Main Street sets bigger budget for Elvis Festival

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Elvis Presley Festival has a bigger budget this year, thanks to its success the past two years.
The board of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, the group that produces the festival, this month approved a proposed $200,450 budget. Last year’s budget was $171,000.
The current budget calls for Main Street to break even on the June 4-6 festival.
Main Street went over budget in 2009, but also made about $93,000, even though it estimated it would break even. The previous festival made $80,000.
The earnings came after an aggressive effort from the organizers to cut costs and make the festival pay for itself. In 2007, the festival lost about $46,000 and Main Street had to wipe out its rainy-day fund.
Now, the rainy-day fund has $50,000.
Treasurer John Avila said the projected income figures are very conservative and he hopes the festival will do more than break even.
Avila, who along with his wife, Sherry, will chair this year’s festival, said the bulk of the festival’s projected income is from sponsorships. Of the $110,400 projected, Main Street Executive Director Debbie Brangenberg said $75,000 already has been committed.
The largest expense is for entertainment and has been increased about $20,000 from last year, Avila said. Main Street plans to announce the musical lineup for the festival later this week.
The increased budget was not an easy sell to the board members, who cited the need for realistic expectations in the current economy. Board member Jim Goodwin said it was “risky” to project the same amount of sponsorships as last year.
Board member Camille Sloan, the immediate past president of the board, said the beautiful weather during the festival weekend in 2009 “really helped” the event make money.
“I think in the past, we’ve gotten in trouble because we’ve projected that ‘we should be able to do that,’” she said. “But for example, if it pours down rain that weekend, we’re not going to make any money on the carnival.”

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