Tourism

Memphis makes its mark in historical tourism

Elvis Week 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ passing and Graceland is gearing up for one heck of a celebration; the largest gathering ever of Elvis fans from around the world in a nine-day celebration of Elvis’ life.

But he’s not the only king being honoured this year in Memphis.

Trade media joined Memphis Tourism’s reps and even very special guest Barry, the owner of Corky’s BBQ in Memphis, to share some stories on why the destination is so coveted, and what visitors can expect in 2017.

Spinning round the O Bar & Dining restaurant to capture a 360-degree view of Sydney, the event was a huge success, complete with classic Memphis tunes and a few old fashioned’s to wrap up the afternoon.

Memphis, known as the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll and a city with pivotal ties to the American Civil Rights movement, has unveiled plans to honor two pioneers of music and social justice during milestone anniversaries taking place in 2017 and 2018.

From Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Elvis Presley who started a music revolution – history and culture are one and the same in Memphis. These music and Civil Rights stories mark significant anniversaries over the next 12 months and will be remembered with special events and exhibits that serve to honour two great icons in American history.

Events to honour the King at Elvis Week include appearances by celebrities and musicians, The Auction at Graceland, Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Finals, fan club events, charity fundraisers and more.

This will be the first Elvis Week since Graceland’s major expansion, which includes the AAA Four-Diamond Guest House at Graceland resort hotel and the new, multi-million dollar entertainment and exhibit complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis.

Tickets for all Elvis Week events are now on sale, with most events will take place at the new Graceland Soundstage, a state-of-the-art production and performance space in the heart of Graceland’s new entertainment and exhibit complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, directly across the street from Graceland Mansion.

A special highlight of Elvis Week will be the 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert Event at the FedExForum in downtown Memphis on August 16, 2017, Elvis: The Wonder of You. In this new, live concert experience, a symphony orchestra performs live on stage with Elvis on the big screen.

The concert will feature a special personal appearance by Priscilla Presley and other surprise guests. The critically-acclaimed production, which has sold out arenas across the world since last November, is inspired by the award-winning, chart-topping album releases “If I Can Dream” and “The Wonder of You,” which features remastered vocals of the king’s voice and new orchestral arrangements of some of his biggest hits.

The cornerstone event, the Candlelight Vigil, will begin on Tuesday, August 15, at 8:30 p.m. CDT at Graceland’s front gate. Elvis music sets the tone of the evening as fans walk up the driveway to the Meditation Garden.

This event lasts throughout the night as thousands of participants gather on Elvis Presley Boulevard listening to music, remembering Elvis and enjoying the memorials that are created by fans along the street.

As for the historical and monumental honouring of Dr Martin Luther King, travellers to Memphis can expect a year of special events in the lead up to the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s assassination on 4 April 1968 in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum.

Many of the activities that celebrate King’s legacy during the year long event are centred around the National Civil Rights Museum and the Lorraine Motel.

The landmark museum in Memphis chronicles the American Civil Rights movement where comprehensive exhibits showcase several hundred artifacts and interactive media displays cover five centuries, from slavery in America and the Civil War to the 20th-century Civil Rights movement and modern-day issues.

The MLK50:Where Do We Go From Here commemoration at the National Civil Rights Museum reflects on the past, evaluates the present, and proposes solutions for the future on the issues Dr. King was most concerned about during the last years of his life — poverty, fair wages, affordable and safe housing, quality education, justice and peace — as the method to achieve positive social change.

Each year the National Civil Rights Museum commemorates the tragic event that occurred on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel at 6:01pm. Plans are being designed for a special commemorative ceremony from the balcony on 4 April 2018, and will include keynote speakers, special presentations, and the laying of the wreath.

Full details of events and activities surrounding the 50th anniversary will be announced in coming weeks on the special commemorative website www.MLK50.civilrightsmuseum.org.

 

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