Long ago, Memphis started as a marketplace for natural resources and agricultural goods. Later on, it developed a reputation as a global marketplace for lumber and cotton. Today, Memphis has become a center for media, entertainment, commerce, and the arts. Memphis city is also internationally renowned for its unique style of barbecue each year, more than 100,000 visitors arrive for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Memphis may have gotten its start as one of the top commercial centers for logistics and transportation, but now there are a large number of small businesses in other industries all contributing to the economy as well. From serving up Memphis barbecue to offering cleaning services, these small businesses keep Memphis the unique, diverse city that it is today.
From Beale Street to the Orpheum Theatre, Memphis brings in a regular stream of tourists. These visitors arrive to check out events like International Week, the Great River Run, and the Beale Street Music Festival. Other popular events that draw a crowd are the Cooper-Young Festival, the Memphis Italian Festival, Carnival Memphis, and the Memphis International Jazz Festival.
And while Nashville gets all of the attention for its country music, Memphis has an equally huge music scene for blues, hip-hop, country, rock n' roll, and soul. It is now one of the most cultural spots in the south, with a variety of historic landmarks and neighborhoods. Over the years, Memphis has also given birth to the careers of many famous musicians, like Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash.