Recommended parking spaces for Beale Street Music Festival; Tom Lee Park prepares for festival goers

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 10:23 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2023 at 3:31 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tom Lee Park is being transformed into a magical world that will offer great music all weekend. The gates open at 5 p.m. this Friday, May 5, for the start of the 2023 Beale Street Music Festival.

Action News 5 is taking action for festival goers, scouting out the best places to park in downtown Memphis. Finding a parking space shouldn’t be a problem. But with car thefts and car break-ins leading the city’s crime problems right now according to Memphis Police, where you park and what you leave in your car matters.

“Fans coming to the Beale Street Music Festival,” said Randy Blevins, V.P. of Marketing & Promotion for Memphis In May, “if you’ve been before, you still approach the site the same way you always have. And there’s plenty of parking in the city center. It’s a matter of finding your favorite garage.”

There are more than 17,000 parking spaces in the core of Downtown Memphis: parking lots, garages, and metered spots. Most are within a half mile of Tom Lee Park, requiring a short 10-15 minute walk to get to entrances on the north and south end of the park.

Premium Parking teamed with the Downtown Memphis Commission to provide a safer parking experience with:

  • Security staff in marked vehicles
  • License plate recognition cameras
  • Active security cameras.

DMC-operated garages include:

  • Shopper’s Garage
  • First Place Parking
  • Gayoso Garage
  • 250 Peabody Place
  • 81 N Second Street

DMC officials tell Action News 5 the new, $40 million Mobility Center being built next to the Orpheum Theatre at Beale and South Main Street, with 960 parking spots, will not be finished until July. But there are plenty of alternatives where you can park your car. Just make sure you don’t leave any valuables inside of it.

Memphis Police data showed 116 cars were stolen last weekend and another 96 cars were broken into. And the weekend of the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in December, MPD data revealed 100 cars were stolen and thieves broke into another 75 cars.

Enjoying a safe weekend, seeing artists you love perform live, will be music to the ears of Beale Street Music Festival fans. MIM’s Blevins wants to remind everyone that the Blues Tent is in Handy Park on Beale Street this year, and it’s easy to stop by the iconic street as you head toward Tom Lee Park.

“We’re wide open,” said Blevins, “Any parking spot that’s close and makes sense for you as you’re traveling, and how you like to come and go out of downtown, we would say go for it. Maybe go catch a quick blues band on Beale Street or a cocktail and come on down to the festival.”

Music Fest starts Friday and runs through Sunday.

Heads up: the University of Memphis is holding its largest graduation ever, with more than 2700 graduates walking the stage at FedExForum this Saturday, May 6. There will be three ceremonies: 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 5 p.m.

Expect heavy traffic and the parking lots around the Forum to be filled.

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