Top 5 Things I Can’t Wait to Experience at Elvis Week

BY JON WATERHOUSE

Primed and ready like the king before a big show, Elvis Week 2017 will be the biggest and best us fans have seen to date.

No, I’m not channeling my inner game show host or over exaggerating. I’ll take the blogger’s oath on this one. It’s going to be huge, folks. Expect more shimmer than Elvis’ jumpsuit collection, more excitement than opening day of a Presley picture, and more camaraderie than 100 family reunions.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ passing. With a multitude of events spreading across nine days and Graceland’s largest expansion in full force, thousands upon thousands of Elvis lovers from around the globe will be walking in Memphis, celebrating the music, movies, and legacy of the greatest entertainment icon of all time.

At this moment, my fingers tap across my computer keyboard, signaling the beginning of my fifth stint as Elvis Week Blogger. I’ll be diving into the celebration for the duration, covering events, interviewing some of the special guests, and giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Elvis Week an unparalleled phenomenon.

For me, Elvis Week always elicits a range of emotion. Right now, I’m amping up on adrenaline and anticipation. Imagine Lucky Jackson behind the wheel in “Viva Las Vegas.” That’s me, and I’m about to shift into high gear.

Rose Riot Photography. Be sure to leave room in your suitcase for Elvis Week souvenirs!

Rose Riot Photography.

Seriously, I could write for hours about what I’m looking forward to at Elvis Week 2017. To bypass the carpal tunnel, I’m sticking to the top five things I can’t wait to experience – and check a few of my favorite photos from Elvis Weeks past.

Elvis Presley’s Memphis

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This will be the first Elvis Week fans have access to this new state-of-the-art entertainment and exhibit complex. Many not-to-miss Elvis Week events will be dropping there. Having swung open its gates in March, Elvis Presley’s Memphis has 200,000-square-feet of entertainment and exhibits. Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, arguably the star attraction, serves as the most sprawling and extensive Elvis museum on the planet. Elvis Presley’s Memphis also plays host to the brand new home of Elvis Radio, the 24-hour all-Elvis station on SiriusXM satellite radio. Keep your ears open for me on the air, as I’ll be popping in periodically. Angie Marchese, the director of archives at Graceland, will be giving me a tour of the grounds and exhibits, so make sure and check out the blog for a full report.

The Guest House at Graceland
Back at Elvis Week 2014, I watched as Priscilla Presley led the groundbreaking ceremony. Last year, I slipped on a hard hat and took a tour of the construction site. I could see The Guest House coming to life before my eyes. This time I’ll be bunking in kingly style, occupying one of the 450 rooms at this luxury resort. With several amazing Elvis Week events taking place at The Guest House, I’ll be steps away from the action. If you see me fueling up at Delta’s Kitchen or EP’s Bar & Grill —the resort’s two full-service restaurants— come join the party. Visit the blog in the coming days and learn more about my Guest House adventures.

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The Candlelight Vigil
A true cultural anomaly, the annual Candlelight Vigil simply defies description. On Aug. 15, throngs of Elvis fans will line Elvis Presley Boulevard, some creating artistic tributes to the king right on the asphalt. 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 to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. A seemingly endless sea of flickering candles illuminate the darkness. No matter how many photos or videos you see of the Candlelight Vigil, nothing can compare to witnessing this mesmerizing event in person. With this being the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ passing, I’m expecting something even more monumental.

The Special Guests
Elvis Week never fails to give fans the opportunity to see and meet some of those who knew Elvis best. Priscilla Presley will be making a special appearance, and a who’s who of friends, colleagues, and collaborators take the stage for live interviews. The guest list looks to be extra long this year. It runs the gamut from music legends Wanda Jackson and Bill Medley to Elvis’ confidant Jerry Schilling to actress Pat Priest, who co-starred in “Easy Come, Easy Go.” Look for an exclusive Jerry Schilling Q&A coming soon to the blog.

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The Live Concerts
Of course, Elvis music serves as the ultimate soundtrack throughout Elvis Week. And a cavalcade of concerts plug in for 2017. Last year’s gospel show had me floating on melodic clouds, so I’ll definitely be dancing in the aisles at The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley Celebration Concert. (8 p.m. Aug. 12. Graceland Soundstage A, Elvis Presley’s Memphis.) Thankfully, I snagged tickets to the sold-out concert, The Ultimate Return. The first 10 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist winners, including 2016 champ Dwight Icenhower, will be sharing the stage. (7 p.m. Aug. 18. Graceland Soundstage A, Elvis Presley’s Memphis.) The big kahuna, however, is Elvis: Live in Concert. (8 p.m. Aug. 16. FedEx Forum.) This 40th anniversary celebration features a full symphony orchestra performing live as Elvis sings along on a massive screen. Priscilla Presley and other surprise guests will be in attendance. Yet, that’s just the tip of the jukebox. More concerts play out during Elvis Week. Check the schedule and come back to the blog for my backstage coverage.


