Parkes, approximately 350 km west of Sydney in Central West New South Wales is the Elvis Capital of Australia. For the last 21 years Parkes has hosted the Elvis Festival which has grown to become THE event for Elvis aficionados in Australia. In the second week of January 2015, to coincide with what would have been Elvis’ 80th birthday, the Parkes Elvis Festival will see 18,000 visitors flood to the town, more than doubling the population.
The attractions for Elvis-philes are many. Parkes has Australia’s best museum dedicated to Elvis, The King’s Castle Elvis Exhibit, which features a world class collection of genuine memoriblia from Elvis and his performance career. During the Elvis Festival this permanent attraction is complimented by 5 days packed with performances, displays, competitions, parades and an unending parade of Elvis impersonators.
The celebrations start at 9 am on Wednesday 7th January with the museum opening, photo and arts exhibitions, trike motorcycle tours, bingo, a trotting meeting, open night at the Dish, and all day busking on the main Street of town, Clarinda St. Many of these events continue every day until Sunday 11th. Across stages from parks to hotels and clubs and venues all over the town there are tribute performances by accomplished artists celebrating the music of Elvis and his era.
Highlights of the Festival include a very popular ceremony where couples can renew their marriage vows in an Elvis themed service. On Sunday morning there is an Elvis Gospel music service with breakfast. On Saturday the Festival peaks with the Elvis Street Parade that brings the town to a standstill as floats and performers spread along Clarinda St. The Festival Markets are a great opportunity to purchase memorabilia, Rock-n-Roll wear and food and beverages, before you relax and soak up the free entertainment on the main stage in Cooke Park, all day, every day!
One of the most exciting parts of the Elvis Festival is to just be part of the atmosphere of thousands of visitors and locals who completely immerse themselves in everything Elvis. If you don’t want to get dressed up yourself, you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of Elvis and Priscilla wannabes in all directions all day long from the buskers on the street, to performers on the stages to the visitors from all over the world and even the local Post Office staff. Everybody wants a piece of Elvis at the Parkes Elvis Festival!
With a population normally just over 10,000 the Festival exhausts Parkes’ available accommodation early and even fills the neighbouring towns as well. Transport choices to the festival are many, the favourite being the Elvis Express train which travels from Sydney on Thursday and returns on the Monday, with on board Elvis entertainment. But this and similar bus transport quickly book out.
So if you need transport to and accommodation for the Parkes Elvis Festival the unique chance to combine the Festival with an Aussie Bush Adventure and Farmstay may be an ideal opportunity. Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures is offering a Farmstay and Blue Mountains adventure tour combined with Parkes Elvis Festival experience. Explore Blue Mountains attractions, visit a wildlife park, stay on an historic family sheep farm to see demonstrations and entertainment, as well as enjoying all day Saturday at the Parkes Elvis Festival and enjoy the Gospel service on Sunday morning. The full itinerary can be seen here.