By NEMS Daily Journal
The Tupelo Elvis Festival could be improved by making the event more about Elvis and Tupelo.
The music should be improved with performers more associated with Elvis. This used to be done well, featuring Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, North Mississippi All-Stars, Blind Boys of Alabama, etc. The festival has changed to performers with little connection to Elvis (Lucero, though, is an excellent band that at least hails from Memphis).
Tupeloans who knew Elvis should be interviewed for the public about their experiences. Scholars like Peter Guralnick have written authoritatively about Elvis and would be good interviewees.
Festival food: drop the standard festival fare and connect the food to Elvis by centering it around Johnnieburgers and barbecue from Johnnie’s Drive In, where Elvis dined in childhood and also when he was the biggest entertainer in the world.
Market the festival internationally.
Elvis loved football and Ole Miss. Bring Coach Nutt in for a Elvis Festival golf tournament and feature Tupelo Rebels like Chauncey Godwin.
Fate gave Tupelo a gift in being the hometown of Elvis Presley. It is time to open it.