Market Overview

Memphis in May Announces Record-Setting Economic Impact and Financial Results


Memphis in May Announces Record-Setting Economic Impact and Financial Results

Festival Boasts Sustained Growth Year-Over-Year

PR Newswire

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Aug. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- At the Memphis in May 2018 Annual Meeting last week, Festival officials announced the results of the forty-second annual month-long festival, and the economic impact and revenue numbers were record-breaking.  

Memphis in May enjoyed its second consecutive year of record-setting gross revenues with 2018 finishing at $10.9 million, an increase of 12% over 2017 and 29% over 2016.  The organization ended the year with a total surplus over expenses of more than $523,000

The Beale Street Music Festival contributed $4.5 million, nearly half of the organization's 2018 total gross revenue, thanks to a lineup featuring headliners Post Malone, Alanis Morissette, Jack White, Erykah Badu, Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, Logic, Tyler the Creator and Odesza.  Topping 2017's attendance of 88,898, the 2018 BSMF attracted 102,507 ticket holders from all fifty states and twenty-two countries, and boasted a sellout on Sunday, May 6. 

The second-largest of the Memphis in May events, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, drew 75,971 attendees to the competition that featured more than 225 teams from twenty-four states and five countries vying for the title of World Champion at the event USAToday called "the world's most prestigious barbecue competition."

Following this year's Festival, Memphis in May commissioned an independent firm, Younger Associates, to conduct an Economic Impact Study to assess the effect the month-long festival has on the area's economy. 

"The extension of the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest to four days was the most significant factor in the Memphis in May International Festival's increased impact," said Sharon Younger, President of Younger Associates. "Visitors from outside the area stayed longer, and as a result, spent more money while in Shelby County."

The 2017 study found a record-setting economic impact of $111.9 million, but that record was broken with the announcement that the 2018 economic impact of the Memphis in May International Festival was just over $137.7 million.  Additionally, the Festival events contributed more than $3.5 million in local tax revenues and supported 1300 full-time-equivalent jobs.

"As the Official Festival of the City of Memphis, part of our mission has always been to foster economic growth, and we are proud of the opportunity Memphis in May had this year to positively impact the local economy with such tremendous results," said James L. Holt, President and CEO of Memphis in May.  "We have been fortunate to see year-over-year growth, and that's a trend that sets us apart among civic festivals."

2019 Memphis in May Festival dates:
Beale Street Music Festival: May 3 - 5, 2019
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 15 - 18, 2019
Great American River Run: May 25, 2019
Celebrate Memphis: May 25, 2019

For more information visit

About Memphis in May 
Memphis in May is a not for profit, community-based organization, whose programs in 2018 contributed more than $137.7 million in economic impact to the community, fostered civic pride, promoted awareness of Memphis' heritage, and built international relationships and understanding through education. 

Memphis in May is the recipient of 206 prestigious Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival and Events Association and has been named to Travel+Leisure's international list of Festivals Worth Traveling For.  The Beale Street Music Festival was named one of the World's Top Festivals by Fest300 and made Forbes' list of "5 Underrated Music Festivals You Should Attend."  In 2018, Memphis topped CNN Travel's list of international destinations to visit in May specifically because of the Memphis in May events.

About Younger Associates 
Younger Associates is a market research and economic development consulting firm established in 1990. The firm has been recognized by the Economic Development Administration, the International Economic Development Council and other professional associations for the quality of work produced. Their methodology is utilized in courses at the Economic Development Institute and recognized by the International Economic Development Council.  Recent projects include an impact study for a World Equestrian Center currently under construction, and for the operations of Space X.

Media Inquiries: Robert Griffin / Memphis in May
(901) 525-4611


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