Presleys in the Press

Parkes Elvis Revival Festival
Held annually at Parkes, New South Wales, Australia on the second weekend in January
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Parkes Elvis Revival Festival

    For more pictures of the Festival, go to Federation of Elvis Clubs in Australia

    Go to the Sydney Morning Herald for an amazing song and slide show (source, EIN).

  • Elvis Festival - it just doesn't get any better
    (Parkes Champion-Post, January 19, 2007)
    Viva Parkes! Baby, the town really did shake, rattle and roll last weekend (oops, I think that's a Bill Haley song, not Elvis). Yeah man, the Elvis Festival was another huge success it's just keeps on getting bigger and better. Terrific stuff.

    It was commented to me that the festival had reached its peak in 2006 and that it would be downhill from there. Wrong! It has just continued to grow and this year saw numbers at record levels. And next year looks like being even bigger.

    I believe that because of the enormous interest, it looks like not only Parkes, Forbes and Peak Hill will be booked out [for accommodation], but Dubbo and Orange as well!

    Coaches will be organised to transport people to Parkes for all the fun. I have also been informed that a train is being organised to come down from Newcastle with as many as 400 people on board.

    No, it appears the peak has not been reached yet - we're still climbing. As Parkes Mayor, Robert Wilson - who does a terrific job getting right behind the festival, even to the extent of dressing in Elvis gear and joining the Elvis train in Orange for the final leg of the journey to Parkes - said this week: 'The only thing that worries me is that we are setting the benchmark so high!"

  • Elvises coming out of our Elvises
    By Gillian Lord
    (Bathurst News / Canberra Times, January 18, 2007)
    [Contains the full text of the Canberra Times article of January 16, 2006.]

  • Elvises coming out of our Elvises
    By Gillian Lord
    (Wauchope News / Canberra Times, January 18, 2007)
    [Contains the full text of the Canberra Times article of January 16, 2006.]

  • Elvises coming out of our Elvises
    By Gillian Lord
    (Nyngan News / Canberra Times, January 18, 2007)
    [Contains the full text of the Canberra Times article of January 16, 2006.]

  • Elvises coming out of our Elvises
    By Gillian Lord
    (Port Macquarie News / Canberra Times, January 17, 2007)
    [Contains the full text of the Canberra Times article of January 16, 2006.]

  • Aussie Elvis impersonators claim record
    (UPI, January 16, 2007)
    Organizers of an Elvis Presley festival in Australia are claiming a world record by gathering 147 Elvis impersonators at one location. The annual festival is held in the town of Parkes in western New South Wales, and this year attracted more than 6,000 visitors, organizers said.

    Festival publicity officer Monique Kronk told reporters the gathering of 147 Elvis impersonators more than doubled the previous official record. "There was a lot of rhinestones and sequins, a bit glaring on the eyes, but there was a 'Jailhouse Rock' look ... lots of different styles," she said. "There were even some female Elvis's and child Elvis's."

  • 147 Elvises live
    ( / Press Association, January 16, 2007)
    They ain't nothin' but record-breakers, all 147 Elvis Presley impersonators singing Love Me Tender in the Australian outback town of Parkes. They smashed the previous record - a mere 78 mustered by Collingwood in Canada - 15 years after Parkes hosted the biggest Elvis get-together in the southern hemisphere.

    This year there was even a chapel for married couples to renew their vows before Dean Vegas - the only licensed Elvis-impersonating marriage celebrant in Australia.

  • Elvis and the love me pretenders
    By Gillian Lord
    (Canberra Times, January 16, 2007, Times2 section, pp. 1, 4-5)
    What would the King think if he saw thousands of clones sweating and singing under the Australian sun? He may think he was seeing stars, but if Elvis saw how he is celebrated in Parkes His Rock 'n' Roll Highness would be all shook up.

