Beale Street Music Festival 2011 was definitely a memorable experience. Myself and two friends loaded up and headed to Memphis for a lineup that included artists such as John Mellencamp, Jason Mraz, MGMT, Stone Temple Pilots, Mumford & Sons, Ludacris, Sublime with Rome, Cake, Ziggy Marly, Buckcherry, Cage the Elephant, Everclear, Hinder, Saving Abel, Godsmack, Sick Puppies, Gregg Allman and many more. The artists I listed here are the ones that caught my eye when I saw the lineup but John Mellencamp, Godsmack and Stone Temple Pilots were the ones I was most excited to see.
When Godsmack played the power went out to their stage several times and they ended up having to finish the show on generators. If that was not enough to make the experience unique to most of the shows they play then the fact that the news broke during their concert that Bin Laden had been killed certainly was. I remember the crowd erupting in cheers during that moment and Godsmack saying something like ” I have never heard so much celebration of a death before”. We decided to stay at a hotel that was not near the festival so we would take a cab down and back at the end of the night. One night after the concerts we hit Beale Street for a bit then went to an intersection where people were waiting for cabs.
At one point a somewhat shady looking van stopped and offered to take us to the hotel but it was not clear that this individual was a legitimate transport or a organ harvester. So we passed on that ride despite the drunk guy in the vans passenger seat reassurances. As we waited there in the intersection with another 50 or so people all waiting to get a cab we could see a black Dodge Charger driving quickly towards the intersection. As the Charger was driving towards the intersection there was a person on the other side of the street waiting to cross and when they got the “walking man” they proceeded to cross the street walking towards us. As the charger got to the intersection the pedestrian was just a little half way across the street and at that moment the charger proceeded to make a left and turn and then. BAM!!! The Charger struck the pedestrian.
It was a scene like you might see in a movie, as the vehicle hit the guy, his body rolled up onto the hood then fell off the side flat on his back. At this time a police officer steps out of the vehicle and proceeds to pick the guy up to his feet and put him against the hood while the officer performed a pat down and search. As the victim was being patted down the signal to walk changed to be the blinking hand of caution and all of the witnesses around the intersection were yelling “he had the walking man, it was not his fault….”. Soon several marked police units flooded the intersection an it seemed clear that they knew it was the officer in the black unmarked Chargers fault. Within about five minutes that guy that got hit was helped into a cab by the officers (I am pretty sure they paid the driver as well) and he was on his way. For us it would be another hour – hour and half before we were able to secure a cab. So, if you do not stay in walking distance to the festival it might take awhile before you are able to get a ride back to your hotel.
On the last night we were at the festival Godsmack was one of the headliners which is the band I watched to finish out the night. It turned out to be a historic event as when Godsmack came out to play they announced that Bin Laden had been killed. When they made that announcement the crowd erupted in cheers to which Godsmack responded by saying something like “I have never seen so many people cheer the death of a person” and went on to joke “you are some really sick people and we love it”. Early in the set the power went out and it seemed as though the show may not finish when some generators somehow appeared out of nowhere. Not enough power for them to do all the lights and other effects but it was enough for what was important, the music.