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Memphis welcomes global fanbase for Elvis Week

The week is a hybrid schedule of both in-person and virtual events
Elvis Presley's Graceland
Elvis Presley's Graceland(WMC)
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 4:33 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Elvis is back in Memphis and fans have not been able to hold in their excitement.

“We actually had fans come in town early this year to start participating in things here in Memphis and seeing the town, just because they could,” said Angie Marchese, vice president of archives and exhibits at Graceland. “I mean, it’s just so amazing to be able to have guests here and to be able to have the Elvis family back in town to experience and celebrate Elvis’s life and legacy here in Memphis.”

Elvis Week returns to Memphis with a hybrid schedule this year of in-person and virtual events for fans.

Though this is typically a week for fans from across the world to come to the Bluff City, not having the opportunity to visit the home of the King of Rock and Roll during the height of the pandemic has unlocked another base of fans, according to Marchese.

“There a lot of locals who take Graceland, ‘Well, it’s in our backyard. We can go whenever.’ But now that it wasn’t in their backyard for a year, there weren’t events going on, it seems like everyone’s excited to get out and be part of everything,” she said.

Memphis Tourism is also excited to have the annual event back in person, to an extent.

“It’s difficult to come up with an actual economic impact this year’s Elvis Week will have on the area, according to Kevin Kern, vice president of public relations. “But it will, without a doubt, be better than last year. We really see a little bit of a lift in hotel bookings across the city. Elvis Week, Memphis in May, the Liberty Bowl, there are a variety of events that are mainstays in the calendar that we look forward to in the tourism industry, that hotels and restaurants and attractions look forward to as well.”

“There is this element of energy in the air that people are actually here and able to enjoy in-person events during Elvis Week,” Marchese said.

Though some of the events are virtual, Marchese said Graceland has had the last year to prepare a more impactful experience for fans.

“They’re actually seeing the events live as they happen in The Soundstage, as well as being able to view them 72 hours afterwards,” Marchese said. “We added a virtual tour element for our fans around the world, who probably could never get to Memphis that can actually tour Graceland virtually.”

“This is kind of the unofficial end to the summer travel season with Elvis Week kind of the exclamation point on the summer travel season. And of course, we’re still seeing a lot of visitors coming into the city,” said Kern.

It creates a more well-rounded experience for fans globally, and especially for those who come to the Bluff City where in-person events are already selling out.

“Concerts, panel discussions, luaus, dance parties, movie screenings, I mean there’s so much going on,” Marchese said.

Marchese said in a non-pandemic world, this year would be considered an off-year Elvis Week compared to important anniversary years, like next year being the 45th anniversary.

However, because fans have been so eager to get here after not being able to last year, she said numbers could be a pleasant surprise.

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