The three new faces of the town's festivals team who were working on the Parkes Elvis Festival have resigned, Parkes Shire Council has confirmed.
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But Director of Customer, Corporate Services and Economy Anthony McGrath has reassured the community a new team has been recruited, which includes internal staff and the festival organisation is continuing.
New festivals producer Julien Poulson, along with festivals and events manager Rochelle Livingstone and event attraction and sponsorship officer Charlotte Lerpiniere - the latter two both working remotely from the Central Coast and the Northern Beaches respectively and travelling to Parkes every six to eight weeks - had only been in their new roles for a few months.
The trio were present for the festival's 2024 program launch on September 11.
"Julien has resigned for personal reasons... [And] unfortunately Charlotte and Rochelle have also resigned," Mr McGrath said.
"We have since seconded an internal staff member into a key role as the Festival Project Manager. We have also engaged two contractors, both with extensive event experience, who have now started.
"[Council staff] Rebecca Scully and Andrea Richards are still part of the team."
With the Parkes Elvis Festival now just 10 weeks away, the news has come as a shock to some members in the community.
"We have experienced large staff turnovers in the past few years, as has the rest of the country, however a new team has been recruited and we are working closely with the Portfolio holders (volunteers) to ensure a great festival," Mr McGrath said.
Among other changes that are taking place to next year's festival, council and its volunteers have also been forced to cancel the 2024 Miss Pricilla Dinner which has grown in popularity in recent years.
The Miss Priscilla competition however will go ahead as usual.
But instead of the competition taking place inside the walls of the Parkes Services Club, it will move to the Main Stage in Cooke Park with the winner to be announced at 2.40pm on Friday, January 12.
"The volunteers that run the dinner advised they were unable to [do it] this year," Mr McGrath said.
"So given staff shortages and timeframe the decision was made not to run the dinner this year.
"Since then we have secured the Rising Suns show at the services club to fill that spot on our program."
Mr McGrath also said the reason to cancel wasn't because of a lack of sponsorship, as earlier rumours may have suggested.
Festival founder Anne Steel is the portfolio holder for the Miss Priscilla competition and she made the announcement via a video posted to the Parkes Elvis Festival Facebook page.
"We'll take them across to the Main Stage and introduce all our entrants and their stylists, and announce our Miss Priscilla," she said.
"That way a lot more people will get to see Miss Priscilla first-up than our 300 in the club."
No other significant changes to next year's festival have been reported.
"No, at this stage we anticipate the festival will largely operate as per previous years," Mr McGrath confirmed.
The 2024 Parkes Elvis Festival will run from Wednesday, January 10 to Monday, January 15.
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