Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins took the stage in Memphis and surveyed the group at Beale Avenue Music Pageant with emotion welling in his eyes. “That is our first true competition because the lockdown,” he informed a throng of spectators crowded round a stage in a car parking zone beside the ruins of the Mid-South Coliseum. “It feels just like the solar blooming in my coronary heart.”
In Memphis—within the shadow of a legendary music venue whose heyday noticed the likes of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Van Halen—Third Eye Blind’s journey again into music festivals started. “All of it feels so completely regular,” remarked Jenkins after the present. Sing alongs to the band’s 1997 blockbuster hits like “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life” are again. So too are deeper tracks for lifelong followers like 2021’s “Mud Storm.”
“In fact, it’s going to by no means be regular once more,” added Jenkins.
In fact, the set itself was irregular. Third Eye Blind was a last-minute alternative for Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, who cancelled because of the ongoing pandemic. Jenkins mentioned his band was caught so flat-footed that they borrowed a complete crew from fellow California rockers Weezer, who have been scheduled to headline the competition later that evening.
The venue was irregular, too. For many of the previous 45 years, Beale Street Music Festival has been held yearly on the banks of the Mississippi River. And whereas youthful festivals have leveraged points of interest like hearth domes and brewing competitions to attract crowds, the celebration in Memphis has at all times been extra a few mixture of music and breathtaking sunsets over the mirror-like waters of the Mississippi.
Quickly relocated to town’s previous fairgrounds throughout city, guests substituted the river for a ferris wheel.
Nonetheless, this old fashioned competition feels new once more. The lineup for Beale Avenue Music Fest is a chaotic mixture of rock, rap, blues and soul starting from Sammy Hagar to Megan Thee Stallion that appears hodgepodge till town’s historical past with every style is introduced into play. The primary echoes of the blues emanated from the Mississippi Delta by the recording studios of Memphis. The roots of rock n’ roll adopted of their footsteps, whereas town’s soul scene rivaled that of Motown. And in hip-hop, foundational acts like Three 6 Mafia paved the highway for crunk music and far of recent hip-hop at this time.
“Everyone grew up with a Three 6 Mafia music,” emphasised the seminal rap group’s Juicy J, who returned with the Academy Award-winning group to headline the competition’s opening evening. “For those who smoke weed. You hearken to Three 6 Mafia,” he declared earlier than riffing into the opening bars of the group’s shock TikTok hit, “Half on a Sack” in entrance of a frenetic crowd composed of no less than three generations of music followers.
“Again within the day we solely had Three 6,” mentioned Scorching 107 FM DJ Shon Teezy, who was on stage throughout the efficiency. “I bear in mind getting a whoopin’ as a result of I may solely purchase my CDs from Wal-Mart and I bought somebody to purchase me the true model of the primary Three 6 and Challenge Pat data. However Memphis is runnin’ issues proper about now. Moneybagg Yo, NLE Choppa and Duke Deuce are all chart-topping artists from Memphis at this time.”
Teezy now not receives corporal punishment for listening to unedited music; however as Memphis-based Al Kapone rattled off a booming model of “Whoop That Trick,” a de-facto anthem for town’s NBA staff, phrases echoed by Jenkins started to make sense. “There’s a factor that live shows do that you could’t recreate,” mentioned the rocker. “It’s about individuals feeling issues collectively. It’s important to be subsequent to one another. It’s important to keep up a correspondence to do it.”
Memphis-based beerfluencer Jalyn Souchek, identified extensively as Hoppy Hole, agreed with Jenkins. “I believe the isolation of the pandemic makes you neglect how a lot you bond with individuals over music. Music is actually vital to me and there was an enormous void there, so I can’t take with no consideration my expertise of being in a full crowd of followers, consuming a beer, and simply jamming and singing collectively.
“That was the most effective half, sharing music you get pleasure from with individuals once more. You could possibly simply really feel happiness and for me that peaked seeing my bucket-list band, The Smashing Pumpkins.”
After three years of cancellations, refunds and restarts, music festivals are starting to make a big scale comeback nationwide. In California, pop and EDM simply echoed out throughout the Mojave Desert from Coachella. In New Orleans, the swaggering sounds of brass and are booming out from Jazzfest this week. In Chicago and Austin, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits are each scheduled to return star-studded lineups later this 12 months. And in Memphis, the place a lot of America’s music started, Beale Avenue Music Pageant serves as a reminder that the connections solid by stay music can go a great distance in direction of therapeutic what has for therefore many been so damaged.