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|CANDLELIGHT CASH MACHINE, HAS EPE GONE TOO FAR?
August 11, 2017 - Elvis Express Radio
|The cost of being an Elvis fan making the trip to our spiritual home of Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee has been getting more and more distant as the powers that be continue to
find ways to increase prices for the slightest thing. Just last week the price of the booking fee (PER Ticket) went up a whopping 233%, then they have the Elvis Fan Tax on top of
the State Tax and then of course with the new complex, we have to PAY in order to visit the stores so that we can buy our Elvis goodies, thus plying even more cash into the EPE
If you want to hang out around the Elvis Radio booth, like many fans have done for years, that is no more...unless you pay the fee to enter the new plaza, add of course the $5.00
ticket fee (per person, per ticket), and the state tax, and the fan tax. THEN you can visit Argo and Co, or visit the shops or go for a meal.
Just when you thought things could not get any worse, they have.
Now, as Elvis Week is just about to kick into gear, they have dropped an atom bomb announcing that if fans wish to take part in the annual Candlelight Vigil, you will need to
purchase a "Property Pass".
A wrist-band will cost between $28-$75 and without it, Elvis fans will not be allowed through the gates of Graceland.
Every year, thousands and thousands of people come to pay their respects to Elvis, when they gather on Elvis Presley Boulevard on the eve of August 15th. Then all through the
night, right into the daylight of August 16th, the army of fans stream quietly by the Kings grave to pay their respects.
Elvis Presley Enterprises gave this statement.
This year we have updated our security measures at Graceland for Elvis Week, as we anticipate very large crowds for this 40th anniversary. In order to keep everyone safe and
ensure an enjoyable and meaningful event for all, we have worked closely with local, state and federal security authorities to establish new procedures that have been widely used
across the us.
An Elvis Week property pass wristband now allows guests to enter all non-ticketed parts of Graceland property throughout Elvis Week, including the Elvis Week entertainment tent,
the ticket pavilion, restaurants and select gift shops, plus free parking after 5 pm. This wristband is included with a ticket to Elvis Presley’s Memphis during Elvis week (our lowest
priced tour ticket). Since the vast majority of our guests take our tour as part of their visit during Elvis Week, there is no additional cost to them.
During the candlelight vigil evening, we invite everyone to join us on Elvis Presley Blvd. In front of the mansion. Guests are welcome to stay in this area throughout the evening to
watch the candlelight vigil ceremony, and observe the procession without a property pass.
As with all other Elvis Week events on the Graceland campus, to join the procession up to meditation garden, guests will need their Elvis Week property pass wristband. For guests
who join us for vigil night only and wish to join the procession, they will be able to purchase an Elvis Presley’s Memphis tour ticket that evening and receive their property pass
The only problem with this is the fact that not all fans who want to take part in the candlelight vigil, actually pay for any of the tours in and around Graceland.
To blame this new charge on Security measures is simply B.S. and an insult to intelligence of fans around the world. There has been bigger crowds over last 40 years, so to now
charge a minimum of $28.00 + $5.00 (booking fee) + State Tax + Fan Tax (I think that's everything), is a joke.
How much longer before we are told the security measures have been extended to the morning walk up to the grave? What is to stop EPE charging $5 or $10.00 "Property Pass" to
walk up the drive to pay our respects to Elvis?
Fans who are in Memphis and fans around the world are venting their anger at this new money making scheme and we think it's time for Elvis fans everywhere to stand up and be
heard and demand we will NOT tolerate this anymore.
We want you to spread the word and go onto the Elvis Presley's Graceland Facebook page, leave a 1 or 2 star rating and then comment on how disgusted you are at EPE charging
fans to take part in the candlelight vigil.
Below is what I wrote on the Graceland Facebook page
Lee Dawson reviewed Elvis Presley's Graceland – 2 star
DISGUSTED AND ANGRY! To suddenly charge Elvis fans for this years vigil is unfair and wrong! Fans are being hit with charges for booking tickets, Fan Tax on top of the state tax.
To claim this new charge is for "security" is an insult to common sense. For 40 years Elvis' fans have been loyal to Graceland for their love of Elvis, and now EPE repay that loyalty
with this kick in the teeth. You have gone too far this time. An insult to the memory of Elvis Presley. Shame on you.
