Memphis, TN

DreamFest 2022 weekend to feature diverse music at Overton Park

Ian Parodi

The music, community, and diversity will focus on the 11th annual DreamFest weekend at Overton Park Shell this Friday and Sunday, July 22-24.

The event began in 2012 when local arts promoter Catherine Evans decided to gather her favourite Memphis hip-hop and spoken word artists for her birthday celebration in mid-January. She expected five to 10 people to perform and maybe 30 to 40 friends to attend the first edition of what would eventually become DreamFest, but 500 attended.

One show wasn't enough by the second year, and the event was expanded to two days. DreamFest became a yearly event coinciding with National Civil Rights Day and Martin Luther King's birthday celebrations.

DreamFest has evolved considerably since its launch as Evans' birthday party. Over the past decade, musical performances have evolved into community development collaborations, and, more recently, DreamFest has become a summer event.
Overton ParkWikimedia

This year, CLE Events partnered with the Memphis United for Fairness and Justice collaborative, the official chapter of Black Lives Matter Memphis, and Memphis Artists for Change to create three days of programming that will showcase a wide range of artists coming together "in pursuit of a common goal." goal: promoting unity, collaboration, and community.

"What we intend to do with the weekend is emphasize community, diversity and unity," said DreamFest founder Evans. "DreamFest was initially named for the fact that it was held annually during MLK weekend before the pandemic, but it also refers to the fact that we all pursue our dreams. And hopefully, DreamFest Weekend brings us closer to realizing them."

This year's DreamFest will be a three-part event, beginning Friday night with "The Concert," featuring a mile of artists from all genres. Presented by Phatmak, among those performing will be soul artist Singa B., neo-classical string group Ensemble X and veteran rapper MC Mack.

Saturday night's "GirlPower" lineup will highlight female talent in Memphis. Presented by B2Funny, the evening will include performances by soul trap rapper Spiffy Chiqk, urban artist Keesha Danielle, and jazz singer Katrina Anderson.

Sunday's DreamFest finale, "Loungin' In the Park," will highlight some of the Memphis' Artistik Lounge scenes' veterans. Presented by PA Bomani, performers will include Son. Person, Tamara Jones Monger, and the debut of Freedom Singers, a community choir created to address and heal violence through community engagement and song.

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