    ... "We've got Elvises coming out of our Elvises", said the compere at the Guinness World Record-breaking attempt in Cooke Park on Saturday. Indeed they did - Parkes smashing the record with a resounding 147 Elvises ... The previous record of a paltry 77 was set at London's Selfridges store in 2005.

    ... But perhaps the most astonishing thing was the Elvis Street Parade. At about 10 am, Canberra's own Elvis tribute artist, Garry Buckley, in a huge paper mache Elvis head, led an extraordinary array of Elvises down the main street, to the delight of the assembled thousands.

    There were Evlises on bikes, Elvises with their babies in strollers, and the agricultural contribution of an impressive merino lamb in - you've guessed it - Elvis gear. The float was called Love Me Tender.

    ... There were non-stop Elvis events all weekend. The heat was intense, but the atmosphere was carnival. Laughter rang ou everywhere, Elvises tried to pick up Priscillas - "baby are you free tonight" was a common line, and every one, child Elvises, old Elvises, ragged Elvises and immaculate Elvises, had a thoroughly good time. The King wasn't dead, he was partying in Parkes.

    It was just so Australian.

    Photo: Gary Schafer

  • Elvis taught English to Maltese emigrant
    (, January 15, 2007)
    In the midst of an annual Elvis Presley Festival in an Australian town, a Maltese Australian woman told the story of her mother, who emigrated to Australia in the 1950s and learnt English by listening to The King's records.

    On Monday, the Canberra Times reported the story of Lena Saliba, a 61 year old woman from Blacktown, whose mother emigrated from Malta in 1952. But just like many other Maltese emigrants, it was not easy to adapt to the new country. Most Maltese emigrants did not even know how to speak English. But Lena's mother must have had the coolest teacher around - Elvis. "She would listen to Elvis records and learn a bit from there, especially Teddy Bear", she explained. "If more people listened to music they would learn English faster".

    dedicated fan

    Lena Saliba was one of the thousands that gathered in Parkes, New South Wales, for the renowned Elvis Festival, which is organised annually at the beginning of January, in the midst of the Australian summer. For a few days, the town becomes 'Graceland', Elvis' legendary hometown. Elvis songs are played in public places, numerous tribute acts are held, and hundreds of Elvis impersonators hit the streets. Over 6,000 visitors arrive in Parkes for the five day festival, through which the local council nets around four million Australian dollars.

    Saliba is described as a "dedicated fan" of The King. She has "made the pilgrimage to Graceland and even owns two very rare, limited-edition records which she has never played for fear of devaluing them", the Australian newspaper reported.

  • In Parkes, no one's lonesome tonight
    By Gillian Lord
    (Canberra Times, January 15, 2007, p. 6)
    Love was in the air in Cooke Park, Parkes, yesterday, when 33 couples renewed their marriage vows at the Love Me Tender archway at the annual Elvis Festival.

    It was a quaint, even touching ceremony, with Australia's official Elvis celebrant, and famous Elvis tribute artist, Dean Vegas, officiating.

    ... Grooms sweating nervously in the sun, brides elegant and radiant, as Dean Vegas sang I Can't Help Falling In Love With You. The lyrics from Love Me Tender were recited, and men were scripted to say things like "I will continue to be your hunka hunka burning love", their wives promising "never to return you to sender". It was funny and romantic ...

    ... He may never even have heard of Parkes, but Elvis is a blessing to this town. The festival, started in 1993, generates at least $4 million in revenue, and has excelled [ie, exceeded] the famous Parkes Picnic Races as a tourist attraction.

    Every Parkes business works him into their marketing. His image gazes from virtually every window, and Elvis music is piped down the main street day and night. And a real estate agent advertises: "Need a new place to dwell?".

    Photo: Gary Schafer

  • Parkes Elvis disciples sing new record
    By Vincent Morello
    ( / AAP, January 15, 2007)
    It maybe 30 years since Elvis Presley permanently left the building, but the burgeoning Elvis Festival at Parkes has given "The King" a posthumous birthday present in the form of a new world record. Canada's Collingwood Elvis Festival had held the record for the most Elvis impersonators singing at once - 78. But 147 men in big black hair, sunglasses and jumpsuits smashed that record when they delivered a simultaneous rendition of Love Me Tender in Parkes.

