Downtown Memphis is going to be jumping Friday night.
Not only is it the start of the Memphis In May Beale Street Musical Festival at Tom Lee Park, the Grizzlies will be playing at the FedExForum next door against the Clippers in Game 6 of the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Parking will be at a premium.
As steel workers finish putting up the last of the Memphis In May music festival stages, something else is going on downtown.
People are looking for parking places. When it comes to Memphis In May parking is always a challenge downtown. Some downtown residents avoid the problem by going on vacation during the month of May. Others love it and even live downtown because of Memphis In May, but one does have to plan for it - especially if you work downtown.
"It's pretty ridiculous, pretty crowded," said Tera Ashley, who works downtown.
Fortunately for Ashley, her associate Mary is a nine-year veteran of music fest and she offers some advice.
"Get here early, very early," she said. "Try to get your spot. Just get here real early."
But what if you don't work or live downtown. Same advice: get there early, then ride the trolley rails. Your best bet is catch a trolley and park as far away from Tom Lee Park as possible.
"If you're coming to the Beale Street Music Fest, a suggestion is to park as far away as possible in the north and hop the trolley," said Diane Hampton, Memphis In May committee. "The trolley will drop you off literally at the front gate at Beale and Wagner. If you're going to the Grizz game you probably have an idea where you're going to park. Parking is going to be crowded so plan early."
Because of the one-two punch downtown Friday night, Music Fest is stretching the rules about exiting music fest and then coming back in after the Grizz game.
"Keep your ticket stub, get hand-stamped and we're going to extend those hours so the people who are going to the Grizz game to support them can come back down and watch the shows," Hampton said.
Not that it's going to rain, but just in case umbrellas are not allowed. Instead bring a poncho and rubber boots just in case if you are attending the music fest.
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