I’ve been going to The Peabody Rooftop Parties for years.
The Memphis Flyer, which hosts Thursday night events each season, hosted the one, which was held May 23rd. The weather was unseasonably hot, but that didn’t seem to bother guests who showed up when I did at 6 p.m.
“We’re very big on tradition here at The Peabody,” says The Peabody director of marketing and communication Kelly Brock. “One needs to look no further than Rooftop Parties, started in 1939, and the daily Duck March, which was set in motion in 1933. For 150 years now, people have been coming to the ‘South’s Grand Hotel’ to relive memories and make new ones. We have endless stories of couples who met at a Rooftop Party and are now getting married here, or visitors whose parents brought them to see the Peabody Ducks when they were young and are now continuing that tradition by bringing their own children.”
She sent some information on the hotel’s rooftop parties:
"Peabody Rooftop Parties feature live music from top local and regional entertainment acts and occasional national touring acts. The Peabody and Q107.5 FM surprise partiers several times each season with special performances by rising stars with current radio hits. Past performers include Fletcher, Drax Project, Lauv, American Authors, Icona Pop, Echosmith, Logan Henderson, Mike Posner, Hot Chelle Ray, Capital Cities, Noah Cyrus, Ocean Park Standoff, Neon Trees, Shaggy, Boys Like Girls, Katy Tiz, Owl City, Carly Rae Jepsen, MKTO, Finger Eleven, Matt Nathanson, Parmalee, Andy Grammar, and Shinedown.
“The tradition of parties on the roof of The Peabody began 80 years ago when the east end of the hotel’s roof was enclosed in 1939, creating the Peabody Rooftop and adjoining Art Deco-styled Skyway ballroom. Originally called Sunset Serenades, the parties in the new supper club became a huge success, featuring performances by showbiz greats of the era such as Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Chuck Foster, Lawrence Welk, George Hamilton (Sr.), and the Andrews Sisters. During the 1940s, the Skyway was one of just three national live radio broadcast sites for Big Band dances on CBS Radio. One such weekly program was produced by a young Sam Phillips, from 1945 to 1950, before he launched Sun Records and the career of Elvis Presley.”
Celebrate Memphis, which was held May 25th, was a cause for celebration, says Memphis in May vice president of marketing Robert Griffin.
“The Celebrate Memphis bicentennial event was a huge success,” he says. “Not only did we welcome between 15,000 and 20,000 to our city’s birthday party in Tom Lee Park, but we put Memphis in the Guinness Book of World Records for the World’s Longest Picnic Table, uniting people from nearly every corner of Shelby County to share a meal around our 1,332 foot-long table.”
“Normally, we would wrap up the month’s festivities with 901Fest, a celebration of all the things we love about our area, but on this rare occasion of Memphis’ 200th birthday, we had to make it special and the Mid-South’s largest fireworks show certainly did that, with more than 3,400 shells exploding over the Mississippi River.”
I was a witness to that picnic table. It was so long, I had to literally step up on the bench on one side, walk across the table, and step down on the other bench to get to the other side of the park. It really was a sight.
I watched some of the exploding fireworks over my shoulder as I trudged up the hill to my car. They really were spectacular.
I wanted to stay and watch the drone show, but, no drone show occurred. “The drone operator launched successful test flights on Thursday and Friday for FAA inspectors, but on Saturday encountered issues with the signal to the drones that prevented them from flying,” Griffin says. “The FAA and MPD are looking into possible causes. However, the fireworks were so spectacular, the drone show was hardly missed.”