Parkes Elvis Festival moves to March 10-14 because of COVID-19

DATE CHANGE: For the first time in 29 years, the Parkes Elvis Festival will not be held in January, with a new date in March tentatively booked for the 2021 event because of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Submitted
DATE CHANGE: For the first time in 29 years, the Parkes Elvis Festival will not be held in January, with a new date in March tentatively booked for the 2021 event because of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Submitted

The internationally famous Parkes Elvis Festival has been moved to March following an earlier than expected announcement from organisers.

But a final decision to proceed or cancel the festival entirely will still be made by September 28.

"We chose to announce the date change now to allow our stakeholders to make alternate plans for January, and to allow us time to reschedule artists and all the support services," festival director Cathy Treasure said.

"We would love the festival to proceed but are being cautiously optimistic."

The 2021 festival that was scheduled to take place from January 6-10, will be in its 29th year if it goes ahead.

It has been moved to March 10-14 for now.

Ms Treasure said the festival team has contacted the accommodation providers in the Parkes Shire and Forbes, and have been assured that all January 2021 bookings will be carried over to the new dates in March or alternatively to the 2022 festival.

"There is no need to make contact now," she said.

"The accommodation providers have reserved the March dates for existing bookings and will be in contact once the final decision on the festival proceeding has been made at the end of September."

FACE OF THE FESTIVAL: 2020 Miss Priscilla Sharnia Sarsfield from Wellington with the Parkes Elvis Festival's ambassador Al Gersbach at The Dish during last year's event. Photo: Submitted

FACE OF THE FESTIVAL: 2020 Miss Priscilla Sharnia Sarsfield from Wellington with the Parkes Elvis Festival's ambassador Al Gersbach at The Dish during last year's event. Photo: Submitted

The ticket launch date has now been moved to November 16, in line with the new festival dates.

Ms Treasure reassured that there will be no ticket sales before they are 100 per cent sure they are safe to proceed.

Parkes Shire Mayor Ken Keith OAM said the date change will give the town seven months until the start of the festival.

"We are hopeful it will be able to proceed, however the health and safety of the community will come first in the final decision of the festival proceeding," he said.

"The festival team will keep our fans and the community updated on any developments."

Parkes Chamber of Commerce president Geoff Rice said the Chamber and business community support the change of date.

"Many businesses rely on the festival to get them through the off-peak summer period and this is especially relevant for 2021, after the challenges in business due to bush fires and drought," he said.

In the past the Parkes Elvis Festival has generated more than $13 million for the local economy and attracted a record of 27,000 visitors.

The festival team continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation very closely, with the safety and well-being of the community, artists, fans, staff and businesses first and foremost, Ms Treasure said.

The final decision by September 28 will be made after organisers evaluate the most up-to-date health advice and Parkes' community and business sentiment.

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