Elvis Festival promises to get fans all shook up
"ELVIS was the King of Rock and Roll for a reason."
It may seem an unsurprising statement from the organiser of the sixth annual Central Coast Elvis Festival from February 16-18, but it was a long time coming for Sheldon Kidd, who admits he had always been a bigger Johnny O'Keefe fan.
A trip about 10 years ago to the Parkes Elvis Festival - now one of the world's biggest Elvis Presley tribute events, last year attracting 25,000 people for its 25th anniversary (also 40 years since Elvis's death) - changed all that.
"When you see how good his voice was, how he moved and how he acted, I think he's got Johnny pegged," Sheldon admitted.
"I can see why fans are so devoted to him.
"It was the fun of it; to see how much enjoyment people were getting out of the event.
"To see what a hold he still has on people is incredible. I don't think there will be a Justin Bieber festival in 40 years!"
Wanting to share that fun and community spirit, Sheldon started first the Central Coast festival and then the Newcastle event, which attracted 10,000 in its fourth year in November.
Sheldon hopes the Coast event, which attracted about 4000 people last year to Davistown RSL, will be even stronger this year.
"We're certainly not trying to compete with Parkes, but what we can do is give people their Elvis fix in a smaller capacity, so you still get to hear all the hits and relive his music ... it's timeless."
And although most of the crowd will remember Elvis in his heyday, Sheldon said his music crossed the generations, and many people made the festivals a family affair, with children and grandchildren getting to see grandma and grandpa in their element, "acting like teenagers again".
It all begins with Elvis Night on Friday, February 16, with DJ Vinnie spinning the discs and featuring trivia questions, prizes and, of course, lots of Rock 'n' Roll dancing.
Sean Luke Spiteri, known as one of the finest Elvis tribute artists in the country and a two-time winner of the Australia's Ultimate Elvis title, is the feature performer on Saturday.
It all wraps up with a Classic Car Show, showcasing over 100 hot rods and classic cars on the Sunday, with market stalls for the first time this year adding another element to the day, which also includes the Elvis Idol karaoke contest - another winner with crowds.
"It's really a chance to let your hair down and have a bit of a sing if you want to," Sheldon said.
And while the quality of that singing goes from the talented to the "really awful", that's all part of the fun, with some performers choosing to dress to impress, including last year's 'Elderly Presley'.
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