Elvis Week Blog 1 – 10 Reasons to Get Excited About Elvis Week 2018

BY JON WATERHOUSE

Lord almighty, I feel my temperature rising. Even as I settle in for my sixth stint as Elvis Week blogger, the arrival of this annual celebration of all things Elvis smacks with excitement.

Although last year’s installment proved to be a landmark edition, Elvis Presley Enterprises and Graceland promise the ultimate encore. Elvis Week 2018 offers an array of attractions and not-to-miss events, from time-honored favorites to Elvis Week firsts.

So how does an Elvis Week attendee make the most of all this Elvisness? The Elvis Week app allows you to select events you’re most interested in and create your own personal schedule. If you can’t make it to Memphis, check out the blog as I provide a behind-the-scenes look with event coverage, backstage interviews and more.

10 REASONS TO GET EXCITED ABOUT ELVIS WEEK 2018

Listening Party for “Where No One Stands Alone”

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Tomorrow fans receive the rare opportunity to attend a kick-off celebration of the new disc “Where No One Stands Alone.” It’s a reimagining of select gospel tracks from the king’s career, featuring Elvis’ lead vox, fresh background vocals from some of the original singers and new instrumentation. Lisa Marie Presley – she duets with her dad on the title cut- and co-producers Joel Weinshanker and Andy Childs give guests a peek behind the curtain of this album event.
Insider Tip: Fans can grab copies of this fresh-out-of-the-box release at Elvis Week, and listen to Elvis Radio on SiriusXM as the DJs spin various tracks.

The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artists

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Each year at Elvis Week, the world’s greatest Elvis tribute artists duke it out for prizes and bragging rights. The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest is their Super Bowl, and the semifinal (tonight) and final round performances (Aug. 12) remain two of the hottest tickets. Need even more Ultimate? Elvis: The Greatest Hits Ultimate Tribute Artist Show (Aug. 11) features Victor Trevino Jr. and a trio of past winners: Bill Cherry, Cody Slaughter and Gordon Hendricks.
Insider Tip: If you want to meet an ETA in person and missed out on the sold-out meet-and-greet event, visit the Elvis Week Entertainment Tent at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, a favorite haunt of many performers.

Graceland Excursions

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See where it all began. These luxury motor coach tours offer a pair of day trips tracing Elvis’ early years and musical influences, respectively. The beat rolls on through Elvis Week with multiple opportunities to experience the two options: the Tupelo, Mississippi – Birthplace of Elvis Presley Tour and the Mississippi Delta Blues Tour. Check the Elvis Week schedule for dates, times and ticket information.
Insider Tip: Photo ops abound on these trips. A selfie stick is essential, especially in front of the statue in Tupelo depicting Elvis’ legendary 1956 performance in that very spot, the former home of Tupelo Fairgrounds.

The Candlelight Vigil

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On Aug. 15, the unprecedented and unrivaled Candlelight Vigil overtakes Elvis Presley Boulevard. After an opening ceremony at the Gates of Graceland, a near-constant procession of fans —candles in hand— trek up Graceland’s driveway to Meditation Garden to pay tribute. For those who can’t make it to Memphis, fire up the Elvis Week app and its virtual candle, and watch the Candlelight Vigil Livestream.
Insider Tip: The Vigil runs rain or shine, so bring an umbrella. Make sure and keep a bottle of water on hand. Even an August night in Memphis can be sweltering.

The Guest House at Graceland

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Whether you’re bunking at this Elvis-inspired, 450-room luxury resort or just passing through, the Guest House holds a special spot on the Elvis Week must list. Not only do several events drop at the Guest House, it’s a great place to refuel and hang with fellow fans.
Insider Tip: Chill in the ornate lobby, sink your teeth into the Memphis Burger at EP’s Bar, or pose for a photo on the first floor staircase.

The Live Concerts

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Music is the life force of Elvis Week, and live performances always strike a chord. Making her first Elvis Week appearance, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love shows off the vocals that earned her a spot on the “’68 Comeback Special” (Aug. 13.) The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley Celebration Concert (Aug. 14) features Elvis’ Imperials and former members of the Stamps Quartet. Italian singing star Niko rocks the Guest House on Aug. 16, and T.G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang take the same stage on Aug. 18. The grand finale arrives on Aug. 18 with Elvis Live in Concert. A live band, including drummer Ronnie Tutt and former members of the Stamps Quartet, performs in synch with video footage of the king.
Insider Tip: After an Elvis Week concert, I always get songs stuck in my head. Thanks to the retail shops at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, I can snag the original version of my current favorite tune, even on vinyl.

The Auction

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Ever imagine owning something that once belonged to Elvis? These and other authenticated Presley-related collectibles go the highest bidders. More than 200 items run the gamut from a pair of dining room chairs once used at Graceland to Elvis’ Bulova wristwatch. Join the action Aug. 12 at the Guest House.
Insider Tip: Can’t make it to the auction? Go online to bid or virtually browse the offerings, and watch the auction live on Sunday.

The Mansion and Exhibits

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The Elvis Week experience isn’t complete without a visit to the king’s castle. The decor, grounds and memorabilia provide an indescribable look at Elvis’ world. Grab the interactive iPad for a deeper dive. Just across the street, Elvis Presley’s Memphis complex has 200,000-square-feet of entertainment and exhibits. A pair of new exhibits debut during Elvis Week. “Lisa Marie: Growing Up Presley” takes a look at the life of Elvis’ only child. The Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum expands with “Where No One Stands Alone: The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley,” which explores Presley’s passion for the genre.
Insider Tip: You can easily spend an entire day perusing the mansion and all of the exhibits. I typically get my extra energy boost from the eateries at Elvis Presley’s Memphis. The BBQ sampler at Vernon’s Smokehouse stays in step with Memphis’ reputation for killer ‘cue, and the grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich at Gladys’ Diner rocks with comfort food indulgence.

Live Interviews

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Fans have multiple opportunities to attend live interviews with a variety of folks who knew Elvis personally. This includes Darlene Love (Aug. 14), who will talk about working with Elvis on the “’68 Comeback Special” and his final dramatic film “Change of Habit.” Other live chats include Dr. Emily “Cissy” Houston of the Sweet Inspirations (Aug. 15) and “’68 Comeback Special” director and producer Steve Binder (Aug. 16.)
Insider Tip: If you can’t arrive early to grab a choice seat, don’t fret. Jumbo screens provide an up-close-and-personal vantage point of the interviews.

Fans

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Perhaps my favorite aspect of Elvis Week continues to be mingling with fellow fans, who span the entire planet. I’ve met devotees from Alabama to Argentina, Jacksonville to Japan and all points in between. Despite the geographical differences, we all speak the same language: Elvis.
Insider Tip: If you’re attending, bring business cards or have your mobile device at the ready to share contact information with likeminded Elvis lovers, and keep the connection rocking all year.


3 Comments

  1. stephen

    At the end of his last TV Concert in 1977, Vernon comes on to say a few words: he is surrounded by boxes and boxes of letters sent in to Graceland. Any thought of publishing a book with a cross section of them from various parts of the US and the world?

  2. Elizabeth Lazenby

    I’ve never been to an Elvis week but I hope to get to one.

  3. matt goodrich

    GIMME GIMME GOOD LOVIN’ E’VRYDAY .. E

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