As thoughts of Australia’s fire crisis hung in the air, hundreds of hip-shaking and wig-wearing Elvis Presley impersonators and fans of the late King of Rock and Roll began their annual pilgrimage to the Elvis Festival in outback Australia on Thursday (January 9).
Revellers in their diamante-encrusted jumpsuits shook, rattled and rolled to several of the King’s biggest hits at Sydney’s Central railway terminal before catching the ‘Elvis Express’ to the rural town of Parkes, some 357 km (222 miles) westward.
Although the town has not been directly affected by the bushfires, many have cancelled their trip. The ‘Elvis Express’ had to adjust its route to avoid fire-damaged tracks in the Blue Mountains region.
Despite the setbacks, the festival will still go ahead, with many attendees saying the event is important now more than ever before to ensure the support of tourism in regional towns.
Parkes Shire Mayor, Ken Keith, said that he will be holding a mayoral appeal and fundraiser throughout the four-day event for the bushfires.
The 1966 musical film ‘Frankie and Johnny’ will be the theme for this year’s Elvis Festival, where streets markets, lookalike contests and parades are planned.
(Production: Stefica Nicol Bikes, Cordelia Hsu)