The fabulous fifties – that’s the focus of next year’s Parkes Elvis Festival that was officially launched, along with its 2019 program, on Monday afternoon.
A large contingent of supporters gathered at the Parkes Motor Museum in the Henry Parkes Centre for the event.
Among the dignitaries present at the launch were Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro, Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW Rick Colless, Member for Orange Phil Donato, Forbes mayor Graeme Miller and Parkes’ councillors.
There were also international delegates accompanying Mr Barilaro for the day, representing Austria, Canada, China, Garna, Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.
Following speeches from Mayor Ken Keith OAM, Mr Barilaro and Mr Colless, Parkes Elvis Festival director Cathy Treasure took to the stage to announce the 2019 program and some exciting new additions.
“I’m quite proud to stand here and confidently can say we have a bigger and better festival again coming up next year,” Ms Treasure said.
“We have over 200 events [next] year at the festival...It is celebrating the 50s, we’re getting All Shook Up, we’ve shaken up a few things about the festival [next] year, which I hope you’ll enjoy.”
Next year’s Parkes Elvis Festival will run from Wednesday, January 9 to Sunday, January 13, where more than 26,000 people are expected to shake, rattle and roll into Parkes for the biggest tribute to The King in the Southern Hemisphere.
The theme is All Shook Up, celebrating Elvis' iconic song and all things '50s.
Released in March 1957, All Shook Up quickly topped several American charts and became a certified double-platinum and an instant jukebox hit.
Kicking off the festival is the all-new All Shook Up Special – a tribute to the Million Dollar Quartet, featuring Lance Lipinsky as Jerry Lee Lewis, 2018 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest winner Anthony Petrucci as Elvis Presley, Daniel Thompson as Johnny Cash and Brad Bergen as Carl Perkins.
Ms Treasure said the Special will celebrate the 1957 impromptu jam session that was recorded between Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
“We have an amazing line-up for that show and I think it’s one of the best opening nights that we will have,” she said.
New to the program are a range of exciting workshops, including strumming your way through classics like Can’t Help Falling in Love at the ukulele workshops, and mini-Elvii can have all sorts of fun at the Kids Talent Workshops, hosted by the original yellow Wiggle and all-around Elvis fanatic, Greg Page.
Mark Andrew returns to the festival with his Legends’ Show on the Friday, while Saturday will see a Tribute to Phil Emmanuel, who sadly passed away in May but whose rich history in Parkes and overall music contributions had him honoured on the Elvis Wall of Fame at the 2018 Festival.
“Russell is an amazing legend in the Australian rock ‘n’ roll industry,” she said.
“It’s really exciting, he released [the song The Real Thing] in 1969, the producer was Molly Meldrum...It’s also the theme song from The Dish movie and we think it’s quite fitting that in Parkes on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing that we have Russell Morris as our Wall of Fame recipient.”
Russell Morris will be present for the induction on day one of the festival and will be doing a special performance at the Parkes Services Club.
Of course the program includes the much loved events – the headline Feature Concert Series, the Miss Priscilla Dinner, Northparkes Mines Street Parade, Renewal of Vows Ceremony, free entertainment on the main stage in Cooke Park and Elvis Gospel Service.
There will also be more dancing in Cooke Park and the main street, complete with a new 50s’ style dance floor and a juke box.
Ms Treasure said they’ve “shaken everything up” on the Friday of the festival, moving the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest heats – where the winner represents Parkes at the 2019 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis, USA, during Elvis Week in August – from 1.30pm to 10am.
“Friday is a popular day of the festival, growing every year so we wanted to be able to fit in a few more shows and also allow the performers to compete in the competition and then go to perform at all the venues through Parkes,” she said.
“We’re already getting interest from throughout the world this year for this competition...we’ve had inquiries from the UK, the US and Canada.”
Starting out as a small get together between like-minded Elvis fans in 1993, the festival has grown today into an international renowned phenomenon, endorsed by the estate of Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.
Mr Barilaro said the festival isn’t just an event for Parkes, it’s an event that has grown significantly, grabbing the attention of visitors from across Australia and the globe.
“The Parkes Elvis Festival is today recognised as one of the world’s largest Elvis Presley tribute events and it’s staged right here in beautiful regional NSW,” he said.
“As a major highlight on the NSW Events Calendar, the NSW Government is proud to be continuing our support for the festival for a further three years through Destination NSW, the State’s tourism and major events agency.
“From 2019 until 2021 the Parkes Elvis Festival is expected to inject more than $30 million into local hotels, restaurants, shops and tourist attractions, helping to turbocharge the local economy and create more jobs.”
Tickets are on sale now to all events, including the 2019 Feature Concert Series, featuring headline act US Elvis tribute artist, Ted Torres Martin.
Across four high-energy concerts at the Parkes Leagues Club, Ted will recreate the performances that cemented Elvis as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, all the while being backed by a dynamic, eight-piece band.
For programming and ticketing information, visit www.parkeselvisfestival.com.au
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