MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 3/27/2020 - The new dates have been set for the Beale Street Music Festival. Memphis in May organizers say the annual festival at Time Lee Park will now happen October 16th - 18th. And organizers say a majority of the previously announced line-up will be able to perform.
3/19/2020 - It's official. Memphis in May, including the Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, are being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following release was issued by Memphis in May officials Thursday:
“After closely monitoring guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and local health officials, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have been instructed by authorities with the City of Memphis that our 2020 festival events cannot be held as originally scheduled in May. With the health and safety of our patrons, performers, volunteers, teams, judges, runners and staff as our top priorities, we are working on a fall postponement of the Beale Street Music Festival, International Salute to Ghana, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Great American River Run.
As we are in the process of rescheduling each of these events, we plan to announce details next Friday, March 27, with more specifics, including new event dates. Should ticket buyers, teams or runners find themselves unable to attend on the rescheduled dates, we will also provide the information for receiving a refund of their purchases or fees.
As these are unprecedented times for all of us, Memphis in May encourages all of our fans, supporters and volunteers to stay safe and continue to follow the recommendations of health officials; from frequent hand washing and sanitizing, to working from home if possible and social distancing as much as your situation allows. Let's pull together to help our neighbors, get through this stronger, and make the time we can enjoy on the other side of this crisis that much sweeter. Stay well!”
3/13/2020 - Memphis in May officials say the show must go on... at least right now.
Officials say they are monitoring the situation, but plans right now are to go forward the the 2020 Memphis in May International Festival.
"The 2020 Memphis in May International Festival kicks off in seven weeks and plans are underway for one of our biggest festivals ever!
However, with the COVID-19 virus on everyone’s mind, we want to update and assure our fans that while we are proceeding with our plans, we are also well aware of the recent school closings and festival, event and sports cancellations through the remainder of March and into early April. The current consensus with most of the postponed events is to reevaluate the latest developments in early April and make a new determination going forward. With that in mind, we are constantly monitoring the situation and will continue to do so in the days and weeks leading up to the festival.
We are in close communication with our local government, public safety, and public health officials, as well as peer events and the festival industry association to ensure the preventative steps we are taking will provide the safest events possible for our patrons, performers, volunteers, vendors and staff. Safety is always our first priority.
As the situation develops, should it be determined that our events in May pose a risk to public safety, and if directed by a government authority and or public health organization to cancel them, we will promptly do so. In the unlikely event this occurs, all ticket holders will receive a refund of the ticket expense, and all contest and race participants will receive a refund of their entry fees.
Rest assured we place public safety first, and are taking steps to produce the safe, world-class festival you expect. We are planning a fun, festive and safe time in Memphis this May, and we look forward to welcoming you to the party!
James L. Holt
President & CEO"
3/11/2020 - Coachella is the latest event to postpone due to coronavirus fears but Memphis in May officials say there’s no plan to do the same for Beale Street Music Festival.
Coachella was scheduled to happen the weekends of April 10th and 17th. Event organizers announced Tuesday night it would be postponed to October 9th and 16th.
Memphis in May Vice President of Marketing Robert Griffin said confidently there are no plans to cancel or reschedule any May events including music fest.
Despite other music and sporting events canceling due to coronavirus fears and trying to limit the spread of the virus, Griffin said BSMF is in a different position.
For one, he said, those events are preparing to happen within the next few days or weeks. There are still more than 50 days that separate now and BSMF which begins May 1st.
"I hate to see these others events that are having to pause and it works out to the timing because their timing is hitting right as the concern and the apprehension regarding the coronavirus, and frankly the spread, is ramping up whereas I think we've got a little more time,” Griffin said.
While the full scope of COVID-19 and how it will progress into the summer isn’t yet known, medical experts tend to agree that season flus decrease in the warmer, summer months. That’s reassuring for Memphis in May officials.
Griffin added that tickets to the festival remain strong since the virus outbreak.
Coronavirus in Context:
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.