Entertainment behind the scenes
When the family of Michael Jackson on Wednesday told the world to expect no public memorial at Neverland Valley Ranch, it came too late for the many fans and journalists who, in the hopes of seeing the King of Pop one last time, rushed to take up residence near his former retreat in central California.
Hotels in the area quickly booked up after media reports on Tuesday that said Jackson’s body would come to Neverland. A representative from one inn told celebrity website TMZ that it sold out in 20 minutes when the news broke. Authorities in the area braced for a crowd of mourners, and the inevitable overload of the rural area’s small road network.
Fans bearing flowers and wreaths gathered outside the gates of Neverland Ranch. Tim Brown told Reuters that Jackson’s death compares to Elvis Presley’s sudden demise in 1977. “No matter how you feel about him personal life, his music, really told a story that touched so many people,” Brown said.
The fans expected to see Jackson in a public viewing on Friday, but now that his family has said not to expect any memorial service at Neverland, all those fans will have to go home, or await official word on where the memorial will happen and rush over there. Of course, it’s not just fans who are left in the lurch. A representative at the Marriott Hotel in nearby Buellton told Reuters that his establishment was mainly full of journalists.