The Rocket Blog

Lean on our staff's experience - as both native Memphians and music fans - and get the most out of your #BSMF17 weekend. 

Beale Street Music Fest: A Survival Guide
By Katie Mars and Alli Dillard on May 2, 2017

Here at RocketFuel, we are professional fun-havers. Here are some tips from our staff (based on our own experiences) on how to get the most out of your #BSMF17 weekend. 

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Know Before You Go

1. Buy tickets straight from the source.

And nowhere else. There are some real-life horror stories about folks who purchase fake or illegally copied tickets from a scalper. To avoid this possibility, get tickets the old-fashioned, official way.

 

2. Arrive early to explore, unwind, or stake out that one spot waaay up front.

Gates open daily at these times:

  • Friday - 5:00 pm

  • Saturday - 1:00 pm

  • Sunday - 1:00 pm

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3. Will Call tickets can be picked up on the North end of Tom Lee Park.

For the directionally-challenged (no judgments), the North gate is the one closest to Mud Island. If you’re using Will Call, don’t forget to bring a photo ID!

 

4. Driving to BSMF? Park at Martyr’s Park.

Martyr’s Park is a hidden gem of downtown Memphis situated only a 5-minute walk from BSMF’s South entrance, and you can take advantage of the free public parking lot. During weekends when there’s not a big event downtown, Martyr’s Park is the perfectly serene and shaded picnic spot you’ve been pining for, so you should add it to your rotation of outdoor hangout spots.

 

5. Biking to BSMF? Know your rack sites.

We applaud you for getting some exercise while you lower your carbon footprint, but you should be aware that your bike is not allowed inside the park. It must be parked and locked outside the festival gates. You can use one of the many bike racks downtown or the designated bike parking zone on Riverside Drive at Union Avenue.

 

6. Drinking at BSMF? Here’s a number you should know: (901) 577-7777.

Uber and Lyft rates will peak during festival hours, and wait times will increase. If the expected fare is more than you want to shell out, take a Yellow Cab. Luckily, the company’s phone number is easy to remember, no matter how much you imbibe: press 5, then hit 7 until they arrive to collect your drunk self! After all, their motto is, “You drink. We drive.”

 

7. Lock it up.

Entertainment Lockers are $15 per day or $40 for all 3 days. If you reserve a 3-day locker, you can leave items in it OVERNIGHT. So cool. PLUS, you can charge your phone at the locker station. These may sell out, so be sure to reserve one here!

 

8. Find shelter in the Blues Tent.

For the most entertaining kind of history lesson, check out the amazing (and often underrated) talent the Blues Tent attracts. Pop in for a break from the main stages, and take advantage of the chairs. Don’t be surprised if you discover some new favorite artists while you are there. Memphis is called the Home of the Blues for a reason.

Who What Wear

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9. #OOTD

Keep in mind that everyone’s BSMF outfits will leave a little more stained than they were when they came in. Chances of getting caught in the crossfire of rain, sweat, mud, beer spills and mosh pits are likely. To stay on the safe side, leave your nicer clothes at home.

 

10. Measure your backpack.

It’s gotta be 12” x 12” or smaller to wear into the festival. Otherwise, you’re left at the gate deciding whether to toss it or trek back to your car to stash it (which means you have to wait in the entry line all over again).

 

11. Bring a blanket.

Blankets are definitely allowed, and we recommend packing one that’s waterproof so you can sit on if there’s rain in the forecast. (Spoiler alert: there’s always rain in the forecast.) If you’re feeling crafty, here’s a Martha Stewart tutorial on how to make your own.

 

12. Keep your phone in a plastic Ziploc bag.

You’ll thank us later…

 

13. Stay hydrated.

Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to get parched when you’re caught up in all the excitement. According to festival rules, you can bring an unopened 20 oz. bottle of water or a Camelback with you to the park. You may need to buy more bottled water later on, but this tip can help you save a few bucks on your beverage budget.

 

14. Stay clean-ish.

Keep a travel pack of baby wipes with you. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but the combination of sweat + mud is a terrible one. It’s best to be prepared.

 

15. Sunscreen! All Day, Erryday.

We’ve gone over rain preparation tactics, but prepare for sun, too. If you risk a sunburn during the Friday shows, you’re gonna hurt during the rest of the weekend. Basically, check yourself before you wreck yourself.

 

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16. Never wear flip-flops. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

Consider the longstanding tradition of mud at this event: while not guaranteed, it is always possible. But don’t go barefoot either because you will not be allowed past the gates without shoes. We recommend some sturdy, waterproof footwear. Galoshes are our go-to.

 

17. Bring ponchos. Lots of ponchos.

Typically worn to protect people ~and their outfits~ from the elements, ponchos are also handy to sit on when your legs need a rest but the ground is unforgiving (i.e. muddy AF). Try this $6.00 3-pack from Amazon or something similar.

 

18. Running low on snack funds? Sell extra ponchos!

Soggy, drunk people will give up some dollars for a plastic shelter. If you see someone looking desperate in the crowd, offer them a poncho for, say, $10.00? Then use that cash to buy beer or funnel cake. (Just kidding, we know you’ll buy beer and funnel cake).

Don't Be That Guy (or Girl)

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19. Consider your headwear.

Leave the flower crown at home, unless you want to look like a 14-year-old who got lost at Coachella. Memphis just ain’t California, y’all.

 

20. Selfie sticks stay home.

Sorry folks, but you should keep the following items at home: selfie sticks, drones, beverages (other than the aforementioned 20 oz. unopened water bottle for this event), cameras, cans, containers, coolers, food, glass bottles, laser pointers, lawn chairs, oversized umbrellas, pets, recording equipment, roller blades, roller skates, water guns, strollers, thrown objects (baseballs, footballs, frisbees, etc.) and weapons (including pocket knives). These items are NOT ALLOWED at Tom Lee Park at any time, but especially during BSMF when there are so many people packed in together.

 

21. Don’t give in to mediocre food options.

Unless it’s truly what your heart desires, don’t feel like you are limited to the carnival-ish food offered within the bounds of the park. You are allowed to leave the festival and re-enter once per day, which you can use to walk down Main Street for mid-afternoon sustenance. It’s never a bad idea to take a break from a festival crowd, nor is it a bad idea to try a new downtown restaurant (or, of course, an old standby). 

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We hope this information will help prepare you for a hella fun time!

 

For more event details, and anything we missed, check out the BSMF FAQ page.

And hey, that’s a nice looking site, huh? Designed and powered by RocketFuel, naturally.