19 Comments

  1. Barbara

    Hi Jon,

    Love your passion! I am stuck in Jersey for Elvis Week, but would love to hear Dixie Locke Emmons at the Insider’s Conference on Monday. I read that she basically showed interest in him first at a church youth group meeting(before fame hit) and really admire that, since was somewhat “unusual” and not the hunk he became. I contend that SHE discovered Elvis! I also read that they would “escape” to “colored” churches to take in the music and energy. If by any chance you go, I would love to hear what she shares. Unfortunately it is not on Livestream. THANKS!

  2. I attended the Elvis in concert at the Good Year Theater in Akron, Ohio – what a wonderful concert!!! Can’t be in Memphis for Elvis week but this was an awesome way to pay tribute to The King of Rock & Roll – Mahalo nui loa – Dahmia

  3. Kelly Kelly

    I have never been to Elvis week…… have loved that voice and man since I was about 11 uears old…..wish I could be there!!! Maybe next year…..

  4. Leaving for Elvis Week Sunday morning from Canada, so excited tone there for the 40th!

    Hope we get to SEE a lot

  5. Kimberley Earle

    Hi
    I love the blog so far! I live in the U.K. and can’t come to Elvis Week this special year however I will be celebrating the life of the King on the 16th which is also my 20th wedding anniversary! We are having a garden party with plenty of Elvis Music and if I can work out how to tune in to SiriusXM, that too will be blasting! I look forward to the rest of your blog and hope I can believe I am there through that, even if not in person!! Have a great time all of you who are there! X

  6. Christina Holgate

    So looking forward to your blogs! You really capture the energy and excitement of Elvis Week!

  7. matty farce goodrich

    ROLLIN’ UP THR RIVER. TRUE PASSION WOULD BE EXPERIENCED IF “ELVIS WEEK” WAS
    DONE AS GET TOGETHER ON ONE OF THE “PADDLE WHEELS” ON THE MISSISSIPPI
    DELTA ….. ENJOY .

  8. I.ll be there on the 15th and 16th to visite Graceland and the concert. Can’t wait

  9. Thank you,
    Thank you very much!!!

  10. Richard

    Jon, great story, very helpful!

    What BBQ places do you recommend in and around Memphis during Elvis Week?

  11. Mareesa

    Hi Jon,
    Love reading your blog post. I’m on the plane right now heading into Memphis via a few states leaving Sydney Australia 3 weeks ago. My friend and I were at the 30th Anniversary in 2007 and vowed to save to come back again for the 40th. Blessed we are to be back, Memphis is my heart’s soul home. TCB⚡#EP #ElvisLives

  12. Roseanne Joseph

    Wish I could be there but I am in spirit I enjoy reading the blogs everyday and hearing what everyone is saying about Elvis Week my best wishes to everyone especially Priscilla and Lisa Presley sincerely Roseanne Biondo Joseph

  13. Barbara C.

    Thanks for the great blog. Oh, how I wish I could be there for Elvis week! I have loved Elvis since I was a child and my Mom took me to see his movies. I saw him in concert at Madison Square Garden in 1972 and saw him 5 other times at Nassau Coliseum…absolutely amazing! The most talented and handsome man that ever lived….Happy 40th Anniversary in Heaven, dear Elvis!

    • Dear Barbara,
      Share your sentiments wholeheartedly, and I too, was at Madison Square Garden and the six shows at Nassau Coliseum in ’73 and ’75. Aren’t we so blessed to be able to say that?? We surely are! Yes, “Happy 40th anniversary in heaven, dear Elvis!” Time does not diminish how much we love and miss him……..

  14. jean wilson

    I will get to be ther on the 15 for the candlelite-am so excited

  15. Susan Howe

    Hi Joyce,

    From Vancouver – I have been twice and was blown away each time – you will love it – dive right in – it is so great to be around everyone with the same mind set!! Susan

  16. Emily Christensen

    Next year for my 40th I will be there. I’m from the UK, but will be coming from Dubai. 29 years of being a fan :)

  17. Jeanette from SAn Francisco

    Love your BLOG. I saw ELVIS in San Francisco, did the candle light 10 years ago. I will be listening to ELVIS all week long. Enjoy ELVIS week!!

  18. carol b.

    Love, love,lo ve Elvis from Buffalo, NY

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