ELVIS PRESLEY FESTIVAL: Getting ready for the King

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A few random drops of rain couldn’t keep Tupelo Elvis Presley Festival organizers from finishing preparations for this weekend’s festivities.
Crews were busy at Fairpark, where the main entertainment stage will be, as well as down at Broadway in front of The Lyric. Entertainment at both sites begins today.
Shipman Sloan of Tupelo has been working at Fairpark since Tuesday.
“We’re putting up tents, fencing – whatever needs to be set up,” he said.
He’s put in full-time days, but he’s not complaining.
“I work for JBHM, and they let me have the time off to volunteer,” he said. “It’s been fun to be out of the office.”
As a black storm cloud loomed overhead Thursday afternoon, Sloan and his fellow volunteers worked steadily but had a few laughs in between.
“It’s been fun getting to know these guys, making some new friends,” he said.
Across the way from Sloan and the tents were Cory Armstrong and his crew with Majik Sound, who were setting up the Fairpark stage that will hold headliners Jason Michael Carroll and Lucero, as well as local artists such as John Milstead, Forever and Never, Drew Chapman and the Spunk Monkees.
Setting up the stage can take anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on how hard his crew works and how many are on staff.
The stage was moved to in front of City Hall last year from its old location in the Front Street area. Armstrong, who has helped set up the stage for every Tupelo Elvis Festival, said he loves the Fairpark location.
“There’s a big difference between this location and the other,” he said. “We don’t have to deal with the traffic, the location’s better, and the background is better.”

Friday schedule
5 p.m. – Busted Screen door
5:45 p.m. – John Milstead
6:15 p.m. – The House Rockers
7:30 p.m. – Drew Chapman
8 p.m. – Spunk Monkees
9:15 p.m. – Lucero
11 p.m. – Allyria
Where: Fairpark Stage

10 a.m. – Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition Round One ($10)
7 p.m. – Travis LeDoyt (sold out)
Where: The Lyric

Fairpark Stage events cost: $12/Friday, $12/Early Bird Saturday from noon-5 p.m., $17/Saturday after 5 p.m., $5/6-11 both days, free/6 and under both days.
Other events: Elvis Look-A-Like Pet Parade, 5k run, poster exhibit, Fling With the King Disc Golf Tournament, more.
Info: tupeloelvisfestival.com or (662) 841-6598

Share your Elvis story
Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., is looking for people who knew or encountered the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Stories from folks who spent some time with Elvis are being gathered now through Elvis’ 75th birthday in 2010. EPE will be at the Courthouse in Tupelo from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday to collect stories on video.
For more information on The Legacy Project or to submit your story online, visit elvis.com/legacy.

More on the EP Festival from Todd Hunt at the Scene Now blog. Click here to read it.