Beale Street cover charge returns Friday and Saturday

Beale Street cover charge returns Friday and Saturday

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Enjoying the blues after 10 p.m. on Beale will cost you this weekend.

The $5 coverage charge to get onto Beale Street will be enforced Friday and Saturday night.

The Downtown Memphis Commission made the recommendation to the City Council this week.

“I don't see the need to charge you to walk up and down a sidewalk, that would be crazy,” said Sherry Fuller, visitor.

However, city officials say it’s an issue of crowd control and weather often plays a role with how many people show up on the iconic street.

Jennifer Oswalt with the Downtown Memphis Commission said in an email sent Tuesday to current Beale Street Task Force Chair Kemp Conrad and former Chair Berlin Boyd that no rain is expected in the forecast Friday and Saturday evening.

"Further we believe that the implementation of the fee in May, along with the other safety and security procedures kept crowd size down to a level where, even when we had incidents, there were no serious injuries reported,” Oswalt said.

Three people from Chicago were arrested around 2 a.m. Monday after a scuffle with police on Beale Street. No one else was hurt.

Memphis City Council Chair Kemp Conrad says that’s proof the fee works.

“I would have liked for the fee to be a little bit higher. When deciding on a $5 fee, most people wanted a lot of people wanted something closer to $8 to $10,” said Conrad.

Conrad also supports a fee staying in place for the rest of the summer.

The $5 fee goes toward paying for permanent security upgrades on the street, including an unclimbable fence.

Tuesday, the full council will discuss how to handle the Beale Street fee for the rest of the year.

WMC Action News 5 spoke with council members Martavious Jones and Patrice Robinson who both said they still don’t support an admission fee and would prefer MPD simply shut down the street once it is deemed to be too crowded.

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