Bristerfest: Celebrating Local Music Culture, Urban Gardening

Music festival to benefit urban gardens April 28-29 in Memphis.

Published on: Apr 6, 2012

What began as a house party in the backyard garage of two University of Memphis students has grown to a two-day festival celebrating local music culture and benefitting urban gardening.

University of Memphis students Jack Simon and Craig Ivey created Bristerfest,  a music festival  focusing on the music of Memphis, last year.

Named for a street near the University of Memphis campus, Bristerfest will be held at the April 28-29 at the Levitt Shell in Memphis. Visit the festival online at

Bristerfest: Celebrating Local Music Culture, Urban Gardening
Bristerfest: Celebrating Local Music Culture, Urban Gardening

A portion of the proceeds will benefit GrowMemphis, a local, urban and community gardening organization. Tickets are $15 per day. The Levitt Shell is an open-air amphitheater in Midtown Memphis where Elvis Presley is reported to have given his first public performance.

The festival includes more than 30 performances from the diverse kitchen that is Memphis music.

"We created Bristerfest to foster and celebrate celebrate the local music culture," says Simon, a communications media and political science senior at The University of Memphis.

"It all began in the backyard of my house," Simon said. "We would have live bands perform at our house parties. It' literally moved from the Shed to the Shell.

"Memphis has such a vibrant music culture here," Simon says. "And there are so many organizations in this city dedicated to positive progress. We want to bring them together under one roof so to speak. Through music, we can create the environmental change we wish to see."

Operating on a shoe-string budget, the college students created the festival "to bring everybody together to make an impact with the music," Simon says. The students are reaching out via an arts and music funding site called Kickstarter to help raise money for the production. Visit their "Urban Gardening Music Festival" at for more information or to donate.

"We've committed to contribute $5,000 to GrowMemphis," Simon says.

Visit GrowMemphis at