Festival History

Parkes Elvis Festival is held each January in Parkes in Central New South Wales. The Festival is held on the second weekend in January to coincide with Elvis Presley’s birthday. Check out the promotional video for a taste of what to expect!

Parkes has a population of 12,000 and is located 365 kilometres west of Sydney.

Why an Elvis festival in Parkes?

There are some passionate Elvis fans in Parkes: one local changed his name to Elvis by deed poll and another local couple operated ‘Gracelands Restaurant’ for many years. The Festival was conceived by these and other passionate community members who recognised the potential for a fun event. January was identified as the perfect time to stage the event, being a slow time in local tourism and coinciding with Elvis’s on January 8. The first festival was held in January 1993.

Following the release of the Australian movie ‘The Dish’, Parkes was best known as the home of the CSIRO Radio Telescope. But now the town is widely recognised as the ‘Elvis Capital of Australia’ and the Festival has cemented Parkes as a tourist destination.

The program

Festival events are held over five days from Wednesday to Sunday. Each year the program extends and now there are approximately 120 individual events over the five days. The program includes the headline Feature Concerts Series, the Elvis Gospel Service, the Northparkes Mines Street Parade, nonstop free entertainment in Cooke Park, the popular Renewal of Vows, the Goodsell Machinery Miss Priscilla Dinner, Poets’ Breakfast, busking, dancing, cake decorating and much more!

The Elvis Express between Sydney to Parkes is an annual highlight for Festival visitors. The Festival experience begins even before visitors arrive in town, as they are serenaded by Elvis all the way from Sydney.

The Festival’s incredible growth

A couple of hundred people attended the first one-night only Festival in 1993. Over the next 10 years more events were added to the program and the Festival became a two-day event. But still only a few hundred people attended. Then with the vision and efforts of new committee members, the Festival experienced a surge in popularity in 2004 and 2005, with word quickly spreading across Australia about this fun and quirky event.

9,500 attended the Festival in 2009. In 2015 more than 20,000 visitors attended this major event. The Festival now enjoys a worldwide media audience of 60 million with fans around the globe.

 

Wall of Fame

The Elvis Wall of Fame and replica ‘Graceland’ gates are situated at Kelly Reserve and were erected to honour pioneers of the Australian music industry. Each year, music fans gather on the first day of the Festival to celebrate the career of an Australian music legend and unveil a plaque in recognition of their achievements.

1995 Johnny O’Keefe
1996 Col Joye & the Joy Boys
1997 Little Pattie
1998 Brian Henderson
1999 De Kroo Brothers
2000 Judy Stone
2001 Jade Hurley
2002 Lonnie Lee
2003 Normie Rowe
2004 Johnny Young
2005 Noeleen Batley
2006 Lucky Starr
2007 Johnny Devlin
2008 Billy Thorpe
2009 Glenn A Baker
2010 Dinah Lee
2011 Barry Crocker
2012 Kamahl
2013 John Paul Young
2014  Ian “Molly” Meldrum
2015 Angry Anderson
2016 Rob E G
2017 Digby “Dig” Richards

Past Winners

Look-a-Like Winners

2002 Spike Jones
2003 Grace Tailford
2004 Dwayne Carey
2005 Elvis Stefanoski
2006 Chris White
2007 Scott Baker
2008 Silas Lulic
2009 Harry Stefanopoulos
2010 Edwin Posa
2011 Edwin Posa
2012 Ross Mancini
2013 Allan Wright
2014 Allan Wright
2015 Robert Lennox
2016 Robert Lennox
2017 Darren Armstrong

 

Sound-a-Like

2001 Morris Posa
2002 Ian Harris & Ashley Penny
2003 Neil Douglas
2004 TJ McEniery
2005 Sean Spiteri
2006 Carmine Cimilio
2007 Jamie Way
2008 Silas Lulic
2009 Royden Donohue
2010 Steve Head
2011 Allan Wright
2012 Morris Posa
2013 Allan Wright
2014 Ross Mancini
2015 Jack Gatto
2016 Mike Tsama
2017 Ross Sgonga

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