Fall Lineup for Overton Park Shell: Orion Free Music Series, Shell Yeah! Benefit Concerts

Pre-Show Series, programmed by Memphis Black Arts Alliance

September 2 will mark the return of the Orion Free Music Concert Series and the Pre-Show Series programmed by the Memphis Black Arts Alliance. The fall will also welcome two more Shell Yeah! Benefit Concerts including the The Almost Elton John Masquerade Ball and An Evening with Dawes and Bahamas.

The official music sponsor of the Overton Park Shell is Orion Federal Credit Union and the Fall Concert Series will feature many highly regarded local and regional artists and will run from September to late October. The Shell Yeah! Benefit Concert Series are fundraising concerts that power the Free Concerts that The Shell produces annually. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster.

‘We are excited about the opening of the Fall Orion Concert Series,” said Executive Director of the Overton Park Shell, Natalie Wilson. “As we await cooler temperatures, there is not a better place to enjoy being outdoors than here. Bringing together both local musicians and arts partnerships as well as national touring artists, The Shell is excited to bring our Memphis community to its favorite backyard in the heart of the city”

For the second straight year and in celebration of their 40th anniversary, the Overton Park Shell is partnering with the Memphis Black Arts Alliance for the MBAA Pre-Show Series. Pre-shows start at 5:45 pm and will feature 9 acts throughout the season including Hope Clayburn, Michael Townsend, Angelstreet and many more.

“This is one of our most treasured partnerships,” Wilson added. “We celebrate the role MBAA plays in our incredible Memphis arts community and their work to amplify Memphis black creatives of our city.”

The Orion Free Concert Series & Shell Yeah! Benefit Concert Series

Shell Yeah! Shows are bolded, MBAA pre-shows are bolded in red. * Partner Events

9/2 – Don Ramon Band

        Tara Barker

9/3 – WLOK Stone Soul Picnic*, in partnership with the Gilliam Foundation

9/4 – Occupy The Shell, a festival celebrating Memphis Black artists and creatives

       (Al Kapone & Don Trip to headline)

9/9 – Gone Gone Beyond

        Ephie Johnson

9/10 – Lissie

         Jimmy Kinard & Muziak

9/15 – Shell Yeah! Almost Elton John Masquerade (costume-contest + theme party)

9/16 – Don Lifted

          c’beyohn Featuring SubRoy

9/17 – Country Blues Festival*

9/23 – Shell Yeah! An Evening with Dawes & Bahamas

9/24 – Memphis PowerPop Festival*

9/30 – Dottie


10/1 – Battle of Santiago

           Michael Townsend

10/7 – Arlo McKinley

          Jerry Braxton

10/14 – North Mississippi Allstars

            Hope Clayburn

10/15 – Tuba Skinny

            Ladies Edition

10/23 – Shakespeare at The Shell*, in partnership with Tennessee Shakespeare Company

About Overton Park Shell

The Overton Park Shell was built in 1936 by the City of Memphis and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The Shell was designed by architect Max Furbringer

and built for $11,935. Furbringer modeled it after similar bandshells in Chicago, New York, and St. Louis. The Overton Park Shell is one of a handful of the original 27 bandshells built by the WPA that is still standing.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Shell was the site of the memorable Memphis Open Air Theater (MOAT) orchestra performances, light opera and musicals. In 1947 the Memphis Federation of Musicians launched its Music under the Stars series, free to the public. On July 30, 1954 Elvis Presley took the stage before headliner Slim Whitman. Elvis stole the show in what music historians call the first-ever rock and roll show. And it happened at the Shell in Overton Park.

Over the years, there have been numerous efforts, some to revitalize the Shell, and some to destroy it. In 2005, the Shell partnered with the City of Memphis and the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation to renovate the Shell and present 50 free concerts every year. It was renamed Levitt Shell at Overton Park and renovation was begun in 2007. It opened again with free music for all on September 4, 2008.

In 2022, The Overton Park Shell honored its historic past and returned to its roots and its original name with a focus on local support and self-sustainment, while keeping true to the mission of building community by providing easily accessible entertainment to all.

For more information, please visit overtonparkshell.org.

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