Band Director Southern Heritage Classic / Steve Jones

Southern Heritage Classic:

The Best College Football Weekend In Memphis

From early September through the Holidays in December and January, one thing and one thing only dominates southern life: College Football. Though some will say it’s just a game, we know it’s so much more. College football brings us together at the office. It divides us in our houses. It gives us good reason to wear loud colors and call radio stations to rant. College football taps into a unique southern spirit, and there may be no more unique college football event in the country than the annual Southern Heritage Classic.

Running from September 11 - 14, 2019 this is the 30th year of the Southern Heritage Classic, one of the biggest HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) rivalry games of the year. Since 1990, upwards of 40,000 fans annually have come from Jackson State University and Tennessee State University to Memphis and Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to see their respective alma-maters battle it out for annual bragging rights. 

Since 1989, the Southern Heritage Classic started like so many great ideas, out of necessity. The two teams played each other regularly, but the geographic distance dampened attendance, especially for the visiting squad. The question then was to increase attendance and and make this great game a two-sided affair? At some point in the late 80s, a solution emerged: Host the game in Memphis, a geographically neutral location accessible to both campuses and a hotbed for both schools’ alumni. And like so many great ideas, the benefits far exceed the initial intentions. Over the past 29 years, the Classic has become more than a way to boost attendance. It’s become a celebration of HBCU’s.  

And with that celebration comes so much more than the game, which, by the way has featured future super bowl participants like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Anthony Levine and Lamar Divens.

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the can’t-miss events during Southern Heritage Classic weekend:

Throughout the weekend: 

Classic Tailgate starts at 10 a.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium parking lot and Tobey Park. Friends, Football and Food. Premium Tiger Lane, RV info and tailgating packages available.

Wednesday, September 11

Classic Gala
6 p.m., Graceland Soundstage. Celebrating 30 years of Classic Culture. Exclusively Black Tie.
Music by Trio Plus. Presented by The Honorable Jim Strickland, Mayor of Memphis. Invitation only.

Thursday, September 12

Classic Concert presented by Cracker Barrel 
8 p.m., Orpheum Theatre. Enjoy an evening of Classic soul starring Gladys Knight and Jeffrey Osborne. Tickets: $128, $98, $88 and $68 plus service charges. All seats reserved. 

ON SALE NOW at Orpheum Theatre Box Office and online at To charge by phone, call 1-800-745-3000.

Friday, September 13

Classic College & Career Fair 
9 a.m., Pipkin Building at Tiger Lane/Fairgrounds. Presented by the City of Memphis Office of Youth Services. Regional college and university representatives will be available to provide information about attending college. For information and a list of participating schools, contact Seria Ross at (901) 636-6264 or email [email protected]CLICK HEREfor registration.
Visit online at Free admission.

Classic Coaches Luncheon presented by FedEx Noon, Sheraton Memphis Downtown/Heritage Ballroom. A Classic salute to TSU head football coach Rod Reed and JSU head football coach John Hendrick. Special guest speaker: Beverly Robertson, President & CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber. Invitation only.

Bringing It to the Bluff Showdown 
7 p.m., Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. A high-quality dance showcase featuring majorettes, hip-hop teams, and Ballet on Wheels. Doors open at 6 p.m. Free tickets can be picked up at the Memphis Office of Youth Services, 315 S. Hollywood, and Magic Wireless (Hacks Cross). At the door, present your ticket with 1 jar of peanut butter or 1 canned good to support the Memphis Food Bank. Presented by Ike Griffith, Director, Memphis Office of Youth Services.

Classic Music Festival 
8 p.m., Landers Center. Enjoy Classic performances by Keith Sweat, Joeand Tamia. Tickets: $127, $97, $77 and $57 plus services charges. All seats reserved. ON SALE NOW at Landers Center Box Office and online at To charge by phone, call 1-800-745-3000.

Saturday, September 14

Classic Tailgate 
8 a.m., Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium parking lot and Tobey Park. Friends, Food and Football. Premium Tiger Lane, RV and tailgating packages available. ON SALE NOW online at To charge by phone, call 1-800-745-3000. For more information, call (901) 729-4344.

Memphis District Golf Classic 
8 a.m., Tunica National Golf & Tennis. $500 per team, 4 man scramble. For information, call (901) 721-7121 or online at

Classic/NIKE Kids 3K 
9 a.m., National Civil Rights Museum. Run/Walk for ages 6-14. REGISTER HERE.

Classic Parade 
9 a.m., Presented by the Orange Mound Community Parade Committee (OMCPC) as a salute to the Southern Heritage Classic. The parade route is along Park Avenue from Haynes to Airways featuring area high school marching bands. For information, contact Claudette Boyd at (901) 413-7109 or online at

Classic Fashions & Brunch 
11 a.m., Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. “Ooh La La! Runway Excellence” presented by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. – Memphis Chapter. Tickets: $50. For tickets and information, call (901) 213-7481 or online at

Classic Battle of the Bands 
11 a.m., Whitehaven High School Stadium. The competition will feature the best high school show bands in the region with show-stopping dance routines. Tickets: $12 advance; $15 day of. For tickets and information, contact Kellen Christian at (901) 214-6094 or email at [email protected]

Southern Heritage Classic Football Game 
6 p.m., Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. A great football rivalry featuring TENNESSEE STATE vs JACKSON STATE. Tickets: $53, $38 and $23 plus service charges. All seats reserved. ON SALE NOW online at To charge by phone, call 1-800-745-3000.

AutoZone Halftime Show

TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands
and JSU’s Sonic Boom of the South

Classic 5th Quarter

A grand finale for the Southern Heritage Classic football game featuring a battle of the bands.