Anthony Stuchbury reviewed Elvis Presley's Graceland – 2 star
Poor choice to start charging to enter your property to pay respects at the grave of Elvis and his family during vigil evening.
You never charged before and you had big crowds right? Security ?
Give me a break, it's hyperbole and greed for more $ and you're taking advantage of a captive audience during tribute week, nothing more and nothing less.
You no longer deserve the loyalty of Elvis fans.
These are just 2 reviews as many other fans have left their own opinions on what EPE have done.
On the Back In Memphis Blog, they wrote
Many fans are horrified and outraged. One fan even went as far as to call them Money Hungry Bastards.
Pretty CLEVER this was just announced LATE Thursday night when fans are just arriving or headed to Graceland, huh? Too late to cancel. Maybe Clever is the wrong word. More
like Sneaky and dishonest! It also shows they KNEW fans would be upset about this. IF this really was a "safety" concern, why not be upfront about it?
Last year with the protests and concerns, both EPE and the Memphis Police Department masterfully handled the unfortunate situation. BUT the "Safety" concerns EPE is siting
makes no sense. Elvis Presley Blvd will be open to the public and FREE for ALL. There was only one issue inside the gate and that was one woman who was escorted quickly off the
property. She caused no harm to anyone or anything. Majority of the "safety" concerns happened on the BLVD. So in my opinion, EPE is just using the protests as an excuse to
charge fans. And charge fans for an event STARTED BY FANS FOR FANS. It's outrageous! Charging for a memorial service, LOW, VERY LOW! And please don't forget you can
upgrade to the "FAST PASS" And not wait in line at the candle light service. For an additional FEE, of course!
Now, last year I told you don't be surprised if next year EPE charges for the vigil. And here we are! Surprise, Surprise!
Also last year, I said I would personally be all for EPE charging a fee to get on the BLVD, much like Beale St. I suggested fans get their money back as a credit in the shops or the
money going to a charity or to the city for the expense of the police. But this is just pure profit and GREED. Remember Folks, EPE is not privately owned. All these added high fees
go to a corporation. And you are NOT being disloyal to Elvis by expressing your outrage or disapproval. Being EPE's cheerleaders for everything they do does not make you a
better fan. And disliking certain things does not make you less of a fan. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Many fans DO NOT TOUR the house every year. With the summer school schedule of events, it's hard enough to even find time for a relaxing meal or visit with friends. Some years,
the fans who have been traveling to Memphis for decades, skip the house. And with all the price changes, higher travel cost into Memphis especially for the European fans, corners
have to be cut.
EPE knows they can do whatever they want, charge whatever they want because the sheep will keep coming. And that is true. But Elvis fans don't do that for any other reason than
they LOVE ELVIS PRESLEY. And for that, no one can fault them! But shame on EPE for taking advantage of their loyalty.
Many Elvis fans have been going to Elvis Week since day 1. Many fans go a few times a year. Many fans go on a wing and a prayer. Many save all year, or even every five years to
go. Many take loans, put the trip on a credit card and by the time they pay it off, it's time to charge the next Elvis Week.
We fans are average Americans, hard working people. Elvis knew that about his fans. And that's why he never even wanted his ticket prices raised. So just be careful falling for all
the propaganda EPE spews. Like those Israel trips....oh and remember the SUPER 8 prices for the Guesthouse they were promising before it was built?
One fan emailed me and asked, if it was even legal for EPE to charge to go to the grave since it's considered a cemetery. Honestly, I don't know the answer to that. What I do know
is I am sure EPE would not be doing anything illegal.
Again, if this really was a "safety" concern, EPE and the city of Memphis should have done what is done on Beale St, have people pay to get on the BLVD, show ID and be patted
down. That is where I could fully understand a safety issue. The money to the Memphis Police or a local charity. NOT PROFIT for Joel and his corporation.
The folks standing in line FOR HOURS, IN THE HEAT, IN THE RAIN ETC ARE NOT A SAFETY CONCERN. I call BS to this. This is all about the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR.
Elvis is rolling over in his grave. This is a DISGRACE and it is SO DISRESPECTFUL to Elvis Presley, His LEGACY and his LOYAL FANS from around the globe!
The headline of this article asks "Has EPE gone too far?" I really do feel that this time they have, it's a new low that for me personally, they may well never recover from..
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