The musical lineup for the inaugural event mixes local bands and national acts with an increasingly typical Memphis focus on blues and rock nostalgia acts. B.B. King's blues tour, which also includes Buddy Guy (perhaps the only national artist on the bill to release a significant album of new music this year), John Hiatt, and Tommy Castro, headlines Sunday night in perhaps the festival's most compelling booking. Classic rockers are catered to on Friday, with headliners Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings -- a new band led by the former Rolling Stones bass player -- and Cheap Trick.
It's difficult not to judge Saturday's lineup as a disappointment by comparison. The headliner is local hard-rock band Dust For Life, who have been struggling to break out nationally for the last year and who seem a little out of place as festival headliners. The other Saturday headliner is Drivin' N Cryin', regional college faves who hit their commercial and artistic peak in the late '80s and early '90s.
In addition to the Main Stage, there will be an Emerging Artists Stage that combines out-of-town acts (such as VH-1 Bands on the Run contestants Soulcracker, Chicago's Swinging Love Hammers, Philadelphia's Pepper's Ghost, and Detroit's 19 Wheels) and local bands (such as Lucero, Dora, and Cory Branan).
Tickets for the festival, which will hopefully add a little juice to the flagging concert scene at Mud Island, are $33 for a three-day pass and $15 per day for advance tickets. Single-day tickets at the gate will be $19. Tickets are available through TicketMaster or at the Mud Island box office. For more information on the Great Southern Beer Festival, check the festival Web site at www.thegreatsouthernbeerfestival.com.
Great Southern Beer Festival Lineup:
Friday, August 24th:
Main Stage -- Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, Cheap Trick, The Wall, Ingram Hill
Emerging Artists Stage -- Swinging Love Hammers, Lucero, Cory Branan, Dead Tight Five
Saturday, August 25th:
Main Stage -- Dust for Life, Drivin' N Cryin', The Radiators, Jupiter Coyote, Breaking Point
Emerging Artists Stage -- Pepper's Ghost, GTO, Sammy's Good Eye, FreeWorld, Internationals, Phenophonic, Crash Into June
Sunday, August 26th:
Main Stage -- B.B. King, Buddy Guy, John Hiatt and the Goners, Tommy Castro, Kudzu Kings, The Pawtuckets
Emerging Artists Stage -- Soulcracker, 19 Wheels, CYC, Scott Sudbury, Dora