Tonight, for the 40th anniversary of his death, Elvis Presley fans who make a visit to his grave at his Graceland mansion each year will be hit with an upsetting surprise: a first-time fee of $28.75 to pay their respects. Let’s just say these super fans aren’t feeling much of a burnin’ love this week.
According to Billboard, “visitors who plan to attend the vigil beginning Tuesday night (Aug 15) and running into Wednesday (Aug 16) must have an Elvis Week Property Pass wristband to walk up the long driveway and past the graves where Presley and relatives are buried.”
Since his passing on Aug. 16, 1977, Elvis Presley Enterprises has maintained Graceland as with exhibits of Presley’s clothing, cars, and other personal items. The cost to fans attending the vigil tonight is reportedly related to Graceland’s new entertainment complex, part of an expansion costing $140 million that fans will have access to with the cost of admission.
The Memphis attraction expects 30,000 -to- 50,000 visitors tonight. In a statement to the Associated Press, Graceland says it has stepped up security measures this year.
“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 U.S.,” Graceland’s statement said.
Fans planning to attend the vigil are dismayed by the new fee, especially since payment is also required to enter restaurants and other areas of the property previously accessible for free.
“I looked forward to going down there this year, and they come up with all this,” said Springfield, Illinois fan Fred Schwarz. “I don’t want to even go to Memphis anymore. The people running that are not Elvis fans. They are in business. Corporations, they want the bottom line.”