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Meat Me in Memphis Gala

Meat Me in Memphis is our sole fundraising event for the Monogram Loves Kids Foundation. Our annual Meat Me in Memphis is held at one of Memphis’ iconic gala venues, The Columns at One Commerce Square.  The Columns offers 20,000 square feet of historic grandeur while providing all the modern attractions of a vibrant downtown. This year, Meat Me in Memphis will be held on Thursday, October 25 at 5:30 PM until 9:00 PM.

You’re Invited!

Mempho aftermath

By Rebekah Hedges

Mixed drinks flowing, colorful lights flashing and an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance are fresh in my mind after experiencing Mempho Fest 2018.

The second year of the event, hosted at Shelby Farms Park, provided a popular line-up including names such as Post Malone, Beck, Phoenix, Rich the Kid, Janelle Monae and Memphis native Juicy J, among others, and they did not disappoint.

There was such a mix of skills and genre throughout the performers, from alternative rock, to indie pop, and of course R&B and hip hop. I thought this offered the opportunity for everyone to appreciate and enjoy a little bit of everything.

As a personal fan of of Phoenix and Janelle Monáe I was thrilled to attend and check ‘attend my first music festival’ off of my bucket list. Although I have been near events like Texas’ Austin City Limits and smaller music festivals like Hot Springs Arkansas’ Valley of the Vapors this was my first go-around with officially participating in a music festival and it was memorable.

The words echoed by Martin Luther King at the beginning of Janelle Monáe’s track ‘Crazy Classic Life’: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” are fresh in my mind as I reflect on the two-day festival.

Mempho Music Festival !!!

Participating in the front row, camera in hand, I felt as though Janelle Monáe’s whole set embodied those words. Celebrating life, liberties and happiness was the theme.

Monae’s album ‘Dirty Computer’ was performed with such powerful positive energy and spread the messages of self-love and acceptance. The energy was sent throughout the sea of different faces as we sang in harmony. Rainbow flags, as well as countless hands raised in the shape of hearts rocked back and forth simultaneously to Monae’s music.

In an interview with Danielle Young from ‘The Grapevine,’ Monae said her album dealt with what it means to be a part of a marginalized group: “Dirty computers are seen as being full of bugs and viruses and anything to be cleaned out. Dirty computers see their bugs and their viruses—whether it’s their sexuality, their race, their gender—as attributes, as features. This is an album to celebrate us, to celebrate all the dirty computers around the world.”

It may sound strange, but I’m proud to say I’m a dirty computer. This performance was one of the highlights of the festival for me.

I was mesmerized by the Orion Flame Dome and hope to gain the courage to participate in the silent disco in future years.

The most surprising moment I experienced was when I met my random guardian angel; a fellow photographer amongst the crowd that observed my 50 mm fixed lens. He noticed the limitation I was experiencing due to the lens and we chatted between musical sets about camera gear and media.

This was a pure stranger, we had only chatted for about 15 minutes, when he offered to let me use his 85 mm for the next performer. (We’re talking about an estimated $400+ lens!) Love was in the air all around and I felt the generous spirit as I was able to grab some shots of Phoenix, another favorite performer, with the great lens!

Seeing Phoenix for the first time live after being a long time fan was a dream come true. A personal favorite song of theirs is ‘Love Like A Sunset’ which I was pleasantly surprised that they played as it is a lesser known track from their Wolfgang Amadeus album. The bass was blaring and it came in so beautiful I was headbanging at all the right drops.

The cherry on top was touching Thomas Mars’ hand as he came down into the audience to crowd surf.

Though I didn’t take the opportunity to use the campsite option at Mempho, I passed by colorful tents and kind campers who waved hello. I hope to take advantage of this fun aspect of Mempho in the following years.

I was only able to attend and enjoy a couple more performers, but I enjoyed following the @MemphoFest instagram account and discovering other talented photographers through hashtags such as #Mempho and #MemphoFest2018.

Due to the daunting crowd on Day 2 I simply reviewed footage of the adored Post Malone and hope that next year’s line up can continue to top itself.

Mempho 2019, I’m already ready and waiting!

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