HIPS were shaking and blue suede shoes were tapping, as the country music capital’s biggest Elvis fans boarded a bus to Parkes Elvis Festival on Thursday morning.
This year’s ‘68 Comeback Special-themed festival features a program full of non-stop entertainment, competitions, dancing and a lot of black leather to celebrate 50 years since The King appeared on television in a special unplugged style performance that helped re-launch him back into the music industry.
In a Tamworth-first, a dedicated Elvis coach was organised to bus down the region’s biggest King of Rock ‘n’ Roll fans.
Among them was Tamworth Elvis fan and impersonator, John Caulfield, who was making his way to his 14th Parkes Elvis Festival.
“When the Parkes Elvis Festival started, it was really small,” Mr Caulfield said.
“The participation has gone from 50 people to 15,000.
“When I was 60, I won my first competition I’ve ever won.
“It was a move-like Elvis contest in Parkes.”
So, what does Mr Caulfield love most about Elvis?
“It’s the voice, the man, the persona,” he said.
“He was a very flamboyant person, but at the same time, a very shy person.”
Behind the wheel of the Parkes-bound bus on Thursday morning was Orange’s Peter Bryan.
“This is a very, very big day,” Mr Bryan told The Leader.
“I grew up in an era when Elvis was at his peak.
“I was never that interested in going to the festival, but I drove a bus from Orange to Parkes for two days and it was the best experience of my life.
“It was absolutely amazing.”
There are already plans in place to make next year’s visit to Parkes bigger and better than ever.