Coronavirus alters Elvis Week; candlelight vigil still on


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — ‎Plans for the weeklong celebration of rock ‘n’ roll icon Elvis Presley on the 43rd anniversary of his death have been shaken up by the new coronavirus, but organizers are forging ahead with a combination of in-person and online events at Graceland next month.

Fans will still be allowed to gather for an in-person vigil at Graceland to cap Elvis Week, scheduled this year for Aug. 8-16 in Memphis, Tennessee, where Presley lived. But they’ll have to make reservations ahead of time, stand 6 feet (2 meters) apart and follow other virus-related safety guidelines if they want to attend the vigil and walk past Presley's grave.

Presley died on Aug, 16, 1977. Since then, devotees of the late singer and actor have flocked to Graceland, his former home-turned museum, to honor Presley on the anniversary of his death.

Besides the candlelight vigil, some in-person, prerecorded events will be offered during the week. But other potentially “high-risk” events — live performances, group parties, autograph signings and meet-and-greets — have been eliminated, Graceland said.

Instead, fans will be invited to participate in Elvis Week events in a closed Facebook group that requires a paid ticket to enter. Virtual events will include past Elvis Week concerts and panels, new interviews with bandmates and friends, and a look at previous candlelight vigils, Graceland said.

“As the COVID pandemic continues to evolve and health officials learn more about high-risk activities, we must evolve with them,” Graceland’s news release said. "There is no greater priority than the health and safety of our guests and employees.”

A full schedule of events for the week will be released later.

More From

  • Police: Man fatally shot himself in struggle with troopers

    A man in Virginia fatally shot himself when he fired multiple gunshots during a struggle with state troopers attempting to take him into custody, authorities said. The shooting happened Wednesday night in Virginia Beach after a trooper attempted to stop the man while he was driving recklessly on a highway, Virginia State Police said in a news release.

  • ShowBiz Minute: R. Kelly, Haddish, Bieber

    Prosecutors charge 3 with threatening women in R. Kelly case; Lucille Ball Comedy Festival goes virtual in its 29th year with performances by Tiffany Haddish and more; Dolly Parton, Justin Bieber among virtual TV festival stars. (Aug. 13)

  • Imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer begins hunger strike

    A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer has begun a hunger strike seeking better prison conditions and the release of political prisoners amid the pandemic, her husband said Thursday. Reza Khandan told The Associated Press his wife Nasrin Sotoudeh began the strike Tuesday and he feared it would exacerbate her chronic gastrointestinal and foot problems. Iran has the highest number of virus-related deaths in the region with 19,162 after 174 died since Wednesday.

  • 3 charged in woman's death after dog attack in Tennessee

    Three relatives have been charged in a dog attack that resulted in the death of a Tennessee woman. The Shelby County district attorney's office said Wednesday that Phyllis Jones, her daughter Kimberly Jordan, and Jordan’s son, Dedricz Perry, have been indicted on reckless homicide charges in the death of 59-year-old Doris Arrington in April. The cause of death was massive blood loss, prosecutors said.