Paul’s Picks: Memphis Music & Heritage Festival

The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival, presented every year by the Center for Southern Folklore, happens Saturday and Sunday. It’s Downtown on the Main Street Mall between Union and Peabody Place. This is one of your best chances of the year to experience regional music, art, and cooking. You can view the music and performance schedule and also the cooking demo schedule on the festival’s website.

For those of you who have never been, here’s a starter list of “Paul’s Picks” to get you going:

Saturday, September 1

2:00 PM: Smoochy Smith, ArtsMemphis stage

3:30 PM: Los Cantadores, Comcast stage

7:15 PM: Star & Micey, Aldo’s Pizza Pies/TN Arts stage

7:45 PM: Bluff City Backsliders, Folklore stage

8:30 PM: FreeWorld featuring Herman Green and Nokie Taylor, Comcast stage

9:15 PM: Hope Clayburn, Aldo’s Pizza Pies/TN Arts stage

10:00 PM: Steve Anne DJ, SunTrust stage

10:15 PM: Exodus, Aldo’s Pizza Pies/TN Arts stage

10:15 PM: Al Kapone, ArtsMemphis stage

Sunday, September 2

1:30 PM: Barbara Blue, Comcast stage

2:00 PM: Yao Tan from Yao’s China Bistro, cooking Yao’s signature dish, cooking stage

5:00 PM: Craig Dorff from Bluefin, sushi rolls, cooking stage

6:00 PM: Michael Patrick from Rizzo’s Diner, skirt steak using Neola Farms corn-fed beef, cooking stage

7:00 PM: Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers, ArtsMemphis stage

8:00 PM: Susan Marshall, Comcast stage

9:45 PM: Brad Webb and Earl the Pearl, Folklore stage

10:15 PM: Joyce Cobb, Aldo’s Pizza Pies/TN Arts stage

Afterward: Walk down to Blues City Cafe’s Band Box (Second and Beale) for FreeWorld’s Sunday night performance

Note: This is just a starter list for people who have never been to the festival before. I am by no means a music critic; I’m just listing what I’ve liked at past Music & Heritage Festivals. By all means, walk around and take it all in, and decide for yourself what you like.

As for the food vendors: If you haven’t had Ella’s greens and hot water cornbread, they’re a must-try. Lemon chicken is good too if you’re in the mood for meat. You can get her food in the Folklore Hall. Look to the left of the stage and you’ll see a cash register.

Las Delicias will have a booth at the festival, and their guacamole is a must-try as well if you’ve never had it.

As for the restaurants in the area, my #1 food recommendation is the pepper jack mac & cheese at the Blind Bear. You can get it as a side with an entree, and no entree is more than $8. They open for at 3 both days. Not sure if they’ll open earlier for the festival. My #1 drink recommendation is the strawberry basil martini at the Majestic Grille. My #1 beer recommendation is PBR, which will be sold at outdoor stands.

What to wear: Labor Day weekend is considered the last weekend of summer, so tube tops are still very much in style.

All right, hope that gets you started. Off to work. The office closes at 3 today, so I’ll be at the Saucer around 4.