Elvis’ 80th party starts today

Elvis Festival Director, Emily Mann (front) with other locals who have a big part in the Elvis Festival - Beth Link (Acting Parkes Touristm Manager), Elise Spedding (Event Co-ordinator), Phillip Betts (volunteer and vice-president, Elvis  Revival Committee), and Ella Miller (Elvis Central). Photo: Roel ten Cate
Elvis Festival Director, Emily Mann (front) with other locals who have a big part in the Elvis Festival - Beth Link (Acting Parkes Touristm Manager), Elise Spedding (Event Co-ordinator), Phillip Betts (volunteer and vice-president, Elvis Revival Committee), and Ella Miller (Elvis Central). Photo: Roel ten Cate

Elvis’ 80th birthday celebration is shaping up as the best party yet in the 23 years of the Elvis Festival.

The party gets underway today and continues for the next five days.

Parkes and neighbouring Forbes are completely booked out with the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s fans, with some 18,000 visitors expected.

All motel, hotel, caravan park accommodation in Parkes is booked out, and more than 500 people are being home-hosted.

The Spicer Park caravan park is locating vans on the playing surface inside the oval to cater for the overflow, while the Parkes Showground is completely booked out with some 500 people on site.

Tent City has again been set up at Northparkes Oval with more than 100 people located in 50 tents.

More late bookings are expected this week.

Forbes too is completely booked out, and there are some 300 people also being home-hosted there.

Many of the visitors have been in Parkes for several days and are all ready for the party which starts today.

One of the highlights of the festival will take place at 3pm when Rose Tattoo front man, Angry Anderson is recognised on the Elvis Wall of Fame (located at Kelly Reserve).

Angry arrived in Parkes last night and will officially unveil his plaque which will see him then join an illustrious group of artists who have  made a major contribution to Australian music.

Elvis at The Dish will take place tonight for the very first time and has already been booked out, while the official opening of the Festival Photographic Exhibition will be held at the Coventry Room from 6pm.

The popular annual Parkes Harness Racing Club Elvis meeting will also take place at the Parkes Paceway with a seven race program (see page 25).

Some other events are also scheduled (see official program).

Another highlight of the festival takes place tomorrow with the arrival of the Elvis Express from Sydney at 4pm at the Parkes Railway Station.

Parkes Mayor Ken Keith is travelling to Sydney today to catch the train first thing tomorrow morning and will make the journey with the 400 revellers who bought out the tickets in just 19 minutes.

Television programs, Sunrise and Today - as well as other media outlets - are expected to be at the station for the departure.

Tomorrow will also see Elvis’ 80th birthday party at the Parkes Leagues Club with more than 500 fans ready to celebrate.   

It will be the very first 80th party for Elvis in the world!

The festival markets will be set up in Cooke Park where most of the action will take place over the next few days, and buskers will also be placed around the town.

The party will then be on in earnest as thousands flock to Parkes to enjoy some 150 different events.  

Among them will be several firsts including closing off the main shopping area for three days to allow pedestrian-only access.  

A boulevard will be set providing music and outdoor dining.

Details are covered in the following pages.

Emily Mann was appointed Elvis Festival Director late last year and has been working tirelessly to ensure everything goes smoothly.

She is relieved it has finally arrived and has no doubt everyone will enjoy themselves.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to present such an exciting program of events in 2015,” she said. 

“There are more than 150 events taking place around Parkes celebrating the music of Elvis Presley, so there is sure to be something for everyone.

“We look forward to hosting the thousands of visitors to our town and putting on a party fit for the King.”

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