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.
Festival events are held over five days from Wednesday to Sunday. Each year the program extends and now there are approximately 150 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, markets 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 2018 more than 26,000 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.
|1996||Col Joye & the Joy Boys|
|1999||De Kroo Brothers|
|2009||Glenn A Baker|
|2013||John Paul Young|
|2014||Ian “Molly” Meldrum|
|2016||Rob E G|
|2017||Digby “Dig” Richards|
|2018||Phil and Tommy Emmanuel|
|2002||Ian Harris & Ashley Penny|