The new Live at the Garden stage at the Memphis Botanic Garden — Photo courtesy of Memphis Botanic Garden / Live at the Garden
While Memphis is a mecca for live music year-round, during the summertime, live music blooms in outdoor settings.
Three live music venues take center stage during the summer: Discovery Park of America in Union City, the Memphis Botanic Garden and The Levitt Shell. Each offers a very different experience, ambiance and lineup, but all are excellent venues for an evening filled with music.
Charlie Daniels rocks the crowd at Discovery Park of America's summer concert series — Photo courtesy of Discovery Park of America
Discovery Park of America
At Discovery Park of America - a massive education center / museum / garden complex - the 2014 inaugural summer Concert Series features a mix of country and rock acts. Discovery Park is about two hours from downtown Memphis, and concert-goers should plan on spending a few hours exploring before the concert.
All shows start at 7:30 p.m. on the Great Lawn, and the lineup includes three remaining concerts for the 2014 season: Survivor, Starship and Exile on July 19; Sawyer Brown, Lee Roy Parnell and Maggie Rose on July 26; and Everclear, Tonic and Vertical Horizon on Aug. 23.
The venue - the Great Lawn - is surrounded by gardens and water features, and concert-goers can bring blankets and lawn chairs for their comfort. Coolers are not allowed, but food and beverages are sold onsite during the show. Tickets for all concerts cost $45.
Concert-goers take in a performance by Travis Tritt on Discovery Park's Great Lawn — Photo courtesy of Discovery Park of America
Memphis Botanic Garden
2014 is also a big summer for the Live at the Garden concert series, held annually at the Memphis Botanic Garden. MBG just opened its new permanent stage for the concert series and added more table seating (which sold out quickly). Lawn seats for all the shows are still available, and the lineup runs into September with a mix of country and rock acts this year.
On July 12, the Goo Goo Dolls and Daughtry are the main acts, with a special appearance by the Plain White T’s. Jennifer Nettles headlines the August 1 show, with Brandy Clark making an appearance, and classic rockers Styx perform on August 22. Closing out the season is Darius Rucker, with Sam Hunt opening.
All tickets for lawn seats are $45, and parking is free at the garden. Guests can bring coolers, food, lawn chairs and blankets. Food vendors are scattered throughout the park, and you can even pre-order meals to pick up on the Live at the Garden website. All concerts take place rain or shine, unless severe weather threatens, in which case the show will be rescheduled.
The Levitt Shell
At the Levitt Shell, concerts run throughout the summer and into fall. (See the full lineup here) And with the exception of one fundraising concert, all shows are free.
Guests can bring blankets, lawn chairs and coolers, and all the shows are family-friendly. Food trucks surround the Shell's perimeter, if you'd rather not haul a cooler.
Live music at The Levitt Shell — Photo courtesy of The Levitt Shell