Elvis fest to keep entertainment focus

ElvisFestlogo2012(2)1By Dennis Seid
Daily Journal

TUPELO – After deeming the 2013 Tupelo Elvis Festival a success, the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association will continue what it thinks is a winning formula for the 15-year-old event.

A board meeting Tuesday of the group met to prioritize events and activities for the coming year, and Elvis Fest topped everyone’s list.

The festival netted more than $38,000 this year, compared to more than $67,000 last year; however, the group said greater exposure from the event also created a bigger buzz, leading to increased revenue in some categories.

For example, ticket sales topped $140,000, compared to $112,000 last year. Merchandise sales picked up about $3,000 more and beverage sales increased by about $1,500.

That helped offset declines in sponsorships (a $5,500 from last year) and events revenue (about $3,000 less, from the carnival.)

“We did have more total income this year, however,” said DTMSA Executive Director Debbie Brangenburg.

Last year’s festival pulled in just under $306,000, while this year’s event rang up nearly $331,000.

But the drop in net income was due to higher expenses, mainly from a boost in entertainment. This year, Elvis Festival organizers spent nearly $178,600 on entertainment, about $37,000 than on the 2012 lineup. An additional $5,000 was spent on advertising and promotions, while an extra $8,400 was spent on business licenses and promotions.

However, board members agreed that the extra money poured into the festival this year was worthwhile and said a similar effort should be made for next year’s festival.

Meanwhile, the Down on Main concert series, a free concert held in Fairpark supported by sponsors, is in the red. DTMSA members said they like the event but think it may need to be reworked.

Rather than pouring additional money into it, some members said that a “bigger, better” Elvis Festival could benefit Down on Main.

“Let the Elvis Presley Festival make money and let it fund other downtown events,” said Duke Loden.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com