Putting a fresh spin on a startup music festival is no easy task these days, urban or otherwise, but Mempho has a leg up: decades of rich music history in Memphis, Tennessee. The newly announced two-day fest, due to take place on October 6th and 7th, also has something else in its favor: headlining sets from Jason Isbell, Cage the Elephant, and Anderson .Paak.
Held at the 4,500-acre Shelby Farms Park near downtown Memphis, one of the largest urban parks in the country, Mempho is intended to mix nature – including bike trails, canoeing, zip-lining, and horseback riding – with food, craft beer and wine, and barbecue. And, of course, music. Isbell, who's currently on the road with his band the 400 Unit, will be slotting his Mempho appearance on October 7th, right before his sold-out, five-night residency at the Ryman Auditorium, just three hours away in Nashville.
Fellow Grammy winners Cage the Elephant won't have nearly so much luxury in their schedule, though, as they'll be headlining Mempho on October 6th and then performing at Cal Jam in San Bernardino, California the next day. Besides Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, the first-time fest's lineup includes Cold War Kids, Bishops Briggs, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Hard Working Americans, Southern Avenue, JoJo's Slim Wednesday, the Weeks, and Dan Luke and the Raid.
Mempho, which is produced by Big River Presents and counts Rolling Stones pianist Chuck Leavell as a special advisor, will also showcase some of Memphis' music history through a pair of tribute performances. Legendary Stax Records guitarist Steve Cropper will appear with his band, Steve Cropper & Friends, and his former band mate, Booker T. Jones, will lead his Booker T. Presents: A Stax Revue and a Journey Through Soul, Blues, and R&B.
Early bird tickets for Mempho go on sale next Thursday, July 13th, with general on-sale tickets available the following day, Friday, July 14th.