Sherry May of “Live at the Garden” Addresses Women’s Leadership Network Luncheon

A sold-out luncheon of professional women heard Sherry May, Executive Director of Live at the Garden, discuss the history of the annual summer series of musical concerts at the Botanic Garden at Ridgeway Country Club on February 13th.  The Women’s Leadership Network program is presented by First Horizon.

A native Memphian and lifelong music lover, May shared her own professional story of years spent in the travel industry and civic-minded organizations, including both Beale Street Development and Make-A-Wish Foundation, before taking the helm of the now iconic music series some 20 years ago.

Tracing the history of Live at the Garden from its humble and struggling early years, complete with financial hardship and a rented stage, and on to the current five-concert series lineup held under a beautiful new permanent stage area, May entertained guests with a list of musical “who’s whos” that have brought their talent to Live at the Garden. From Joe Cocker, Toby Keith, Daryll Hall & John Oates, The Goo Goo Dolls, Diana Ross, ZZ Topp, Tony Bennett, Robert Plant, Little Big Town and a host of other national acts, Live at the Garden has provided a magical venue for Mid-Southerners who love all kinds of music.

May admitted that her job “is a dream come true.” She added, “I never thought as a little girl that I would ever have gotten to do something like this.” May understands the importance of cultural assets for her community, and she is rightfully proud of what she and her team have built. “Live at the Garden is a great asset for the community of Memphis.”

Live at the Garden events offer space for a 7,000-plus audience, which includes a choice of tables complete with white tablecloths or the informality of simply sitting on the grounds. And, this venue offers a host of food and drink options: pre-ordering from one the participating caterers, purchasing food on-site, or bringing your own cooler full of goodies. While May admits that the event would garner more revenue via concessions if they disallowed coolers, she also knows how much the legacy of dining on the grounds fits in with the spirit of Live at the Garden.

Sherry May has been at the helm of Live at the Garden since its inception in 2000 and looks forward to an exciting 20th anniversary this year. While she has special memories of many of the performers – musical talent Seal and his time spent with St. Jude children and families, having to tell Diana Ross “no” to the request for white leather

furniture in her dressing room, and her own misadventure on a golf cart as she almost ran Chris Isaak down – her wonderful memories are overshadowed by the promise of new performances and new stories to come.

Join the Women’s Leadership Network for their next luncheon on April 16th, featuring Judith Black Moore of the Tarik Black Foundation.

The Women’s Leadership Network of the Collierville Chamber of Commerce is one of many networking opportunities available to Chamber members. For information about the Women’s Leadership Network, Ascend Young Professionals, Lunch & Learn and Monthly Membership meetings, and the many benefits of membership, go to or call 901-853-1949.

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