Elvis Festival Sings the Blues

Ticket sales again were disappointing for the Elvis Presley Festival (search), held in the town where the King of Rock 'n' Roll was born, putting the future of the event in jeopardy.

The festival has drawn some well-known musical acts in the last six years, including B.B. King (search) and Little Richard (search). But the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association reported a loss of $5,465 for the June 2004 festival. Last year, the event lost $2,642, organizers said.

"We can break even or make a little money, but we can't keep losing money," Jim High, the association's assistant director, said this week.

The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau (search) cut its contributions from $100,000 in 2003 to $50,000 this year.

"We love festivals," said Linda Butler Johnson, the bureau's executive director. "And we love to help with seed money, but over a period of time we need to pull back and let them stand on their own feet."

"It is a serious situation," said festival Chairman Gary Bailey. "We have to do whatever we can to make it successful next year."