Concerts, parade kick off Tupelo Elvis Festival event

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The rain didn’t dampen the first evening of the Tupelo Elvis Festival too much.
The carnival rides whirred on and fans hollered at the first concert of the festival, which featured Elvis tribute artist Kevin Mills and Sonny Burgess amp& the Legendary Pacers, featuring DJ Fontana.
“The rain gave us a bit of a break,” said Debbie Brangenberg, festival director. “It’ll really make a difference in temperatures. I think we’ll have the best weather ever in the history of the festival.”
Inside at the concert, fans from across the world – including places like New Zealand and England – lined up to see the band and the Elvis tribute artist. Most fans wore at least an Elvis T-shirt, and some also wore Elvis purses and jewelry.
Burgess kept fans entertained with old favorites like “Folsom Prison Blues,” “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It,” and “Wooly Bully.”
The evening closed with a meet and greet and open mic with Elvis tribute artists.
Temperatures will stay in the mid-to-high 70s today for concerts by Paul Thorn and Jordyn Mallory at Fairpark, the first round of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition and a concert by Tupelo’s first ETA winner, Brandon Bennett. Bennett’s sold-out show will be simulcast outside.
Saturday’s high will reach the low 80s. The day begins with a 5k run, parade, final round of the ETA competition, and a show by last year’s winner, Cody Slaughter.
Little Big Town, David Nail and Randy Houser will perform at Fairpark. Sunday there will be a gospel show at The Lyric, and tickets are still available for it.
“It’s gonna be the best weekend ever,” Brangenberg said.
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com