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Elvis is back in town!
This upcoming weekend – September 27-29 - the seaside town of Porthcawl will once again be transformed by the biggest town-wide celebration of the life of Elvis Presley this side of Memphis.
Sandwiched between the major Welsh cities of Cardiff and Swansea, Porthcawl prides itself on its quiet sandy beaches, great surf and world class golf courses, and over the past decade has prevailed as a desirable tourist destination.
Thanks to the yearly influx of over 30,000 Elvis aficionados, however, this is anything but your average seaside town.
The history of the festival is unlike any other. It began as a PR stunt in the form of a one-off documentary organised by Peter Philips in order to save the town’s historical Grand Pavilion theatre from closing. The documentary gained a huge amount of unexpected publicity and now, 10 years down the line, the entire town gets ‘caught in a trap’ of live music, fancy dress and buckets of fun.
Enjoying ten years of success this year, founder Phillips believes its popularity is due to both the comradeship of the local people and their enthusiasm - he proudly declares “the Welsh know how to throw a party!”
The festival will launch on Friday, September 27, with a champagne reception where visitors can meet some of the weird and wonderful artistes and celebrities taking part. Festival-goers will be treated to an astounding one hundred well-known Elvis tribute bands throughout the weekend performing across the town in pubs, hotels or in the iconic Grand Pavilion itself.
Other highlights include the award-winning Dean Mack, who will be performing some of the classic gospel music that catapulted Elvis to fame. The Three Kings show headlined by Ben Thompson, the winner of the 2012 Best Festival Elvis Competition, is not to be missed, and for those acquainted with Elvis’ acting Elvis at the Movies will perform songs from his films to encapsulate that old 1950s glamour.
There will even be a one-mile charity walk for those who are suited and booted in the blue suede shoes of the King. AW