It’s that time again when all of Cooper-Young’s residential streets become parking lots for everyone not lucky enough to live in one of Midtown’s hippest districts during the annual Cooper-Young Festival.
The Cooper-Young Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 19th. Now in its 28th year, the fest attracts more than 130,000 people from all over the Mid-South for live music, arts and crafts from more than 435 artisans, beer and food from neighborhood eateries.
Don’t expect to find a nearby on-street parking spot if you arrive after 8:30 a.m. The fest begins at 9 a.m. and runs through 7 p.m., and parking on residential streets fills up fast. Late-comers often have to park blocks away from the action, but you’ll probably need to burn a few calories to make room for all the beer you’ll be drinking anyway. Expert advice: If you’re coming from anywhere else in Midtown or from downtown, just ride a bike and lock it up on the outskirts of the festival.
If you plan on imbibing to excess, leave the car at home and hop on the Ride the Roo shuttle, which will be coming and going from Overton Square to Cooper-Young from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The music schedule is jam-packed this year with more than 15 bands and solo artists on three stages. The headliner, R&B soul legend Otis Clay will perform with the Take Me to River Band (featuring alumni of the Hi Rhythm Section and Stax Records) at 5:15 p.m. on the Main Stage by the Young Avenue Deli.
Other music highlights: folksy duo Deering and Down at 11:15 a.m. at the Main Stage; School of Rock’s tribute to Nirvana at 1 p.m. on stage in the First Congregational Church parking lot; and the all-female punk band NOTS at 4:30 p.m. at the Memphis Grizzlies/Goner Records stage at Young and Meda.
There are far too many vendors to list, but be sure to check out the handmade hula hoops from Co-Motion Studio, repurposed vintage jewelry and pocket watches from Zoftig Doll Vintage Bijoux, steam punk-style jewelry from Marokel Jewelry, and metal stick figure sculptures from Brooks Creations.
If you’d rather avoid the domestic beers being sold throughout the fest, Memphis Made Brewing Co. will have an outdoor bar and live music stage set up near the “I Love Memphis” mural, and the taproom will be open.
Teetotalers (and the health-conscious) can get their fill of fresh juice at the grand opening party for the new I Love Juice Bar at 553 South Cooper. They’ll be handing out free juice samples, and guests can take part in a lively game of beer pong.