For a festival that, two years ago, counted among its headliners Nelly, the Killers, Los Lonely Boys, and the Roots, its hard not to notice a diminishing presence of high-profile contemporary acts. This years contenders in that regard include neo-soul newbies John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae on Sunday night, hard-rockers Hinder, also on Sunday, and alt-rock bands Wolfmother and Taking Back Sunday on Saturday.
Among the staples of yesteryear, the Allman Brothers Band, Steely Dan, and the Ohio Players will represent the 70s, while the festival seems to have followed the lead of VH-1, transitioning from the "I Love the 80s" acts that peppered last years lineup (Huey Lewis, Billy Idol) to more I Love the 90s variety this year (Counting Crows, Barenaked Ladies, Papa Roach).
As for Memphis music, the city is well represented as always, from pioneers such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Bobby Blue Bland to soul-era stars Ann Peebles and The Bar-Kays to contemporary staples such as Three 6 Mafia and the North Mississippi Allstars.
This years Beale Street Music Festival Lineup:
Friday, May 4: The Allman Brothers Band, Three 6 Mafia, Koko Taylor, Gym Class Heroes, Govt Mule, Social Distortion, Richard Johnston, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chevelle, Hubert Sumlin & Willie Big Eyes Smith, Plain White Ts, The Derek Trucks Band, North Mississippi Allstars, Popa Chubby.
Saturday, May 5: Steely Dan, Godsmack, George Thorogood, Bobby Blue Bland, The Bar-Kays, Wolfmother, The Ohio Players, Walter Trout & the Radicals, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Taking Back Sunday, Taj Mahal, Ryan Shaw, Kelley Hunt, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jacks Mannequin, The John Butler Trio, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Eddie Floyd, Hawthorne Heights, Keller Williams, David Honeyboy Edwards, One Less Reason, The Duhks, Daddy Mack Blues Band.
Sunday, May 6: Counting Crows, John Legend, Hinder, Elvin Bishop, Barenaked Ladies, Corinne Bailey Rae, Daughtry, Tab Benoit, Guster, Edwin McCain, Project Pat, Backdoor Slam, Umphreys McGee, Ann Peebles, Papa Roach, Watermelon Slim, Billy Lee Riley, Egypt Central, The Lee Boys, James Super Chikan Johnson. For more info, see MemphisinMay.org.