Businesses prepare for Beale Street Music Festival
by: Quametra Wilborn
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — We are one day away from Memphis’ largest music festival, and downtown businesses are preparing for the big weekend.
WREG spoke to business owners who say they’re excited that the Beale Street Music Festival has returned.
Farhat Othmani is no stranger to downtown Memphis. Since 2012, he’s been brewing up coffee at Qahwa Coffee Shop for locals, but this weekend, he’s prepared to cater to a different crowd.
“A lot of them come here in the morning, I believe because they’re hungover the day before. So, they are asking for coffee,” said Othmani.
The BSMF is expected to bring thousands of music enthusiasts to the city of Memphis. The festival will take place in the newly renovated Tom Lee Park and along Beale Street.
This is the first time the music festival will be downtown in four years since the COVID pandemic and Tom Lee Park’s 60-million-dollar renovations. Last year, all Memphis in May festivities were moved to Liberty Park.
“It’s almost like it didn’t exist to us– to the downtown people,” said Othmani. “Like okay, Memphis in May. What is the charm? Where is the fun? Where is the crowd?”
Othmani says every year, the festival brings in huge revenue for hotels and businesses downtown. Newcomers like Dana Bunke, owner of Crazy Grander Coffee Company, say she’s ready.
“We’ve staffed up. We’re ready for a crowd. We’re hopeful that a crowd comes through,” Bunke said, whose coffee shop opened two years ago.
This will be her first time experiencing what the festival has to offer the downtown economy.
“There’s been so much happening in the background while the pandemic has been going on for construction and new things going on downtown,” Bunke said. “Hopefully, people will just come here, and it’ll be something they didn’t expect, and they don’t want to leave.”
Beale Street Music Festival festivities start Friday at 4 p.m.