Memphis in May International

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Memphis in May 2023

International Salute to Malaysia                                  May 1 - 31

Beale Street Music Festival                                         May 5 - May 7

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest    May 17 - 20

Great American River Run                                           May 27  


Tom Lee Park will be the 2023 location for the Beale Street Music Festival, and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.


The Great American River Run will be held in downtown Memphis and along the riverfront with the start/finish line on historic Beale Street.


2022 COVID-19 Policy for Beale Street Music Festival

To ensure the safety, health, and well-being of the Beale Street Music Festival participants, and to comply with various artist’s contractual agreements, volunteers will need to provide proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test to participate in the Beale Street Music Festival volunteer opportunities.  According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

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Committee Selection


The Communications Committee volunteers are responsible for two vital on-site roles, the first is the maintenance and inventorying of communications equipment and the second is to be an information hub for vendors, staff, volunteers, and emergency services.

Festival Services

Festival Services volunteers are the public face of Memphis in May and provide patrons with information about activities.  Volunteers assist staff with executing various auxiliary events, including staffing VIP areas.

Great American River Run

The Great American River Race Half Marathon and 5K is a Memorial Day weekend running event that will pay tribute to past and present servicemen and women. The course will route runners along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River and through downtown Memphis.  A fully staffed "Race Team" comprised of individual volunteers, groups and organizations is critical to the success of the race.    

Honored Nationals

Each year, Memphis in May taps in to the local ethnic community of the honored country.  Individuals and community groups from the honored country’s community are encouraged to join the volunteer ranks to support the celebration of their country.  


Hospitality is a month long committee, which caters to the bands and manages the backstage areas for all of Memphis in May’s events: Beale Street Music Festival, World Championship Barbeque, and Sunset Symphony.

International Education

The committee assists the Memphis in May Education Department in the development of education programming which includes the Children’s Art Poster, International Competitions, World Cargo Crate, as well as the Curriculum Guide. Volunteers also assist securing local host families for students from the honored country and securing staff for the Education Awards Ceremony and the annual International Teacher’s Conference. 

International Programming

Cultural Programming volunteers work closely with Memphis in May staff in the implementation of the International Week which includes installation of exhibits at museums, performance at the Orpheum Theater and  culinary tastings at local venues. Additionally, this committee is responsible for the transportation and hospitality for our honored country’s personalities and performers. Volunteers provide transportation and accompany the honored country’s personalities and performers to meals, shopping, job sites, and local attractions.


Logistics plays an essential role in surveying and marking the locations of event structures and spaces according to the pre-set event map.  The majority of the Logistics Committee’s responsibilities fall around the week leading up to the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.  During that time, committee members mark off the team spaces.

Office Resources

Volunteers with Office Resources assist the Memphis in May staff with vital event related communications.  Committee members are involved with all facets of the festival and are essential to its success.


The Production Committee is responsible for the majority of the pre-event creation and maintenance of Memphis in May materials.  Production is also responsible for assisting in site preparations and solving last minute event issues.


Volunteers with this committee assist in the implementation of the Festival recycling program. Volunteers work in sorting recycled items, assisting in waste diversion and changing bags in the receptacles when needed.


The Transportation Committee is responsible for control of vehicular access into Tom Lee Park and parking areas inside the festival gates.  This includes media, vendors, performers, VIP’s and emergency personnel.

Volunteer Services

Volunteer Services is responsible for supporting the onsite volunteer committees.  Responsibilities for this committee include for Volunteer Check-in, filling gaps in other committees, and preparing/serving food.

WCBCC Administration

The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (WCBCC) Administration Committee and the Volunteer Event Chair are responsible for ensuring a smooth WCBCC event.  Individuals in this committee are responsible to complete set-up and decorating the Judging Tent and Judge’s Hospitality. Additionally, volunteers support the Memphis in May staff and other committee leadership before, during, and after the WCBCC.  Members must develop a full knowledge of volunteer, WCBCC, and event rules and regulations.  

WCBCC Contestants

This committee will act as event ambassadors to the teams by providing information and assistance to the teams participating in the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (WCBCC).  The second responsibility of the Contestants Committee will be the implantation of contestant registration.

WCBCC Judging

Judging Administration volunteers aid in the implantation of the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (WCBCC) judging system.  Volunteers help to receive submission boxes from teams and maintain the integrity of the judging process.

WCBCC Programming

This World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (WCBCC) committee will assist in the implementation of Kingsford Tour of Champions judging contest and Cooker Caravan.

Mission Statement

The Memphis in May International Festival is a month-long celebration that includes the Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, the International Honored Country Salute, and the Great American River Run as well as educational programs that feature each year's honored country.

The mission of Memphis in May is to promote and celebrate Memphis culture, foster economic growth, and enhance international awareness through education.