Elvis fans, for the first time ever, will have to pay to get onto the grounds at Graceland for the vigil. A wrist-band will cost between $28-$75 and without it, Elvis fans will not be allowed through the gates of Graceland. Many fans are horrified and outraged. One fan even went as far as to call them Money Hungry Bastards.
Pretty CLEVER this was just announced LATE Thursday night when fans are just arriving or headed to Graceland, huh? Too late to cancel. Maybe Clever is the wrong word. More like Sneaky and dishonest! It also shows they KNEW fans would be upset about this. IF this really was a "safety" concern, why not be upfront about it?
My Fox 13 Memphis reached out to Elvis Presley Enterprises Thursday evening and they received this statement from EPE
"This year we have updated our security measures at Graceland for Elvis Week, as we anticipate very large crowds for this 40th anniversary. In order to keep everyone safe and ensure an enjoyable and meaningful event for all, we have worked closely with local, state and federal security authorities to establish new procedures that have been widely used across the us. An Elvis Week property pass wristband now allows guests to enter all non-ticketed parts of Graceland property throughout Elvis Week, including the Elvis Week entertainment tent, ticket pavilion, restaurants and select gift shops, plus free parking after 5 pm. This wristband is included with a ticket to Elvis Presley’s Memphis during Elvis week (our lowest priced tour ticket). Since the vast majority of our guests take our tour as part of their visit during Elvis Week, there is no additional cost to them. During the candlelight vigil evening, we invite everyone to join us on Elvis Presley Blvd. In front of the mansion. Guests are welcome to stay in this area throughout the evening to watch the candlelight vigil ceremony, and observe the procession without a property pass. As with all other Elvis Week events on the Graceland campus, to join the procession up to meditation garden, guests will need their Elvis Week property pass wristband. For guests who join us for vigil night only and wish to join the procession, they will be able to purchase an Elvis Presley’s Memphis tour ticket that evening and receive their property pass."
Last year with the protests and concerns, both EPE and the Memphis Police Department masterfully handled the unfortunate situation. BUT the "Safety" concerns EPE is siting makes no sense. Elvis Presley Blvd will be open to the public and FREE for ALL. There was only one issue inside the gate and that was one woman who was escorted quickly off the property. She caused no harm to anyone or anything. Majority of the "safety" concerns happened on the BLVD. So in my opinion, EPE is just using the protests as an excuse to charge fans. And charge fans for an event STARTED BY FANS FOR FANS. It's outrageous! Charging for a memorial service, LOW, VERY LOW! And please don't forget you can upgrade to the "FAST PASS" And not wait in line at the candle light service. For an additional FEE, of course!
Now, last year I told you don't be surprised if next year EPE charges for the vigil. And here we are! Surprise, Surprise!
Also last year, I said I would personally be all for EPE charging a fee to get on the BLVD, much like Beale St. I suggested fans get their money back as a credit in the shops or the money going to a charity or to the city for the expense of the police. But this is just pure profit and GREED. Remember Folks, EPE is not privately owned. All these added high fees go to a corporation. And you are NOT being disloyal to Elvis by expressing your outrage or disapproval. Being EPE's cheerleaders for everything they do does not make you a better fan. And disliking certain things does not make you less of a fan. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Many fans DO NOT TOUR the house every year. With the summer school schedule of events, it's hard enough to even find time for a relaxing meal or visit with friends. Some years, the fans who have been traveling to Memphis for decades, skip the house. And with all the price changes, higher travel cost into Memphis especially for the European fans, corners have to be cut.
EPE knows they can do whatever they want, charge whatever they want because the sheep will keep coming. And that is true. But Elvis fans don't do that for any other reason than they LOVE ELVIS PRESLEY. And for that, no one can fault them! But shame on EPE for taking advantage of their loyalty.
Many Elvis fans have been going to Elvis Week since day 1. Many fans go a few times a year. Many fans go on a wing and a prayer. Many save all year, or even every five years to go. Many take loans, put the trip on a credit card and by the time they pay it off, it's time to charge the next Elvis Week.
We fans are average Americans, hard working people. Elvis knew that about his fans. And that's why he never even wanted his ticket prices raised. So just be careful falling for all the propaganda EPE spews. Like those Israel trips....oh and remember the SUPER 8 prices for the Guesthouse they were promising before it was built?
One fan emailed me and asked, if it was even legal for EPE to charge to go to the grave since it's considered a cemetery. Honestly, I don't know the answer to that. What I do know is I am sure EPE would not be doing anything illegal.
Again, if this really was a "safety" concern, EPE and the city of Memphis should have done what is done on Beale St, have people pay to get on the BLVD, show ID and be patted down. That is where I could fully understand a safety issue. The money to the Memphis Police or a local charity. NOT PROFIT for Joel and his corporation.
The folks standing in line FOR HOURS, IN THE HEAT, IN THE RAIN ETC ARE NOT A SAFETY CONCERN. I call BS to this. This is all about the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR.
Elvis is rolling over in his grave. This is a DISGRACE and it is SO DISRESPECTFUL to Elvis Presley, His LEGACY and his LOYAL FANS from around the globe!
Sources - Megan Murphy BIM - Fox 13