Second only to the Memphis in May, Tupelo Elvis Festival celebrates the legacy of the town’s most notable former resident, Elvis Presley. Held every year in June, Tupelo Elvis Festival is a culmination of performances, family events, and lectures all devoted to The King. Visitors from around the world come to pay tribute at the artist’s birth home, eat in the booth at his favorite hamburger joint and see where he bought his first guitar, thus changing his future. First timers to the event should be prepared for Elvis Mania, which can be overwhelming at first. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for your first Tupelo Elvis Festival.
Know your tribute artists. The main event is the tribute contest, where performers, known as tribute artists, not impersonators, dress up and sing their favorite songs by Elvis. You’ll find different groups of fans for each artist. They have custom made t-shirts and will be sitting in the front row each time that one performs. You’ll be surprised to learn that these artists come from all over the world! Last year’s winner is from Brazil.
Book your accommodation early. There aren’t many options for accommodation in Tupelo so the Hilton Garden Inn is ground zero for all activities for attendees, attached to the BancorpSouth Arena and within walking distance of restaurants and shops. It also has free parking and WiFi as well as comfortable rooms. Otherwise, you’ll have to drive to and from north of town closer to the highway. There are also a few bed and breakfasts nearby.
Research the schedule. While the tribute artist contest is the main draw, there are plenty of other community events. This includes smaller performances, panels, a 5K race, pet parade, beauty pageant, and gospel choir performance.
See the rest of Tupelo. It’s easy to stay inside the arena all weekend, but make the time to check out downtown, especially Tupelo Hardware, and Elvis’s Birth Home. The Tupelo Automobile Museum is also worth a stop, as are the shops nearby.