It’s been 40 years since Elvis Presley left the building, yet 25,000-plus Elvis fans still gather in the Central NSW town of Parkes annually to celebrate The King each January.
Record crowds are expected for the 2018 Parkes Elvis Festival, which will take place from Wednesday 10 to Sunday 14 January 2018. The theme of the 2018 Festival is celebrating 50 years of the ’68 Comeback Special.
Parkes Elvis Festival is something on everyone’s bucket list, and why wouldn’t it be when people of all ages can don a wig and glasses to relive the rock’n’roll heyday that took the world by storm!
The Festival features a jam-packed five-day program of events, including four days of free Cooke Park Main Stage entertainment, look-a-like contests, Tribute to Elvis competitions, Street Parade, displays of Elvis artefacts at Greg Page’s The Kings Castle Elvis Exhibit, the Gospel Service, the Cars of the Era show and over 100 other unique Elvis-themed events.
Festival Director Cathy Treasure says, “The fun of the Festival is infectious. There is the most wonderful vibe in Parkes during the Festival. Everyone just wants to enjoy themselves.
“The Festival is a community-driven event that involves a wide cross-section of the community, from Council to local businesses to more than 75 volunteers who give up their time to successfully stage the Festival each year, all of which adds to the amazing atmosphere.
“Alongside the iconic CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, Parkes Elvis Festival has cemented Parkes’ status as a major tourism destination, providing a significant boost to not only the Parkes economy but to the economy of the whole region in what would usually be a low tourism period. Considering visitor length of stay, bed nights, ticket sales, food and transport costs, the Festival brings an estimated injection of over $13 million into the local economy.”
The Festival story
It’s 25 years since the Festival began, but the question everyone still asks is: why Elvis in Parkes? In 1981, local Elvis fans Bob Steel OAM and Anne Steel OAM opened a reception centre and restaurant in Parkes they named ‘Gracelands’. The building can be still be seen today at the corner of Bushman and Albert Streets.
However the Festival concept was first flagged at an Elvis-themed birthday party in 1992 at Gracelands. This party proved the appeal of the King across generations, and it was over a glass of wine at the party that the idea of a Festival was first discussed.
Passionate locals from across the community joined forces to put on the first Festival in 1993, which included an Elvis movie screening, an Elvis tribute concert by Eddie Youngblood, an Elvis look-a-like and sound-a-like competition, a street parade, markets and a tour of the Parkes region. The first Festival was attended by 200 people.
Over the first 10 years of the Festival, more events were added to the program and it continued to attract fans in their hundreds. With the vision and efforts of hard-working volunteer committee members together with significant support from Parkes Shire Council, the Festival experienced a surge in popularity in 2003 and 2004 as word quickly spread across Australia about this fun and quirky event in a quiet country town in NSW.
9,500 attended the Festival in 2009. In 2015 more than 20,000 visitors attended this major iconic event. The Festival now enjoys a worldwide media audience of 60 million and fans around the globe.
For images, interviews or further information please contact:
Parkes Shire Council
(02) 6862 6000
Festival Sponsorship & Marketing Coordinator
Parkes Shire Council
(02) 6862 6000