Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Outback Elvis: Riding with the King in Parkes, Australia

Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Outback Elvis: Riding with the King in Parkes, Australia

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

For the past twenty years, Australian fans have gathered in Parkes, New South Wales, to celebrate Elvis Presley's birthday. Since the initial gathering of two hundred, hosted by Bob and Anne Steel at their Gracelands banquet hall, the CountryLink Parkes Elvis Festival has turned into a community-wide effort, and attendance has mushroomed to 18,000, nearly double the town's population.

But why Elvis? He never traveled to Australia; nonetheless, this agricultural and mining town approximately zoo miles west of Sydney stakes a sizeable chunk of its annual economy on celebrating the Mississippi-born icon of American rock and roll. Free of the gravitas involved in a memorial festival like Elvis Week in Memphis, the scheduling around Presley's birthday induces a celebratory atmosphere and encourages men to don the Elvis jumpsuit. After all, as festival founder Anne Steel says, "Elvis was a bloke." The Parkes festival also tends to encourage a more conservative or wholesome image of Elvis, and yet the various depictions create the festival's gonzo feel that is rich with an uncalculated, homespun hospitality. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.