This will also be part of a national 50th anniversary of rock and roll celebration. I'm not sure about weather on December 31st in Memphis for outdoor concerts--it can get pretty chilly. An abridged version of the article:
"Dick Clark rolling Beale into national TV bash
By Michael Lollar
December 11, 2003
Dick Clark, the nation's "oldest teenager," will give Beale Street a co-starring role in this year's annual Times Square celebration of New Year's Eve.
Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau president Kevin Kane said reports from Beale during Clark's annual "New Year's Rockin' Eve" will kick off the city's part in a national 50th anniversary celebration of rock and roll.
Memphis pop-rocker Justin Timberlake will be part of the celebration; taped segments of the performer will be interspersed with live coverage of Memphis bands onstage in the W. C. Handy Performing Arts Park at Beale and Third. Beale Street is hoping for a turnout of 50,000 for its debut in Clark's musical New Year's Eve countdown.
John Elkington, CEO of Performa Entertainment Real Estate Inc., which manages the Beale Street entertainment district, said ABC-TV plans five cutaways to Memphis during the evening.
Memphis provided what Kane calls the "big bang" of rock and roll on July 5, 1954, when Elvis Presley recorded "That's All Right," the song that many rock historians consider the beginning of the music form. It was Elvis's first record release for Sun Records (on the flip side of "Blue Moon of Kentucky"), and it set Presley's career as the world's first rock star in motion.
On New Year's Eve, that catalyst will be Dick Clark, and Elkington said he is unsure what the show will feature. On a main stage in Handy Park, contemporary Memphis bands and artists will perform, including blues artist Slick Ballinger, rock group Ingram Hill and hip-hop artists Kavious and Poizon. Free Sol, winner of the 2003 Mid-South Grammy Showcase, and Chosen View, a finalist in the event, also are scheduled to perform.
Another Beale Street New Year's Eve tradition is its "Bury the Blues on Beale" attraction in which revelers are invited to deposit the bad memories of 2003 in an open casket. At midnight the casket will be closed, and the new year will begin with a fireworks display.
Kane said Tom Lee Park has held up to 55,000 people during Memphis in May concerts, and at least two-thirds of those crowds got to the park by walking down Beale Street. "I'm sure we've had 30,000 or more down there (on Beale), but I doubt that it has approached 50,000 before."