The formal announcement of the 2013 Beale Street Music Festival lineup is still a couple weeks away, but online speculation has been going strong for several months.
This has been partly fueled by festival organizers themselves. Memphis in May's official BSMF Facebook page has been "liking" a number of artists and posting songs and videos from various acts in recent weeks. More than coy hints, it would appear these artists — which include ZZ Top, the Black Keys and Hall & Oates — are locks to perform at the 37th edition of the event, set for May 3-5 at Tom Lee Park.
Though the music festival has maintained a Facebook presence since 2009, last year its page began liking artists in advance of the official lineup announcement. In 2012, those early hints ultimately matched the final roster of acts.
If the pattern holds, that would mean the upcoming festival will be one of the stronger in recent memory with singer Sheryl Crow, rap icons Public Enemy, punk poet Patti Smith, country maverick Dwight Yoakam, hard rockers the Deftones, hip-hop band The Roots and dance act Phoenix all looking like sure bets to perform.
Other festival favorites, including the Flaming Lips, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gary Clark Jr. appear to be returning as well. In the past, the event typically hosts some 60-plus acts.
Contractually, organizers are not allowed to confirm the lineup in advance of the official announcement. Memphis in May executive vice president Diane Hampton was predictably circumspect when asked to confirm the Facebook acts that had been teased.
"We have a great social media presence. We manage three pages for Memphis in May and have well over 100,000 fans from all over. It's a very active page and we like a lot of music," said Hampton. "Other than that, I really don't have any specific comment."
In recent years, websites like Consequence of Sound's Festival Outlook have made a kind of sport out of speculating on the lineups for various festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza. "Speculating about a lineup is part of the new social craze for festival fans," said Hampton. "Looking at who's playing where and when and surmising they're coming to this festival or that festival . . . that's all part of the social interaction. I think it's good for us, good for festivals in general."
The official Beale Street Musical Festival announcement is expected in the last week of February. Three-day passes to music fest are available now, for $75, at all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000.
The following is a list of all the acts the Beale Street Music Festival’s Facebook page has “liked” to date:
The Black Keys
Hall & Oates
The Black Crowes
Jerry Lee Lewis
Three Days Grace
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Alice in Chains
Gary Clark Jr.
The Joy Formidable
The Smashing Pumpkins
River City Tanlines
Star & Micey
Heritage Blues Orchestra
The Royal Southern Brotherhood
The Slide Brothers
Supa Chikan and the Fighting Cocks