Elvis Fest organizers lower prices amid downturn

For more about the Tupelo Elvis Presley Festival or to buy tickets, go to www.tupeloelvisfestival.com.

TUPELO – The Tupelo Elvis Presley Festival organizers have cut ticket prices to make this year’s event more affordable to the public.
The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association dropped Saturday prices at the Fairpark stage from $25 to $15. Friday tickets remain at $10.
Main Street Executive Director Debbie Brangenberg said the organization is looking into offering discounted tickets to festival-goers who arrive before 5 p.m. Also, DTMSA is selling $5 tickets for kids 12 and under.
The prices are valid in pre-sales and at the gate for the June 5-7 festival. A $20 weekend pass for the Fairpark stage is available until May 31.
The cost-cutting comes as a response to “realistic expectations” about visitor spending in a troubled economy, said festival co-chairman John Avila at Tuesday’s board meeting.
In addition, DTMSA President Camille Sloan said many organizations are having to rethink their events because of financial hesitations during a recession.
“Across the nation, lots of festivals are not going on this year and I’m very proud we’re able to,” she said.
But, lower ticket prices will cut into the festival’s profits.
“We don’t have the same dollar expectations because we are charging less and making this a more affordable event,” Avila said.
But he said DTMSA plans to put on a larger festival than last year while spending less money. Avila said some of the cost-savings will come from less expensive entertainment. Last year, country musician Jo Dee Messina was the headliner.
Megan Daniel, a marketing specialist with DTMSA, expects to announce this year’s headliner later this month.
But festival-goers aren’t waiting on the details to buy tickets. Avila said $7,200 in tickets have been sold since April 1, mainly through tupeloelvisfestival.com.

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Less money for more Elvis
Along with making the festival more affordable, Elvis Festival organizers plan to increase the “Elvis” quotient in the festival.
Right now, the festival is split into two areas – the Fairpark stage and the Lyric/Broadway stage. Avila said the Fairpark stage will showcase a variety of music, including rock, country and bluegrass.
The Lyric and Broadway stage will be “all Elvis all the time,” he said. The 2009 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest will be inside the Lyric Theatre, along with other Elvis events.
And there will be a free stage on Broadway where people can listen to Elvis tribute artists and other Elvis-related music.

Carlie Kollath/Daily Journal