Elvis fans upset over fee for vigil

Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, with fans who had gathered on Tuesday at the singer's Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death.
Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, with fans who had gathered on Tuesday at the singer's Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death.PHOTO: REUTERS

MEMPHIS • Elvis Presley fans are All Shook Up over a new US$28.75 (S$39) fee.

Since his death on Aug 16, 1977, they have turned up at his Graceland mansion in Memphis in the United States for an annual candlelight vigil to pay tribute to him, but without having to pay a cent.

The new charge for a property pass has upset his big army of fans, with many posting their protest online.

The WREG News Channel 3 portal cited a fan named Wendy Prater as saying: "I don't think it's right. I think anybody should be able to go."

The fee reportedly helps to defray the cost of stepped-up security measures. About 30,000 to 50,000 fans were expected to attend the vigil, which started on Tuesday night and ran into Wednesday, to mark the 40th anniversary of Presley's death.

The fee also covers access to a US$45-million entertainment complex at the Memphis tourist attraction that boasts exhibits of Presley's cars and clothes, Billboard reported. The new facility is part of an expansion drive that also saw the opening of a 450-room hotel last year.

Presley is still a marketeer's dream sell.

Forbes noted that he headed the list of top-earning dead stars last year, generating US$27 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2017, with the headline 'Elvis fans upset over fee for vigil'. Print Edition | Subscribe