Elvis fans across the globe are “all shook up” this month with their dancing shoes on and vocal chords warmed up to celebrate Australia’s largest Elvis festival.
The true spirit of the rock ‘n’ roll legend is being remembered once more as thousands of excited and committed fans travel to regional New South Wales for the annual Parkes Elvis Festival.
For the past 26 years the small town has hosted five fun-filled days in January, welcoming fans as they try on their best Elvis impersonations and perform to his greatest hits in celebration of his birthday.
Although ‘the King’, as he is often referred, sadly died in 1977, he continues to live on in Parkes, with people of all ages this year celebrating what would have been his 84th birthday.
This year’s festival theme was ‘All Shook Up’, after Elvis’ second-biggest hit in the US. The song, which was released in 1969, spent eight weeks on Billboard’s Top 100 singles and a ninth week at number one on the Jukebox charts. Now all these years later, the classic is still a favourite.
Dressed in their best Elvis outfits, people of all ages headed to the town around 360 kilometres west of Sydney, ready for a fabulous toe-tapping time.
Fans hit the stage for Elvis karaoke, put their skills to the test in a rock ‘n’ roll lesson, faced their fears in a busking competition and even took part in Elvis bingo.
But it didn’t stop there with some alternative options such as Elvis yogalates, a kids talent workshop for the little ones and of course plenty of performances from talented Elvis impersonators.
What originally began as a small one day event back in 1993, has grown from a couple hundred event goers 26 years ago to over 26,000 in 2019.
Nowadays, fans can even enjoy a trip on the Elvis Express – a train that ferries Elvis enthusiasts to the event with performances and plenty of Elvis-themed fun along the way.
The Elvis fun is set to continue over the coming weeks with a special tribute concert planned for ‘the King’.
Everyone from Aussie great Keith Urban and global superstar Ed Sheeran to Josh Groban, John Legend and Jennifer Lopez will perform the singer’s hits for NBC’s Elvis All-Star Tribute later this month, putting their own spin on everything from ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’, to ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ and ‘A Little Less Conversation’.
They will be joined on stage by Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley, while rare footage of the singer will be shown on screen along with in-depth interviews with his former wife Priscilla.
The two-hour concert, which will be hosted by The Voice coach Blake Shelton, marks 50 years since Elvis himself starred on-screen in his legendary ’68 Comeback Special’ on NBC, and it is set to air in the US on Sunday, February 17.