Happy Friday, Memphis. Not only is it July 4th, but this weekend also marks the 60th anniversary of rock 'n' roll. On July 5, 1954, Elvis first recorded his version of "That's All Right" at Sun Studio in Memphis. If you're looking for Independence Day and fireworks-watching ideas all over Memphis (including the 'burbs), please check out the 2014 I Love Memphis guide to Independence Day. Otherwise, here are the 5 things you won't want to miss in Memphis this weekend.
1. Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular, Mud Island River Park, Friday, 10 a.m. – late, mostly free, all ages
Spend the whole day celebrating at Mud Island River Park. All of the park's usual features will be open, and they'll have pedal boats, and rides and games for the kids, live music, fireworks around 9:30. It's free to enter the park, but the museum and monorail cost a little extra. You're welcome to bring blankets, chairs, and picnics, but leave your grills, pets and booze at home.
2. Devil Train + 4th of July Bash, The Buccaneer, Friday, 9 p.m. – 3 a.m., $5 cover, 21 and up
Show your love for the Memphis flavor of America by spending your 4th of July late night at the Bucc with the gypsy jazz bluegrass skiffle of Devil Train. I hear there may be fireworks.
3. 60th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll celebration, Sun Studio, Saturday, all day, all ages
From 10 a.m. to noon, Sun Studio will give free tours to the public of the upstairs only, showing off the new Dewey Phillips exhibit (Dewey Phillips was the DJ who first played Elvis on the radio). Note that the studio itself will be closed at that time. At noon, you're invited to a public ceremony and cake cutting and 400 free vouchers for a 45 vinyl record of Chris Isaak performing "That's All Right'" You can buy tickets for the full tour starting again at 4:30 p.m.
4. 60 Years of Rock 'n' Roll Concert, Levitt Shell, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., free, all ages
Celebrate Memphis' music heritage with a lineup of Memphis favorites Joyce Cobb, Andy Childs, Marcus Scott, Cunning Band, and Lane Chapel Singers – all on the Levitt Shell stage this Saturday night.
5. Memphis, Illustrated, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., $0-$7, all ages
Head to the Dixon this Saturday or Sunday (they're closed on the 4th) to catch the end of the "Memphis, Illustrated" show, featuring ten Memphis artists' illustrative works, including posters, . Also the "Memphis-Milano: 1980s Italian Design" exhibit ends July 13 and there's a new Renoir painting, so it's a great weekend to go to the musuem. Remember, it's free on Saturdays until noon.
If none of these work for you, check out the calendar for more Memphis events. Don't forget to tag your photos #ilovememphis and they might show up on the blog.
Also, if you missed it – the July I Love Memphis Podcast is up! I interview Bruce VanWyngarden, editor of the Memphis Flyer. Listen here.