I’ve had many people share with me their story about where they were when they found out that Elvis died. I’m sure that my story isn’t that much different from a lot of people who live relatively close to Memphis. Here’s my story.
I was walking back to the entertainment tent at Graceland when I saw 4 people from Brazil. I was in my Elvis Week element when I started talking to them and asking them about their visit. Only one of them had ever been to Graceland before. One of the men did most of the talking. He grabbed at the blue wristband on his arm and said, “I don’t like this.” I said I didn’t like it either. The wristband was a “Graceland Property Pass” that gave you access to various areas during Elvis Week. It was also the only way you could get to the Candlelight Vigil this year. The only way to get this pass was to purchase one of the tour packages. The minimum cost of one of these packages was nearly $30. This was a significant change for an event that has always been free. It didn’t affect us because we were already planning to tour the house and the new visitor’s center exhibits. But it was affecting our Brazilian friends because they were spending the week in Memphis for Elvis Week. They had done the tours and exhibits earlier in the week and had no reason to revisit them. Each of them purchased an additional $30 ticket just to do the candlelight vigil and they didn’t like it. These changes came up early in our conversations with most people and without me asking. Change has come to Graceland and the fans don’t like it.
I have made regular trips for several years to Graceland for Elvis Week in August. Graceland also has activities in January to celebrate Elvis’ birthday. I have never visited Graceland during his birthday celebration. They don’t have anything that goes on during his birthday celebration that compares to the Candlelight Vigil experience. It doesn’t attract as many people so it’s not an environment that seems to be as good for people watching. Still, many Elvis fans from around the world come to Memphis for his birthday. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to travel through Memphis on a Monday after Elvis’ birthday when it fell on a weekend.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller