Elvis Presley died 40 years ago today and just like every year since his death Graceland is expecting crowds of people to make the pilgrimage to his grave. There aren’t too many celebrities like Elvis Presley who draw a crowd to their grave four decades after they’ve been laid to rest.
While it is expected for more people to visit Graceland this week than any other week during the year, Elvis Presley’s home and grave are visited by 500,000 fans annually. Graceland was the home of Elvis and he, along with other family members, are buried on the grounds of this grand estate.
This year officials have planned for a crowd of 30,000 to 50,000 to make their way to Memphis, Tennessee, to pay their respects to the king of rock n’ roll on the grounds of Graceland mansion. Elvis’ fans were greeted by Priscella and Lisa Marie Presley on Tuesday night before the vigil.
The wife and daughter of the iconic entertainer thanked the crowds for coming before the fans made their way in a slow procession through the Graceland grounds to the grave of Elvis. The fans held candles as they silently moved along on their mission of paying respect.
This description of a memorial for Elvis paints a very solemn scene, but there was an undercurrent that started for many fans when they first arrived at the Graceland gate. This is when they learned that visiting the gravesite of Elvis for this vigil was no longer free. The new ticket price would set them back $28.75 each to attend this vigil at the grave of Elvis for the first time in Graceland history.
This year, on the 40th anniv of Elvis Presley's death, it's going to cost fans $28.75 to visit the Graceland Estate https://t.co/V3q38Rla3S— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) August 16, 2017
Fred Schwarz of Springfield, Illinois, told reporters that he and his wife have come to Graceland for this vigil several times through the years and they’ve never been charged. He feels insulted with this ticket price.
“I looked forward to going down there this year, and they come up with all this,” Schwarz said. “I don’t want to even go to Memphis anymore. The people running that are not Elvis fans. They are in business. Corporations, they want the bottom line.”
The Schwarz couple were far from being alone with their thoughts on this surprise charge that allowed you to join in on a vigil for Elvis. According to Fox News, Cheryl Skogen from Los Angeles was the third person from the top of the line that was formed on Tuesday morning in anticipation of Tuesday night’s vigil. She told reporters,
“I don’t think Elvis would like it if he knew the fans were charged to go up and see.”
Some Elvis fans are all shook up because It now costs $28.75 to visit his grave for his death anniversary vigil. https://t.co/pf0S1uDAgb— AP South U.S. Region (@APSouthRegion) August 15, 2017
When the online world of social media got wind of the new charge, many thought this was outrageous. Fred Schwarz had mentioned this has turned into a big business and it looks as though he was correct in his assessment of the present day Graceland.
According to Fox, there’s much going on around the Graceland property, like a $90 million 450-room hotel, which opened last year. This is part of the bigger picture, which is $140 million expansion to Graceland’s property. The complex was built to replace an older building that housed the cars that belonged to Elvis, along with his clothes and other personal belongings that are on display for the public.
According to the Evening Standard, there was no cost for attending this vigil over the four decades since the death of Elvis. The cost has always been just the tank of gas that gets you there. People joined in on this vigil for free, after all, it is a memorial to Elvis, it is not something that is expected to entertain the masses.
Another cost that Graceland faces is security for the crowds of people that show up this week to remember Elvis and attend a vigil. Some people in the crowd didn’t have a problem with the new charge associated with paying their respects to Elvis. Joe Makowski of St. Petersburg, Florida said,
“It goes along with the territory of the popularity of Elvis. There’s a price for that as well, to accommodate all the people.”
Makowski, who sounds like a mega Elvis fan after revealing that he had seen him more than 80 times in concert, understood that the cost of security had to be rather taxing on the Graceland corporation. He also compared Graceland to other tourist attractions that need to charge a fee to be able to accommodate the crowds that visit.
[Featured Image by photosounds/Shutterstock]