Elvis Week 2023: The Guide
Elvis Week Guide
Elvis Week dates! Elvis Week officially runs from August 9 through August 17. Whether you're visiting Memphis for the week or are a local preparing for the influx of visiting Elvis lovers, here's what you need to know.
Things To Know About Elvis Week
1. They're not impersonators, they're tribute artists.
Please, don't call the people paying musical homage to Elvis "impersonators". The official term is Elvis Tribute Artists (ETAs for short). There will be plenty of them in town, and while some have greased their hair for fun, others have worked really hard and won a series of preliminary competitions around the world.
The latter are here to compete in the official Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. Whoever wins this gets to work for Graceland for a year as the Official ETA at events around the world, and they get some big bucks.
2. Plan ahead.
There are a ton of Elvis Week events. Some are official Graceland-sanctioned and others are not. For the official events, you'll need to plan way in advance and buy tickets for most, but not all. Graceland has the fully detailed scheduled and ticket information on their website. Some events are sold out, some you can stay get tickets for or are included in packages.
3. Check Out The Other Elvis and Memphis Music Sites
After you go to Graceland, there's plenty more Memphis music history to explore.
Of course, if you're a fan of this year's smash-hit movie ELVIS you can see some of the real-life Memphis locations that were in the movie. Here's a guide to the sites from the Elvis movie.
Visit Sun Studios (where Elvis got his big break), Overton Park Shell (where he played his first concert—catch one of their special tours this week), Lauderdale Courts (where he lived as a teen), and tour Playhouse on the Square (formerly Memphian Theater -- Elvis' favorite theatre).
You can also take one of the excellent Backbeat Tours—they drive you around town in style while they tell you (and sing about) Memphis' musical history.
Don't miss shopping at Lanksy Bros. Clothier to the King at 126 Beale Street (in the photo above) for all your Elvis-inspired outfits (yes, they have blue suede shoes) as well as a bunch of cool Memphis and rock 'n' roll t-shirts.
4. Go to the Candlelight Vigil
The Vigil is the centerpiece of Elvis Week, and all visitors and locals should do it at least once. It's a somber, candlelit walk past Elvis' grave at Graceland on the day of the King's death on August 15, beginning at 8:30 p.m. and continuing all night long into the wee hours of the morning.
People will line up many hours earlier than 8:30 p.m., Elvis Presley Blvd. is closed, and some people set up elaborate roadside shrines. You'll probably be in line for several hours, so pack a snack, some bug spray, and plan to make some friends. You don't need tickets or a wristband to attend. Expect crowds and mask up.
This year will be extra somber as a Celebration of Lisa Marie Presley will be held prior to it. Tickets are required to attend that. All proceeds will go to benefit the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation.
If you can't make it in person, you can watch the event online here.
5. Visit the Graceland Exhibition Center
You can't miss the huge entertainment complex across the street from the Graceland Mansion. It's called Elvis Presley's Memphis, and it has casual restaurants, Presley Motors Automobile Museum, and the Graceland Exhibition Center.
6. Make time to people watch
Whether you park yourself at the downtown Flying Saucer window, walk along Beale at dusk, or eat at Marlowe's on Elvis Presley Boulevard, the people watching during Elvis Week can't be beat.
7. Be prepared for traffic and crowds.
In recent years, about 35,000 people came to Memphis for Elvis week. Wow.
Consider that many of those people will be making their pilgrimage by car and staying downtown, so prepare to deal with heavy foot and car traffic, especially on Elvis Presley Boulevard and downtown/Beale Street area. If you're going to those areas, allow yourself plenty of extra time. If you're planning to hang out at Graceland for a while, there's plenty of parking, but bring cash.
8. Check out some of the extra-curricular Elvis Week activities
Local shops and businesses will offer specials (usually peanut butter and banana stuff) and host fun unofficial Elvis Week events.
Let me be clear: these aren't official Elvis Week events, but they do show that Memphis is embracing the King and his fans this week.
9. Be Nice
Welcome our Elvis Week visitors to the Memphis area with class. Give directions and suggestions, sing along if you know the words, and don't be afraid to make some new friends. It's what the King would have wanted.
10. Find out more information
If you're visiting and have stumbled upon this blog post, welcome! Tweet at me @ilovememphis or you can search this blog.
Here are some things you might find particularly helpful:
If you want to stay connected to all the official sources for Elvis Week and Graceland info, you can visit ElvisWeek.com, follow Graceland on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or watch the events via livestream at https://livestream.com/
I have a Handy Dandy Memphis Cheat Sheet written specifically for folks who are only in town for a few days. You can check that out here.
Happy Elvis Week!
Thanks so much for the shout out to Marlowes. It has been such an amazing week so far with all the Elvis Fans. The crowds have been amazing and we are so thankful.
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I love elvis he will always be remembered ❤️