MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and other Memphis in May events were canceled Thursday due to the new coronavirus outbreak in the Tennessee city.
In March, Memphis in May events were pushed to late September and October in hopes that the virus outbreak would have slowed down.
But virus cases and hospitalizations in Memphis have risen in recent days, delaying a planned move to ease restrictions on businesses such as restaurants and retail stores this week.
Memphis in May’s board of directors met on Thursday and decided to cancel this year’s events due to public safety concerns, a statement posted on its website said.
Both the music festival and the barbecue cooking contest are the cornerstones of the city’s monthlong tourist event in May. They attract music fans and barbecue cooking teams from around the world.
This Mississippi River city relies heavily on tourism revenue from Memphis in May.
“The annual Memphis in May is an important part of the cultural fabric of our city, but this pandemic has impacted large scale public events worldwide and Memphis is no exception.” said James L. Holt, president of the Memphis in May International Festival, in the statement.
The Lumineers, Three 6 Mafia, The Avett Brothers, Lil Wayne and The Smashing Pumpkins were among the musical acts scheduled to perform at the music festival before the postponement.