Elvis Week Through The Years

Sanja Meegin looks back

- Celebrating EIN's 27 years as the EIN fanclub newsletter turns 100 -

EIN's Sanja Meegin has been to Memphis and visited the promised land and attended Elvis Week 13 times in the past 15 years. During that time she has witnessed great concerts, noticed the changes, as well as having met up with many of Elvis’ family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

This past Easter 2013, EIN celebrated 27 years and also posted out its 100th newsletter, a feat worthy of a celebration!

Below Sanja looks back at her fifteen years of visiting the Promised Land and Elvis Week.

Elvis Week Through The Years – Sanja Meegin looks back
I have been fortunate enough to be in Memphis for Elvis Week 13 times in the last 15 years.

The very first time I visited Graceland was in October of 1997. I thought it was pretty cool then, however I didn’t realize what I was missing not being there in August.

If given the chance to visit Graceland, I would definitely recommend going during Elvis Week – even if you are not a hard core Elvis Fan. The week is filled with activities and events and it’s a fun and enjoyable atmosphere to be part of.

I first became involved with EIN back in 2002 on my 5th visit for Elvis Week. I obviously knew of the site – being one of the most informative and popular Elvis websites on the Internet and I finally got the chance to meet Piers Beagley. From that point on, I offered up my services as EIN’s ‘Roving Reporter’ for Elvis Week each year.

Although other sites have now followed suit, there was really nowhere for fans to read about the goings on in Memphis for Elvis Week – at least not a day-by-day account. And I knew of many a fan from all corners of the world who just couldn’t be in Memphis for that week – so I took it upon myself to get to as many events as possible and report back pretty much as it happened for the benefit of those fans.

So for the past 8 years I have done my best to get to every concert, book signing, ceremony, convention, appearance and memorial that I could manage and report back to those who couldn’t be there to experience it for themselves. Of course that hasn’t been easy when combined with the excruciatingly hot Southern summer temperatures, the lure of cocktails on Beale Street and keeping the hours Elvis kept whilst there – party all night, sleep all day - but I’ve done my best! As a budding photographer, I have also taken thousands of photos around Memphis and of Elvis’ family, friends and colleagues – most of which can be viewed on our website/Facebook page. (Go here to Sanja's EIN Facebook page)  

Throughout the years there have been some standout events. The 2002 Concert with the TCB Band was probably one of the best I have ever been too. Full credit to EPE for doing their best to present something new each year and outdo the year before. However, the 25th Anniversary Concert sticks in my mind as one of the better ones. Not only did Boots Randolph and Lisa Marie made rare appearances (Lisa doing her 'Don’t Cry Daddy' duet with Elvis), but the excitement of seeing a black limo slowly roll through the parting crowd – with Elvis’ bodyguards walking alongside it – really did give fans goose bumps and for a split second wonder if Elvis was going to emerge. Very cleverly done and quite emotional – the concert went on to be one of the best ever and was even released on DVD as "Elvis Lives – The 25th Anniversary Concert".

The 30th Anniversary was also memorable and featured Lisa Marie's duet with her Father singing "In the Ghetto". A new opening was done for the show which featured a space view of Earth which zoomed in on Memphis and then Graceland, right into the window which led to Elvis' bedroom. There you see "Elvis" getting ready for the show with Jerry Schilling giving him his sunglasses. They go down the stairs to the outside of Graceland where they are met up with Joe Esposito and then go into a helicopter. They fly to the Fed-Ex Forum where audio of Elvis says "It's a big place, man". Then they land and go inside, starting the show.

Last year’s 35th Anniversary concert was also quite spectacular with appearances from Lisa and Priscilla, video clips of Elvis’ grandchildren and the most amazing sound – somehow this concert seemed extra loud and Elvis’ voice was so crisp and clear. I was never fortunate enough to see Elvis live in concert, but during this particular show I think I came really close to experiencing just what it must have been like.

Graceland. Touring the mansion is always exciting. Even if you have been through it 50 times (and I think I have!) – there is always something to see that you didn’t notice before. And walking through that front door – into Elvis’ world – gives you the most surreal feeling imaginable.

EPE is mindful of changing displays to keep the fans coming and generally there is always something new on display each 12-18 months. Whether it be a jumpsuit, or items from Elvis upstairs office or even opening up the stables to the public. It makes you wonder just how many of Elvis’ personal items they have in that "secret vault" located somewhere on the property.

Of course the ultimate experience for any fan would be to tour the upstairs level of Graceland. Each time I inquire as to when, if ever, it will be open to the public, I’m met with a different reason…. "it’s too private….. the stairs couldn’t cope with the vast amount of visitors…..it’s a logistics problem…." etc.

Even if the bedroom and bathroom were kept closed (and understandably so) it would still be great to see Elvis’s office, Lisa’s room and Elvis’ dressing room.

