For the past 3 months, the promoters behind Beale St. Music Festival have been slowly leaking their lineup via their Facebook page. No other festival on the US market comes close to being as transparent with their bookings. That being said, today makes all those Facebook “Likes” official with the release of the full lineup. There are a few things that makes this festival so special, one being the price tag. $65-$85 (depending on when you purchase) for a 3 day music festival of this scale is absolutely unheard of. Another being the proximity to Beale St. itself. You can enjoy a day full of great music, then walk just a few blocks and party the night away on one of the most famous streets in the south.
This year, Beale St. Music Festival delivered its most diverse and “hip” lineup yet. Famous for booking at least few acts every year your parents would love, it also gives patrons the opportunity to satisfy their guilty pleasures, without the embarrassment of admitting you bought a ticket to see a Papa Roach headlining show. Since we already have the complete schedule, let’s break down each day and analyze the various conflicts.
Friday you definitely need to start your festival off with The Joy Formidable at the Bud Light Stage. They are a hard shredding trio with a gorgeous front woman who can play the guitar better than any man I’ve ever met.
From there, you have the choice of joining the balding middle aged crowd at The Wallflowers, or stay at the Bud Light Stage and enjoy the bass thumping EDM offerings of Mimosa. “But Festivalsnob, who is this Yngwie Malmsteen guy?” Trust me, you want no part of that crowd.
The next conflict is a tough one, well almost, considering your parents are most likely going to be at the Orion Stage rocking out to Sheryl Crow. The crowd should be well split between Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Deftones. While other 90s rock/alternative bands have progressively gotten worse, Deftones released some of their best work late last year with their new album “Koi No Yoakn”.
The headlining acts on Friday night are a well thought out split of genres and musical taste. You have the heavy 90s metal riffs of Alice in Chains, though without their deceased original lead vocalist Layne Staley, on the Fedex Stage. Over on the Orion Stage, Hall & Oates, excuse me, Daryl Hall & John Oates, will be busting out the soulful 80s pop hits. Don’t sleep on this duo, there is no shame in dancing like no one is around to “You Make My Dreams” and sharing a slow dance with the crowd during “Sarah Smile”. And last but not least, the park will be shaking over at the Bud Light Stage when Bassnectar gets going. One of the most popular American US EDM producers, Lorin (Bassnectar) has a long reputation of delivering face melting live shows. The year you were born in, and how many glowsticks you brought with you, will determine how much you enjoy this set. Expect the average age of the crowd for this show to hover below 20.
While most 3 day music festivals tend to use Saturday to highlight the best acts on their lineup, the Saturday lineup for Beale St. Music Festival is surprisingly light. However, your day should no doubt start out with Jake Bugg over on the Orion Stage. The English songwriter is an up and comer who should not be missed.
From there you’ve got a choice between Pickwick, an indie rock band out of Seattle, a living legend Jerry Lee Lewis, and the 90s alternative band Cracker. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with any of these 3. Though Jerry Lee Lewis is almost guaranteed to make an appearance at the festival every year.
Next up is Mavis Staples vs. Patti Smith vs. Big Boi. This is yet another tough conflict where you can’t go wrong at any stage. You’ve got the haunting poetic voice of Patti Smith on the FedEx Stage, the soulful gospel voice of Mavis Staples on the Orion Stage, and the hip-hop heavy hitter Big Boi on the Bug Light Stage. Personally, this will be a game time decision for me, and completely a result in my current mood at the time.
The next conflict will be an easy one depending on your musical tastes. Honky tonk country legend Dwight Yoakam will most likely pull a strong crowd, if not only from the people waiting to get a good spot for The Black Keys. Over on the Bug Light Stage you’ve got pop rock pianist Gavin DeGraw. If you end up at this set be sure to check out the scenery, as the crowd should be full of MILFs. Gov’t Mule will be bringing the southern jam rock sound to the Orion Stage. Most widely known for their original group, The Allman Brothers, Warren Haynes and Allen Woody always deliver brilliant live performances. Check this one out and enjoy a good contact buzz.
The Saturday night headliners leave a little to be desired. The biggest crowd will no doubt be over at the FedEx Stage for The Black Keys. While the alt blues rock duo are a great act to see, their non-stop touring makes it possible to comfortably skip their set without fear of not getting to see them any time soon. Over on the Bug Light Stage hip-hop band The Roots will headline. There is no such thing as a bad performance from The Roots, led by ?uestlove keeping the rhythm on drums. If somehow you’ve been living under a rock and aren’t familiar with The Roots, they’re also the house band for late night comedian Jimmy Fallon. American blues rock legends ZZ Top will be closing the Orion Stage Saturday night. The average age for this set will definitely be higher than the others, but there is no shame in rocking out to the long list of classic hits ZZ Top has.
Rounding out Saturday night will be a first time ever Late Night show at Tom Lee Park featuring young EDM producer Porter Robinson.
The Sunday of Beale St. Music Festival is by far the most stacked of any other. If this year plays out like years past, I will be recovering from a massive hangover due to partying too hard on Beale St. the night before. This usually means a late start back to the festival. And thats OK as the first round of conflicts don’t offer too much.
So if you’re like me, you’ll most likely be starting your Sunday deciding between Deer Tick, Public Enemy, and Vintage Trouble. All three are great musical acts and a complete toss-up. You’ve got John McCauley’s alt-country group Deer Tick (not be confused with the 100 other band names that start with Deer) playing on the Bud Light Stage. If this was a guaranteed Deervana (the occasional Nirvana tribute the band plays) set it would be a no brainer. However, I think having never seen legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy before will win me over.
Next up is Papa Roach vs. Gary Clark Jr. vs AWOLNATION. Gary Clark Jr. has been promoted to a main stage after playing in the Blues Tent last year where he melted the crowd with his guitar riffs. However, if you’re looking to relive your younger years and mosh with your horns up, you can always head on over to the FedEx Stage and check out Papa Roach. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone either. The electro pop alternative group AWOLNATION will be on the Orion Stage. As long as you get there before the end to hear “Sail”, you won’t miss much.
The next round of conflicts is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. How in the world Beale St. Music Festival decided that Phoenix was not headlining material is beyond me. They are a top 3 headliner at every other festival this year. Sorry Lucero and Three Days Grace, but you’re most likely going to be playing to a relatively small crowd. With a brand new album due to drop this spring, french outfit Phoenix will be buzzing by the time the festival rolls around. I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see Phoenix bumped up ahead of The Flaming Lips by the time its all said and done.
That brings us to our last conflict of the festival. The Flaming Lips, The Smashing Pumpkins, and The Black Crowes. Absolutely brutal tear jerking conflict. While The Flaming Lips are always touring with the same show production, no one can deny that being showered in confetti and balloons is a bad time. The Smashing Pumpkins rarely appear on large US festival lineups these days. One of the most popular bands out of the 90s, The Smashing Pumpkins are only kept alive by lead singer Billy Corgan. Chris Robinson led American rock band The Black Crowes will be closing out the festival over at the Bud Light Stage. Fresh off of a 2 year hiatus, the band will draw quite the crowd eager and ready to scream “HEY LITTLE THING LET ME LIGHT YOUR CANDLE ‘CAUSE MAMA I’M SURE TO HANDLE NOW GETS AROUND” at the top of their lungs.
Tickets for this years festival are sure to sell out! Act fast, there is no excuse with the price tag to skip this festival! Tickets can be purchased here. Limited Single Day tickets are also currently available.