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Elvis fans all shook up at $29 charge to pay their respects

 

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Elvis Presley (RCA Records)

Elvis Presley (RCA Records)

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Elvis Presley fans outside his former home Graceland in Memphis

Elvis Presley fans outside his former home Graceland in Memphis

AP

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Elvis Presley (RCA Records)

Elvis Presley fans hit out after having to pay to show their respects to their hero at his Graceland mansion on the 40th anniversary of his death.

For four decades they have been able to make a solemn procession past Elvis's grave at Graceland during the annual candlelight vigil commemorating his death without paying a penny.

This year it is costing $28.75 (£22.50) - angering many.

Visitors attending the vigil that began on Tuesday night had to have an Elvis Week Property Pass wristband to walk up the long driveway and past the graves where Presley and relatives are buried.

The $28.75 wristband also provided access to a new $45m (£35.2m) entertainment complex at the Memphis, Tennessee, tourist attraction.

Graceland - operated by Elvis Presley Enterprises - said it anticipated large crowds and it updated its security measures for Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley's life and career in music and movies. Presley died on August 16, 1977, in Memphis.

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Elvis Presley fans outside his former home Graceland in Memphis

Elvis Presley fans outside his former home Graceland in Memphis

AP

Elvis Presley fans outside his former home Graceland in Memphis

 

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"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 US," a Graceland spokesman said.

Thousands of mourning fans holding white candles burning a yellow-orange flame made a slow, silent walk through the graves on Tuesday night.

Before the procession began Priscilla Presley, the performer's former wife, and Lisa Marie Presley, their daughter, thanked the crowd for their love and dedication.

The charge announcement angered many fans.

Anthony Stuchbury, of Bolton, England, has been to Graceland more than two dozen times but did not come this year.

He said: "The current price-gouging situation has created so much friction, it's even dividing fans."


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