Parkes ELVIS Festival. “It’s now or Never!”

The Parkes ELVIS festival

The Parkes ELVIS festival is a jam packed fabulous 5-day event held in the second week of January each year to coincide with ELVIS’ Birthday. It is held in the town of Parkes, NSW with multiple event locations throughout the township. 200+ unique themed acts are held over the 5 days from early morning breakfasts to rock n roll dancing late into the night. The town population triples in size during the event.

The PARKES ELVIS Festival mainstay events includes Cook Park main stage entertainment that generally runs from 12 noon each day until late at night for the entire 5 days. In addition there are ELVIS themed souvenir, gift and food markets. Other highlights of the festival include the ELVIS tribute feature headline concert, Sunday street parade, vintage car show, ELVIS gospel church service and the renewal of marriage vows ceremony. So many unique events are held in the town from poetry breakfasts, ELVIS bingo, ELVIS themed harness racing, ELVIS evenings at The Dish, ELVIS documentaries, ELVIS movies, rock a billy dance lessons, ELVIS & Priscilla look-a-like competitions and endless music and entertainment. Our favourite part of the festival is the vibrant atmosphere. The town swells with people dressed as ELVIS, Priscilla and rock-a-billies. The people are friendly and are in a good-time mood. Visitors chat, sing and dance in the streets. Loudspeakers on the town street lights broadcast ELVIS music everyday which gives you the urge to break out in a sing-along or jitter about to the music. ELVIS buskers line Clarinda street inviting a dance along on the footpaths. At night the weather is a perfect for a Summer stroll of the town hopping in and out of Pubs packed with ELVIS concerts and people dancing, singing and having a good time. The street and landmark buildings are lit up with light shows of ELVIS and rainbow colours. It is just a fantastic place to be and share in some good old-fashioned fun for all ages.
Parkes Elvis Festival
Parkes Elvis Festival
The Parkes ELVIS festival was the brainchild of Parkes’ locals Bob and Anne Steel. Anne was a fan of ELVIS since a child and while Bob was courting Anne, he gave her gifts of ELVIS music and sang ELVIS songs to her. The couple also shared a passion for vintage and classic cars, bikes and scooters. And together from their restaurant and function centre the concept of the festival was formed after a birthday party was kept up late dancing well into the night due to the ELVIS music played. In 1993 Bob & Anne’s passion with the help of like-minded local volunteers held the first ELVIS festival over 2 days. The original festival included a rock-n-roll themed birthday party and an ELVIS look-a-like competition for 195 guests. Over the years the Festival has grown and is now organised by a team of dedicated professionals from the Parkes Shire Council events team which includes Bob & Anne’s grand daughter. The Festival at present stretches over 5 days morning to night and sees 27,000 visitors. I was honoured enough to meet Bob and Anne Steel in 2019 when the Parkes Elvis Festival was inducted into Regional Tourism Hall of Fame for consistently delivering a festival that enhances Parkes as a destination, as well as creating economic impact, increased visitation and community involvement. Upon meeting Bob and Anne at the Tourism Awards event their personalities and passion for music and dancing was catching. As we were introduced Bob shook my hand and tried to teach me some rock-n-roll moves – something I had never expected but enjoyed a good giggle.

I have spoken to a lot of people that have had the Parkes ELVIS Festival on their bucket list for many years. So, stop dreaming and do it.

This is the year to come and experience! Let’s face it – international travel is off the cards for a couple of years and so the driving destination is bang on trend. Get out there and come and visit Parkes and the Parkes ELVIS Festival.

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