho Music Festival took place Oct. 6-7 at Shelby Farms Park and brought popular music artists to Memphis including Post Malone, Beck, Janelle Monáe and Nas.
Masses of attendees arrived at the two-day festival with sunglasses and Mexican blankets. The thick scent of sunscreen wafted in the hot, summery air that surrounded the grassy-green field. Two large stages boomed jovial tunes from their speakers that vibrated the field and brought the festival to life.
“Memphis deserves a world-class music festival,” Diego Winegardner, director of Mempho Fest, said. “There’s no reason why this city can’t have something as relevant, as important, as a Coachella or a Lollapalooza or one of the big ones.”
Winegardner said he made an effort this year to make Mempho cater to fans of multiple genres. Headlining acts on the first day of Mempho included Juicy J and Project Pat, Beck, Phoenix and Janelle Monáe.
The second day of Mempho brought Memphis live performances from Nas, Post Malone, Mac Demarco and Rich the Kid amongst others. Rapper Famous Dex also performed in a surprise appearance at the festival.
“We’re here for Mac Demarco,” Ethan Farris, a 23-year-old attendee, said. “He’s an indie rock guy, really weird. He’s like a funny dude, super involved, puts on good concerts, so we’re super excited about it.”
This year, Mempho allowed attendees to camp out on the 43,000-acre plot of the festival. Winegardner said around 200-300 attendees of the festival were campers. He also said he encountered one camper who said he came to the festival all the way from Wisconsin.
“The camping is pretty awesome,” Hannah Day, a 28-year old attendee and camper at the festival, said. “The bathrooms over there and the showers are super clean because there’s hardly anyone camping, and everyone’s chill over there, so it’s a nice camping experience.”
Aside from enjoying live performances, festival-goers were also able to enjoy a variety of food options such as tacos, quesadillas, shrimp and barbecue. Merchandise tents offered shirts of artists performing at the festival, tapestries and more. One tent, Mr. B’s Festival Needs General Store, sold items attendees might have not known they’d need to bring, such as condoms, anti-diarrheal medicine and bug spray.
“We kind of scale the inventory to what the event is going to be like,” Brendan Sheehan, the owner of Mr. B’s, said. “At this one, a lot more of the blankets are going to sell because they don’t want people bringing chairs.”
The Silent Disco tent opened up at the festival at 7 p.m. Attendees would enter the large tent, be given a set of headphones and dance to one of three music channels that featured a live DJ.
“You can party until 6 in the morning if you want without disturbing other campers,” Laurel James, a DJ at the Silent Disco tent, said. “It just helps with noise ordinance things.”
Winegardner said this is just the beginning for Mempho Music Festival, and he looks forward to expanding the brand. He added that he plans to double the number of stages, increase the festival to three days, add more activities and expand the festival to other areas in Shelby Farms Park when next year comes.
“What we want to make sure is we continue to develop the fan experience here beyond just music on a stage,” Winegardner said. “We really want to make this thing something that’s for all families, all ages, all races.”