901 Now: Memphis man vying for community support to keep Memphis Music Room open

Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 5:43 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In Memphis, a music complex could go on mute without the community’s help.

The Memphis Music Room is a colossal space for the entertainment and arts community, but its creator says not enough local artists are aware it exists.

Johnny Bennett, the founder of the Memphis Music Room, said he’s working to prevent his money and passion from going to waste.

“I did this for Memphis,” Bennett said. “I did this to create a legacy and future for our students and musicians, and artists who are here and for tourists who love Memphis like I do.”

On approx. 8.5 acres, the music complex can hold a thousand-plus people. The complex hosts music education programs, local artists, and bands with over a dozen rooms and studios.

Programs stretched across the city use the space, but there’s one issue:

“We feel as if we have an awareness problem with the city, to know that we exist here and that people can come to hear live music here,” Bennett said. “Our dream for it has been happening slowly but surely.”

The vision started in 2021 and opened to the community in 2022.

Now in 2023, Bennett says the complex has what the community needs but needs more of the community’s support.

“If the Memphis Music Room closed down, it would be tragic for all the students that are studying here, for potential students that are studying here, and have a real physical way to engage with our culture and to see what Memphis is all about,” Bennett said.

While the future of the space is unsure, Bennett says he refuses to close the doors on a space that gives local artists a platform.

“Every week I meet a new artist, like, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve never met that person before or even heard of them,’” Bennett said. “So us discovering these people that have always been here but just never had a platform to be consistently showcased.”

Memphis Music Room is looking to partner with individuals and businesses to support our mission, and that of the Memphis Music School, which is to facilitate economic activity for Memphis Artists and Musicians.

Visit their website, Memphis Music Room - The Premier Music Venue in Memphis to learn more about its mission.

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