The Bo-Keys. Photo by Nathan Black.

Hear The Bo-Keys, Sam Moore & others (for free!) at Stax to the Max

I’ve spent the last few months writing a book – a travel guide to Memphis. My city isn’t like any other city. It’s one you need to hear as much as see to experience it best. So my book tells you where to go, and what to listen for around town including The Bo-Keys and Stax Music Academy.

The Bo-Keys. Photo by Nathan Black.

The Bo-Keys. Photo by Nathan Black.

Last year's Stax to the Max was full of food, family activities and main stage entertainment including performances by the Stax Music Academy. Photo courtesy of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Stax Music Academy playing Stax to the Max in 2012. Photo courtesy of Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Lucky you, you can catch them both at Stax to the Max, Sat., April 26, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., the free music and art festival that began four years ago in the parking lot behind Stax Museum of American Soul Music. The main-stage lineup looks like this:

  • Noon: Stax Music Academy Junior Academy and Stax Music Academy Jazz Band
  • 1:15 p.m.: Swing Time Explosion (big band jazz)
  • 2:30 p.m.: Daddy Mack Blues Band
  • 3:45 p.m.: The Bo-Keys featuring John Nemeth and Percy Wiggins
  • 4:30 p.m.: The Temprees, the Mad Lads, Toni Green and William Bell
  • 5:45 p.m.: Stax Music Academy with special guest Sam Moore of Sam & Dave

That’s right: All Memphis originals; all for free. Bring a chair and settle in for the day – this is gonna be good.

Do tear yourself away long enough to tour the Memphis Slim Collaboratory, timing its grand opening with the festival. If you frequent Stax, you’ll recall the home of Bluesman Memphis Slim that’s been crumbling across College Street from the museum parking lot. Here’s what the home will look like by this year’s Stax to the Max:

Memphis Slim Collaboratory, Memphis, TN

You might notice a likeness to the shape of the former home, and some of the original brick and wood framing have been reused to achieve intriguing visuals (peek at the home’s interior and wooden structure through carved-out areas in the façade). The front porch has expanded into a mini-stage, recalling the days when Memphis Slim would entertain Rufus Thomas and Isaac Hayes in front of his home. Inside, you’ll find rehearsal and workshop space and a “training” recording studio.

Elsewhere at the festival:

  • Tour Stax Museum of American Soul Music for just $2 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.).


    Inside the Stax Museum’s hall of records. Photo by Dan Ball. Copyright Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau 2011. All Rights Reserved.

  • Between main-stage acts, enjoy performances on the side stage by Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Memphis, Visible Community Music School, Three Penny Theater, Ballet on Wheels, Knowledge Quest Choir and Women’s Theater Festival.
  • Bring cash for food trucks and merchandise vendors. Everything else at Stax to the Max is free, including chalk art for the kids courtesy of Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and health screenings provided by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
  • Feel free to dance.
Stax to the Max 2013

Stax to the Max 2013

Just in case, the Stax to the Max rain date is Sun., April 27, 1-7 p.m.

So, are you a Stax devotee or a first-timer to the festival and museum? Tell me what you’re looking forward to in the comments section below.

Hi! I’m Samantha Crespo, and I am Floridian by birth, Tennessean by heart. Growing up, I vacationed in East Tennessee, so I...Read on



    Henry Nelson

    We are extremely Grateful that your heart is in Tennessee, and your authentic passion is always in Soulsville with the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Stax Music Academy & The Soulsville Charter School. : )

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