Beale Street Music Fest 2016: Who to Watch 

A handful of must-see bands at Beale Street Music Fest 2016

Neil Young and the Promise of the Real

Neil Young and the Promise of the Real

Beale Street Music Festival recently released the complete musical lineup for this year's weekend-long concert. Here's a small sample of some of the talent that will be rockin' on the river this year.

Friday, April 29th

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Neil Young. On the river, the first night of Beale Street Music Fest. Do I really need to tell you to be there? Do you like music? Good answer. I thought we were about to have a problem. In all seriousness, if this doesn't get you excited, you may need to check your pulse.


These platinum-selling pop-punkers have been at it for over 20 years, releasing hit after hit in between throwing parties on cruise ships and collaborating with current stars like Best Coast. Weezer will be on tour with Panic! At the Disco, who are also playing Friday night.

Julien Baker

Memphis' biggest breakout star of 2015 keeps killing it, landing a spot on Beale Street Music Fest after a solid year of touring and seeing her name on every music-media outlet that's relevant. Her first album, Sprained Ankle made plenty of year-end lists, but we were already onto Baker before she became a media darling. See our cover story on her from last summer for proof.

Trampled by Turtles

Minnesota's Trampled by Turtles have seen their fair amount of success since forming in 2003, and the alt-country band will be setting out on a long tour with the Devil Makes Three shortly after their performance on Friday night. No stranger to festivals, the band has also played San Francisco's Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Firefly Festival, Rock the Garden, and the All Good Music Festival.

Saturday, April 30th

Yo Gotti

The king of Memphis has been on a tear lately, releasing hit after hit of club-ready, social-media-referencing rap songs. If Yo Gotti keeps up his summer show at Mud Island, this could mean that two epic outdoor Gotti concerts are heading your way soon. Yo Gotti put the city on his back, and his love for Memphis is well-known. Don't miss Yo Gotti, and remember, it goes down in the DM.

Violent Femmes

Violent Femmes are no strangers to Memphis, having played the iconic Antenna club and, more recently, the Mud Island Amphitheater. The band has been active since 1980 and are best known for their quirky hit "Blister in the Sun," although they've also had hits with "Kiss Off" and "Gone Daddy Gone."

Cypress Hill

Who can forget the group that sang "Tell Bill Clinton to go and inhale?" Other than Snoop Dogg, no other artist or group personifies what it means to be a stoner better than Cypress Hill, the group that brought you songs like "Hits from the Bong," "Superstar," and "Dr. Greenthumb." Cypress Hill were the first Latino-American rap artists to go platinum, and their music is immediately recognizable, as is B-Real's high-pitched vocal approach. Get ready to go insane in the membrane.

Moon Taxi

Nashville's Moon Taxi also earned a spot on Coachella, and their Day Breaker tour sees the band getting a slot on Beale Street Music Fest. Active since 2006, the band played the David Letterman Show and has had television placements from companies like BMW, HBO, the MLB, and the NFL.

Sunday, May 1st


Beck is back, only this time he'll be at Tom Lee Park instead of the Mud Island Amphitheater. The Los Angeles singer/songwriter always puts on a great show, and his collaboration with Jay Reatard was proof that while Beck is definitely big time, he still keeps his ear to the underground. Anyone who was at his Mud Island show knows that Beck is not to be missed.

Paul Simon

Paul Simon has been a hit factory since the '60s, cranking out songs like "Mrs. Robinson," "The Sounds of Silence," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." He was awarded the first Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007 and has written music for Broadway and television. He's been on Saturday Night Live 14 times and has 12 Grammy awards, making him one of the most successful artists on the entire Music Fest lineup.


Grammy award-winner Zedd plays the last night of Beale Street Music Fest, and if the hype around this artist is any indication, his set should be a gigantic dance party. Mixing elements of electronic music with pop sensibilities, Zedd makes music larger than life, and he's got the hardware to prove that he's making some of the most influential music of the genre.

Alex da Ponte

Alex da Ponte just released her latest album, and the local artist is one of many worth catching over Music Fest weekend. On All My Heart, da Ponte wears her emotions on her sleeve, making for an earnest and honest album that will get stuck in your head after only a couple listens. Her song "Nevermind" is already a local hit, but don't expect da Ponte to stay local for long.

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett had a spectacular 2015 due to her amazing album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit. We had her album and her Third Man Records single as some of our favorites of the year, so we'll take credit for this one. You're welcome.

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