Elvis Fest 2012 : More Elvis, more music

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The 2012 Tupelo Elvis Festival will focus on Elvis and country music, according to new strategies outlined Tuesday by organizers.
Jim Goodwin, president of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association board and the 2012 festival chairman, on Tuesday talked about the ongoing quandary of the Elvis Festival.
“The festival is a shotgun marriage between two things – the Elvis Tribute contest at the Lyric and the concerts at Fairpark,” he said.
“There could be more linkage but there doesn’t have to be. … The Elvis part is a money-maker. It just spits out cash.”
The board opted to separate the planning. The Elvis committee will make a good thing even better, he said.
“On the Fairpark side, it ain’t broken but there’s lots of room for improvement,” he said.
He outlined seven strategies to guide the next festival.
• Review cost structure. The organizing committee will review prices for everything. Goodwin said already this has resulted in a better stage for next year that will cost less than this year.
• Spend more money on entertainment. Main Street previously spent about $40,000 on entertainment. In 2012, it has budgeted $75,000.
• Leverage local resources. Officials at BancorpSouth Arena and other promoters in the region will be asked for advice.
• Stick with what works. Country and Christian acts sell. Christian entertainment would impact beer sales (worth about $15,000) so the festival will focus on country talent at the level of Jason Aldean, whose show at the arena sold out quickly. Goodwin emphasized that Aldean will not be at the festival.
• Go for fewer, bigger, better. Friday night will focus on local musicians and will have a cheaper ticket price. Saturday night will be the main bands. Instead of spending $20,000 on three to five bands, the 2012 festival will spend $60,000 on two bands.
Events also would start later to help combat the intense June temperatures.
• Leverage advance ticket sales. Main Street wants to announce the festival lineup at Elvis’ birthday celebration in January. Cheaper advance tickets would be on sale in January, as well.
carlie.kollath@journalinc.com