    "We couldn't get them all on stage," Parkes mayor Robert Wilson said.

    More than 6,000 Elvis Presley fans descended on the central western NSW town for the four-day annual festival which ended Sunday, almost doubling the town's usual population of 10,500. Mr Wilson, who joined in the fun by donning his own Elvis costume, said festival attendance was up by at least 20 per cent from last year's 5,000-strong crowd, in itself a record attendance. More than 1,600 alone attended Sunday morning's gospel church service, held at the Big W car park.

    "Not a bad effort in a small country town," Mr Wilson said.

    More than 60 Elvis-themed activities featured at the festival which culminated in a "hunka hunka" pancake breakfast, the gospel service, and an all-day Elvis in the Park concert. Couples renewed their wedding vows with Elvis at the Love me Tender Archway, courtesy of Dean Vegas, Australia's only official Elvis marriage celebrant.

    Organisers erected a tent city - dubbed Gracelands on the Green - after accommodation in Parkes and nearby Peak Hill sold out.

    The start of this year's event marked 30 years precisely since Elvis's death on January 8 [wrong!], and 15 years since the first Parkes Elvis Festival. "It was an incredible success and that credit should be given to the organising committees and all of the volunteers," Mr Wilson said.

  • World briefs - Jan 15, 2007: They were all shook up (6th item)
    (South African Star, January 15, 2007)
    The town of Parkes in Outback Australia yesterday set an unlikely-to-be-beaten record of 147 Elvis Presley impersonators singing Love Me Tender in unison at the climax of the New South Wales town's annual Elvis Festival. The previous record of 78 was held by Collingwood in Canada. More than 6 000 Elvis fans attended this year's Parkes spectacular, now in its 16th year.

  • Parkes smashes world Elvis record but still desperate for rain
    (Parkes Champion, January 15, 2007)
    It was one of the many highlights of the 2007 Parkes Elvis Festival, that attracted thousands of visitors to town. The sheer volume of visitors and locals alike was well evidenced throughout the weekend; 40 couples renewed their vows, almost 2000 people packed the Big W carpark for the gospel service, and only a handful of seats were vacant at the three feature concerts by Dean Vegas. Accommodation in Parkes was at maximum capacity, and festival organisers are looking at more accommodation options for next year.

    Also testament to the popularity of the festival was the attention of national and international media. The positive media attention can only encourage the growth of future festivals.

    Meanwhile Parkes had hit other records over the weekend with last year's rain showing less than half the annual average. Parkes is now the driest it has been in 62 years. ...

    Group picture for the world record

  • Elvis impersonators all shook up over world record win
    By Gillian Lord
    (Canberra Times, January 14, 2007, p. 10)
    The town of Parkes entered the Guinness Book of World Records last night when it broke the world record for the most number of Elvises in one place at one time, trouncing the previous record of 78 with a convincing "don't argue" of 147 Elvises.

    To qualify, all Elvises had to be in costume, enter the stage on Cooke Park in the centre of town, and sing Love Me Tender, all together from the get-go and no faltering on the lyrics, for three full minutes.

    In sweltering heat, Elvises at first mustered for a impressive, touching and stylish parade through the centre of town ...

    Photo: Gary Schafer

  • Parkes hot and sweaty in its burning love for The King
    By Gillian Lord
    (Canberra Times, January 13, 2007, p. 3)
    Elvis took on a uniquely Australian flavour in Parkes yesterday, when the town turned out in sweltering heat to welcome the specially commissioned Elvis train from Sydney.

    It was so hot the train was 40 minutes late as the heat affected the tracks, but wait they did, sweating and smiling in their Elvis costumes, and cheered heartily when it finally rolled into the station, bearing some 200 Elvis impersonators and fans, themselves looking a little startled when they stepped into the 45 degree heat.

