Central station in Sydney is packed to the brim with Elvis fans who have travelled across Australia and the world to rock around the clock with the King.
The crowd, sporting Elvis suits, flares and rockabilly dresses, gathered bright and early, ready to board the Blue Suede Express to the Parkes Elvis Festival.
Australia’s five-day celebration of all things Elvis takes place in Central NSW and ran this year from the 9th – 13th. The morning send-off was all feathers, sequins and big hair. And a whole lot of singing along.
Elvis impersonators and diehard fans (young and old) travel from across the country each year to celebrate all things Presley on the King’s birthday weekend. There are many reasons the 27,000 enthusiasts travelled so far. Good music and good food; some enjoy a blast from the past and others just want an excuse to let their hair down and rock n roll.
As the bustle of groupies and Elvis’s lugged suitcases across Sydney’s busiest station at 8am, the live music and dancing had already begun.
An Elvis from New Zealand explained his evolution as a tribute artist.
“I love that it’s not just a hobby anymore. It’s my job,” he said, letting me know about his upcoming gigs across the country. “It’s great to see so many people turn up this year and really get into it.”
Three Sydney friends that grew up dancing their nights away to the King of Rock and Roll were keen to board the train.
“I think you just get an Elvis overload for four or five days, where you can just immerse yourself. You can just go for it and let your hair down.” Elvis admirers know that the festival doesn’t disappoint. “It’s just so great and we look forward to it every year.”
The festival is overflowing with things to do. Elvis yogalates is held each morning, as well as Elvis golf and Elvis bingo. You can battle it out with the diehards at trivia, or sing your favourite hit at the karaoke stand. Some prefer to just step back and sway along to a week’s worth of fantastic tribute artists and good laughs.
Flocks of costumed fans bopped away with suitcases in hand, dancing along to the early entertainment while they waited to board the train. It was evident how many original and contemporary Elvis lovers there are, keen on joining in the fun.
Heartbreak Hotels and Jailhouse Rocks; you didn’t have to be an aficionado to join in the party. The festival celebrations are catered for all ages and will be sure to put a grin on grandma’s face.
It seems there isn’t a better way to Elvis into such a spectacular week.