Maybe one day……

Elvis Week is also full of mini events and conventions that give you the opportunity to meet Elvis’ family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Whether it be his road manager Joe Esposito – who is a regular fixture in Memphis for Elvis Week – or a life-long fan that hovers around the Graceland gates showing an album of original polaroids and regaling fans with stories of what it was like when Elvis came down to the wall to visit with them. Past co-stars, Elvis’ housekeepers, nurses, his jeweller, his band members – and many more make the trip to Memphis for that special week to meet fans and share their stories.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky to be in the right place at the right time to meet people such as James Burton, Glen Hardin, George Klein, Red & Sonny West, the Stanley Brothers, Joe Esposito, Priscilla’s parents and Larry Geller to name just a few.


And of course there are all the famous "Elvis Spots" around Memphis to visit. If you hire a car you can do most of them in a day or two.

A trip to Tupelo is a must – to see the house where Elvis grew up, his elementary school, the hardware store where he bought his first guitar.

In Memphis there is Elvis’ high school, his home on Audubon Drive, the movie theatre where he used to hang out, restaurants where he used to eat and of course Sun Studios, where it all began.

The wonderful Tupelo original house, and kissing a young Elvis (in my dreams!).

I wouldn’t say that Elvis Week is any less special as the years have gone by, but it is "different" now. It used to be more about remembering Elvis and now it feels a little more about marketing and $$. The merchandise is more tacky than ever (Elvis toilet paper and bobble heads – please!) and exorbitant prices for food and lodging for that week alone probably make the Shelby County one happy council! Extra charges for VIP this and that and more money for access here and there.

Meeting up with the Stanley brothers and with Glen D Hardin

The introduction of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist has also done very well to rake in the crowds and I myself even succumbed to a couple of shows last year (even though I’m not a huge fan of tribute artists) and was pleasantly surprised with some of the performances (notably Shawn Klush and Cody Slaughter).

Crowd numbers have been up and down – clearly a much larger gathering for the bigger anniversaries – 25/30/35 years since Elvis’ Death. Those years the restaurants have been shoulder to shoulder and concerts and shows completely sold out. But it all adds to the atmosphere – especially when everyone there is there to celebrate the same thing – Elvis.


Elvis Week – which these days is pretty much stretched out to 10 days – culminates with a candlelight vigil to remember why everyone is there in the first place. Fans gather at the gates of Graceland on the evening of August 15th into the small hours of August 16th – the day Elvis died.

The line zig zags along the Graceland wall for miles as thousands of fans wait patiently to file up the long driveway and past Elvis’ grave to pay their respects. His music plays softly over the grounds of Graceland and the sea of candlelight is really something to behold.

Fans linger around on Elvis Presley Boulevard for most of the night and morning, chatting, catch-up and then saying their goodbyes as most clear out of town the very next day.

Another week of fun, laughter, excitement, partying and good times is over and the countdown begins to the next Elvis Week!

Article by Sanja Meegin.
-Copyright EIN April 2013
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.

Click to comment on this review

From local fan club to online behemoth… EIN turns 100 – a retrospective!: EIN’s origins twenty-seven years ago can be traced back to a meeting of a dozen Elvis fans at the Ainslie Football Club in Canberra, Australia on a hot summer day in February 1986.
And for over 25 years EIN has been sending out quarterly newsletters to its local fan club members. 
This past Easter 2013, EIN posted out its 100th newsletter, a feat worthy of a celebration!

Go Here as Honorary EIN President Nigel Patterson looks back at the history of EIN - and includes some unique photos from Elvis Week 1987.

(Spotlight; Source;ElvisInfoNetwork)

See Sanja's Elvis Week 2012 reports here

Aloha From Hawaii 2012: In August this year Sanja Meegin returned to Memphis for her 14th electrifying Elvis Week. Ten days of burnin' non-stop fun, meeting up with some of Elvis' best friends and soaking up the fabulous atmousphere. So where else to go afterwards for the perfect wind-down but a week in beautiful Hawaii?
Go here as Sanja brings us her fascinating Aloha Hawaii report and once again searches out some fabulous Elvis destinations - including Elvis' 1977 holiday house, the famous "Chinaman's Hat" palm tree, inside the HIC arena and even his Aloha dressing room!
As always the locals have some secrets and stories to tell about Elvis.


Go here for Sanja Meegin's other reviews and articles:

Elvis Week 2012 Exclusive Sanja Meegin Reports & Photos

Elvis Week 2010 Exclusive Sanja Meegin Reports & Photos

Elvis Week 2009 Exclusive Stories & close-up Photos

Elvis jumpsuits and Graceland Close-up

Review of the book 'Inside Graceland'

Elvis Week 2007 Exclusive close-up Photos

Elvis Week 2006 - The exclusive Sanja Reports

Review of 'Elvis By The Presleys'

EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
Elvis Presley, Elvis and Graceland are trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
The Elvis Information Network has been running since 1986 and is an EPE officially recognised Elvis fan club.


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