Have You Heard The News  (International)

Tupelo 10th Elvis Festival cuts costs, but promises Quality.

The 10th Annual Elvis Presley Festival is scaling back from last year, but festival organisers still promise it will be a "quality weekend."

At this month's board meeting of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, Treasurer Keith Henley said the executive committee approved a festival budget of $251,750, which is about $100,000 less than last year. In 2007 surprisingly the festival lost about $50,000.

"I think we've taken a very smart approach to managing our expenses and making our dollar do more," Henlsey said of this year's budget.

One of the biggest cutbacks this year is having one outdoor stage in the Fairpark District instead of two downtown stages. The Lyric Theatre, which DTMSA members say has its own Elvis lore, will be used for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.

And 2008 festival chair Amy Nash said she has had several meetings already to come up with "fresh ideas to make the festival new and exciting."

"First and foremost, we are not going to lose money this year," she said, eliciting applause from the group. "We are going to make money."

She said to expect new merchandise and more promotions downtown before the event. Marketing will begin as early as April for the June 6-8 event, she said. The budget shows a profit of about $34,000 for this year, which will give the group some space to move if the weather is bad or ticket sales are down.

However, she said the numbers she used to come up with the budget are averages from the last 10 years, excluding the best and worst years. As this year is likely to be a downturn in visitors after last year's 30th Anniversary, EIN is interested in the final attendance - and we wish then well.

"The plans are outstanding," she said. "I think it will be a quality weekend and a fun weekend."

Posted:  15th. March 2008 

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