The most talked about band in Memphis is making the trip to the Gold Coast for Blues on Broadbeach next year. Southern Avenue, recently signed to Stax Records will perform exclusively at the five-day festival thanks to a new partnership between the event and Memphis Travel. Samantha Morris caught up with Memphis Travel Director Chris Ingram about the partnership and why he thinks Gold Coasters will be adding Memphis to their travel bucketlists.
Can you tell me about the new partnership between Blues on Broadbeach and Memphis Travel?
I absolutely love the Gold Coast and having previously worked with Gold Coast Tourism I already had a high degree of awareness of Blues on Broadbeach and how it’s grown to become an event of international standing. It’s from a chance meeting in WA that the partnership came to fruition… and it seemed a natural fit that Memphis, the home of the blues, should partner with Australia’s iconic blues event.
It seems that Memphis has a lot in common with the Gold Coast. Well, certainly in the music and BBQ stakes. Can you tell me about some of Memphis’ other “one of a kind” experiences?
Memphis music legacy has influenced music around the world. Memphis is known as the “Home of the blues and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll,” and the deep musical tradition can be traced back to the 1800s. It’s an authentic and vibrant destination headlined by music and full of one-of-a-kind experiences. There’s America’s second most visited house – Graceland, Sun Studio, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Rock n Soul Museum, National Civil Rights Museum, Beale Street, mouthwatering barbecue, Gus Fried Chicken, lively festivals, intriguing galleries, museums and more.
You’re bringing Southern Avenue to Blues on Broadbeach. Can you tell me why, of all of Memphis’ pool of talent, these guys made the cut?
Southern Avenue are international recording artists signed to the legendary record label Stax Records in Memphis. Stax gave us Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, and Isaac Hayes to name a few and so I think they know what’s good! Southern Avenue live and breathe the Memphis sound and are the hottest act out of Memphis right now. They are well known in the field of ‘blues purists’. This will be their first visit to Australia and they’ll be performing exclusively for Blues on Broadbeach.
Why would someone from the Gold Coast want to visit Memphis?
BLUES! SOUL! ROCK ‘N’ ROLL! And that’s just the beginning. Maybe it’s the rhythm of the mighty Mississippi River. The tangy blend of Southern hospitality and gritty determination. Or the very talented people who have called Memphis home like Elvis, B.B. King, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, and Justin Timberlake. Whatever the reason, when it comes to music, there’s simply no place like Memphis. If Memphis music moves you, how will you feel at its source?
I’ve travelled many times to the USA, but never to Memphis. Can you tell me about Beale Street?
Beale Street is Tennessee’s most visited attraction, and (according to USA TODAY’s 10Best) it’s America’s most iconic street. You know that you can find live music every night of the week on Beale Street. Half of the allure of Beale Street is your walk along the strip itself. With over two dozen bars and nightclubs, street performers and great people, you’ll find the environment hypnotic as you peak into alleys for rockin’ performances and admire the pop-up shops in W.C. Handy Park. Arrive around 7.00pm at Hard Rock Café near the West end of Beale. Grab a quick appetizer before you embark upon the evening’s journey. Visit any walk-up bar and order Memphis’ signature drink, the Walk Me Down – a frozen blue treat with seven different liquors and delicious to boot. Watch the Beale Street Flippers turn the cobblestone street into a runway for aerial somersaults as onlookers line the sidewalks (and sometimes join in as props). Check out the brass music notes memorializing Memphis music legends on the sidewalks. As you travel the street, you’re sure to hear conversations in English, Italian, German and more. It’ll become clear why the city that revolutionized the world’s soundtrack continues to attract international adoration decades later.
What are you hoping to achieve from this partnership between Memphis and Blues on Broadbeach?
There will be on site activations during the festival with stakeholder restaurants to bring the flavour of Memphis to life. We are looking to bring out a traditional pit-master to bring the authentic taste of Memphis BBQ for patrons to enjoy and build interest in our great American city. More detail to come on this. Hopefully we will be facilitating an ‘artist exchange’ in the future (an Australian act to perform in Memphis) but this is further down the track and a work in progress.
Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival on the Gold Coast will be held May 17 – 20, 2018, and is the biggest FREE music festival in Australia. More at: bluesonbroadbeach.com.