    The annual Elvis Festival is a big deal in Parkes, a town of 10,500 - 15,000, depending on which sign you prefer to believe when you drive in.

    Elvis is everywhere, his likeness all over town, his songs being piped from loudspeakers everywhere, including the train station. The arrival of the Sydney train is traditionally welcomed by Parkes townsfolk. ...

    Photo: Gary Schafer

  • Parkes' hunk o' love for Elvis burns on
    By Gillian Lord
    (Canberra Times, January 12, 2007, p. 4)
    Forget The Dish - in Parkes this weekend it's all about The King, and the town will be bursting with Elvis fans and lookalikes. Or Elvii, a plural the Elvis Festival has adopted.

    On January 8, 1935, Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Vernon Presley, a truck driver [sic], and Gladys Love Smith [ie, Presley, nee Smith], a sewing machine operator. He would go on to become on of the world's biggest superstars and, after he died on August 16, 1977, he became a cult figure, worshipped by millions fans around the world.

    Which brings us back to Parkes. Made most famous by the movie The Dish, the NSW country town of just 10,500 people is now attracting attention for its annual Elvis Festival.

    It all started with a few passionate Elvis fans (one has even changed his name to Elvis by deed poll) who saw the potential for a fun event, coinciding with Elvis's birthday. ...

    Photo: Richard Briggs

  • Rural Elvis festival aiming for record
    ( / AAP, January 11, 2007)
    Organisers of the Parkes Elvis Festival hope to give the late, much lamented pop star a posthumous birthday present by breaking the world record for having the most Elvises singing simultaneously. Parkes will bulge at its rhinestone seams this weekend as 6,000 Elvis Presley fans descend on the central western NSW town with a population of 10,500.

    The increasingly-popular festival runs from January 10-14 and this year celebrates the 30th year since Elvis permanently left the building. Organisers can claim a world record if they can convince more than 78 people to swivel their hips on stage in full Elvis costume for a simultaneous rendition of festival theme tune Love Me Tender. Canada's Collingwood Elvis Festival currently holds the record for the most Elvis impersonators singing at once.

    Otherwise mainly known as the home of the radio telescope made famous in movie The Dish, Parkes has been celebrating Elvis' January 8 birthday with an annual festival since 1993. For a decade the event remained small with only a few hundred visitors but attendance has exploded since 2004, with a 40 per cent increase from 3,500 in 2005 to 5,000 last year. Mayor of Parkes Robert Wilson said the festival had become vital to the town's economy, with hundreds of locals giving up their time to ensure its success.

    Mr Wilson plays his part, swapping the robes and gold chains of office for more appropriate gear over the weekend. "I've got my wig and glasses but I'm afraid, even though I'm only six years younger than Elvis would be if he were still with us, I don't have the hip-swivel I used to," Mr Wilson said.

    Festival-goers, in their uniform of quiffs, gold-rimmed shades and rhinestone jumpsuits, can indulge their obsession in more than 60 Elvis-themed activities over the weekend. As well as parades and tribute artist concerts, visitors can renew their wedding vows under the Love Me Tender archway or attend an Elvis Gospel Church service. Fans can slip off their blue suede shoes for a game of barefoot bowls, or take part in the Hoteliers Elvis Golf Classic.

    It's not all Elvis though, as devotees of The King's wife Priscilla try to outdo each other in a big hair competition.

    The fun starts early for those aboard the Elvis Express, which will transport and entertain festival-goers from Sydney's Central Station on Friday. They will be serenaded by Elvis and compete to be best-dressed. Mr Wilson joins the revellers for the last leg of the trip, from Orange to Parkes.

    Accommodation has sold out in Parkes and nearby Peak Hill, prompting organisers to erect a tent-city, dubbed Gracelands on the Green. The luxury tents have carpeted floors, camp beds and internal lighting.

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