The Annual Cooper-Young Festival

Cooper Young Fest

 Holly Whitfield

The Cooper-Young Festival is an annual outdoor event held in the Cooper-Young Historic District. The festival draws thousands of visitors and features the work of a myriad of musicians and artists. In fact, the official website describes the festival as a "celebration of the arts, people, culture and Memphis heritage."

General Festival Information

The festival takes place in mid-September each year and usually begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. It's located in the Cooper-Young historic district with vendors and attractions set up along Cooper Street, Young Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

Each year, there are several stages that feature a full lineup of local musicians who perform throughout the day. Usually, the Cooper Young record store, Goner Records, will sponsor one of the stages.

In 2016, the festival was held on September September 17th. There were approximately 130,000 people who attended and 435 vendors selling everything imaginable. Each year you can find a selection of unique art, ceramics and pottery, jewelry and accessories, clothing (including lots of Memphis t-shirts), vintage and antique items. 

There is also a children’s area, complete with games and rides; and of course, there will be plenty of food. While you can always expect the usual fair-food classics, especially Pronto Pups, there are plenty of other delicious food and drink options to be enjoyed during the event. 

Pro Tips

  • Take an Uber or Lyft or prepare to walk. Parking is scarce in the Cooper Young area. You can also pay to park in the Christian Brothers University parking lot and ride a shuttle over to the festival. 
  • Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. For the most part, Cooper Young Fest days are sunny and very warm.
  • Due to crowds, the cell phone service can be spotty. Keep this in mind and make a plan if you get separated from your group.

Updated October 2016 by Holly Whitfield

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