Artwork by Ella Benitone
The third annual Mempho Music Festival held at Shelby Farms on Oct. 19 and 20. At last year’s festival, I got to interview the festival director, Diego Winegardner, about the changes that would be made to this year’s festival. Many of these changes were made to this year’s festival to make it a great experience.
The first change to this year’s festival was that there was a new festival director, Memphian Mike Smith. Mr. Smith gladly answered some of the questions I had about the changes.
One of the main changes Mr. Winegardner had talked about last year was making the festival longer and doubling the number of stages. However, Mr. Smith said that these changes were “not in the cards for this year.” Mr. Winegardner also wanted to make a “more rigorous and open application process” so more local artists could perform at the festival. Out of the 18 acts this year, eight were local artists. Two of the local bands playing at Mempho were Summer Avenue and Lord T and Eloise.
Other new changes that were made to this year’s festival were the addition of retail shopping, a sports lounge to watch football and baseball and upgraded parking areas. Mr. Smith said the Mempho team was inspired to make these changes based on comments left by festival attendees from last year.
Many people have noticed that they did not know who many of the artists playing. Mr. Smith said the selection process for the festival depended a lot on Memphis, itself. There was a team of people who “look[ed] at submissions from booking agents” to try and find which artists’ music was being played the most in the Memphis area and if any of them had connections to Memphis.
When talking about last year’s lineup, Mr. Winegardner said that Mempho was trying to aim towards a more teenage/young adult demographic which they achieved with their choice of artists. However, when looking at this year’s lineup it appeared as though Mempho was trying to change their demographic towards adults. When asked about this possible switch, Mr. Smith said, “We [Mempho] try and get a little something for everyone. There are so many acts to choose from and Memphis is such a diverse community it’s hard to make everyone happy.”
This year’s festival had big performances with artists such as LovelytheBand, The Revivalists, Brandi Carlile, and many more. Even if teen attendees didn’t know many of these artists, Mr. Smith hoped that many younger people would still come so they “may be exposed to some new music.”
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