The King of Rock N' Roll
Elvis Week, the famous annual celebration of the late Elvis Presley, took place last week! This year’s festivities ran from Aug. 9–17, and marked the 45th anniversary of Elvis’s death.
The celebration takes place yearly in Memphis, Tenn., the rocker’s hometown, and is full of festivities such as concerts, panels and a vigil to honor the life and legacy of Elvis. These exciting celebrations bring in, on average, a $10 million economic boost to the southern city of Memphis yearly. Daily and weekly tickets can be purchased online with packages selling for as high as $1840. Participants screened the “Elvis” movie and participated in a Graceland vigil. A virtual Elvis Week option was available for its second year where viewers could see live concerts, special guests and additional fan experiences for prices between $130-$225.
Memphis is home to several large events, with two major ones being Elvis Week and the PGA Tour FedEx St. Jude Championship. Due to the PGA tour being moved from July to mid-August this summer, the two Memphis-based festivities occurred simultaneously! This is expected to boost the Memphis economy by millions of dollars. It is still too early to determine an exact number but forecasters are expecting significant financial gain. Memphis is expecting tourists to gather around the iconic street downtown, known for blues music, entertainment and “the true birthplace of Rock n Roll”: Beale Street.
Elvis Week activities are based in Graceland, the famous estate of Elvis Presley that approximately 500,000 fans visit yearly for tours and tributes. The estate contains the Graceland Mansion, Soundstage, Guest House, Guest House Ballroom and Meditation Garden. This iconic landmark is one of the South’s biggest tourist spots, generating an estimated $150 million annually for the city of Memphis. Behind only the White House, Graceland was America's second-most visited home for years. Due to COVID-19, revenue from the landmark decreased. However, a 450-room hotel and other new additions were added to the estate, which accommodated and contributed to revitalizing Graceland and its incoming revenue.
Elvis Week consisted of many events designed to memorialize Elvis and bring fans together. The itinerary included concerts performed by Elvis’s backup singers or artists who sang with the “King of rock n’ roll,” an emotional panel featuring the rock icon’s friends and family, a screening of “Elvis” and the main event: a nightlong candlelight vigil at the Gates of Graceland, where Elvis and his family are buried. Thousands of fans, amidst a sea of candles, trekked down the estate to his burial site to pay their respects.
An incredibly important component of Elvis Week for the fans is the Elvis Tribute Artist Contest (ETA). This contest is where Elvis impersonators don his costumes and replicate dance moves to compete for the title of best Elvis impersonator. Pre-Elvis Week, thousands of ETA performers competed in licenced preliminaries to qualify for the prestigious showcase. Elvis Week is, in part, about recognizing and appreciating fans from across the globe, who looked forward to this event after a two-year break caused by the pandemic.This year’s Elvis Week saw larger, younger crowds which is largely in part due to the groundbreaking “Elvis” movie that came out this June. The musical and drama film, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Austin Butler, tells the emotional tale of Elvis Presley’s life, family, managerial abuse and spectacular rise to fame. This movie is still in theaters and has already made over $140 million domestically and $260 million worldwide, making the film the third-highest grossing music biopic ever. This movie resonated with Elvis’s old fans and introduced Elvis to the younger generation. As Action News reporter Kelli Cook pointed out, “Thanks to a growing younger fan base, Memphis could see huge crowds for the annual event for years to come.”
Photo Caption: Elvis Presley
Photo Credit: Pixabay