Van Duren’s Guide to Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is a strangely beautiful place, full of intriguing wonders. As a hometown guy, I happen to have the inside scoop. Here are a few tips and suggestions.

Live Music

Live music is everywhere and ranges across all categories. There are the deeply rooted neighborhood hangouts with eclectic artists like Mortimer’s, which is owned by Chris Bell’s sister, Sara, and where I’ve been playing for 7 years. Bayou Bistro (fka Le Chardonnay) is another great venue to hear music out of the mainstream with late night shows and a laid back vibe. Also essential for live bands are DKDC and B Sidein Midtown.

Museums and Parks

Museums and parks are the pride of the Bluff City. The National Civil Rights Museum at the infamous Lorraine Motel downtown is absolutely essential. The Stax and Sun Studio museums are musts for fans and students of 20th century Memphis music along with the giant tourist trap Graceland.

Overton Park with its primeval Old Forest is a treasure and was the city’s first park. Shelby Farms out east is beautiful with sprawling vistas and is the largest urban park in the US. And possibly the coolest new amenity in the city is the Big River Crossing, a walking / biking trail on an old bridge over the Mississippi River —the views are terrific.

And of course, the food…

But you know, a lot of people don’t care so much about all of that—they wanna eat. Barbecue: Central BBQ (several locations) Payne’sThe Bar-B-Q Shop, the Rendezvous and many more purveyors of pork will satisfy that lust. The soul food at Alcenia’s downtown is thoroughly Memphis and awe- inspiring. And then there is Ecco On Overton Park for more adventurous and eclectic tastes (our favorite).

The thing is, Memphis is a big city with a resume to match. Home of legendary epicenters of fantastic music (and hundreds of new artists), historic places, and deeply moving experiences. Try it.

Don’t miss Van Duren in Australia later this month, nor the special screenings happening around the country. All the tickets and details can be found below. And to get yourself to Memphis, you can fly daily out of the East Coast of Australia to LA, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston or Honolulu – from where you can connect to a flight to Memphis. While in Memphis we stay at the famous Peabody Hotel. For more details on the city, head to the Memphis Tourism website.


Monday 8 April  – Gold Coast Film Festival (Australian Premiere) – Tickets

Tuesday 9 April  – Blue Room Cinebar, Brisbane QLD – Tickets

Wednesday 10 April – Event Cinemas, George Street, Sydney NSW – Tickets

Thursday 11 April – Cinema Nova, Melbourne VIC – Tickets

Saturday 13 April – Body Movement: Presented by High Tide, Central Coast, NSW – Tickets

Wednesday 17 April – Cinemona – Mona, Hobart, TAS – Tickets

Friday 26 April – The Gum Ball Festival, Dashville (Hunter Valley) NSW – Tickets


Thursday 18 April – The Curtin, Melbourne VIC * – Tickets

Sunday 21 April – Boogie Festival, Tallarook VIC – Tickets

Tuesday 23 April – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW * – Tickets

Thursday 25 April – Baroque Room, Katoomba NSW * – Tickets

Friday 26 April – The Gum Ball Festival, Hunter Valley NSW – Tickets

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