The ELVIS FESTIVAL is back in Porthcawl, bigger and better than ever (if that’s at all possible). The costumes are brushed off and worn with pride, the sun was shining, and the town is filled with more Elvis-a-Likes and fans than you’ll find anywhere outside of Memphis.
We spent the day in the town soaking up the atmosphere and meeting the thousands who turned out for this annual pilgrimage to Porthcawl. Being the first day of three we wanted to find out from the organiser PETER PHILLIPS, who’s idea this whole event is, exactly what’s in store over the next few days. We also spoke to Elvis Artist SARA TOPHAM, and of course some of the best dressed devotees of this annual event.
You can slo take a look at our feature from last year, which was the first Elvis Festival post-Covid. – ELVIS FESTIVAL 2021.
If you’ve never come across The Elvies before, I have to ask where have you been?
First of all, you don’t have to be a fan of Elvis Presley to appreciate and enjoy what happens in Porthcawl every year, it really is just brilliant fun and one hell of a spectacle. This isn’t just your ordinary, everyday festival, this is Elvis on a scale like you’ve never seen. This festival isn’t just ONE NIGHT, as the King himself would say, it’s a whole weekend of Elvis shenanigans.
I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a load of Elvis fans, dressing up for a couple of days. Well, DON’T BE CRUEL because this is so much more than that. It’s about community and friendship at the end of the day. A large group of like-minded people, with a passion for the man and his music, gathering to celebrate something very special.
I can promise you, one seen, never forgotten, and you will be back again and again.
So let’s tell you a little about the festival itself and perhaps convince you to head to Porthcawl.
Every September thousands, and we really do mean thousands of Elvis fans descend on the seaside town for a unique celebration of The King. It’s certainly A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION and more music, but stories are shared over the weekend and the great man fondly remembered. There are many featured events and official shows.
Most of them take place in the magnificent Grand Pavilion. These include THE ELVIES, the World’s leading award Show for Elvis Tribute Artists. The Hi Tide hosts over 100 shows over the weekend, many with free admission. Finally, over twenty venues in and around the Town form the Fringe Festival, making Porthcawl the largest Elvis event in Europe.
The following venues form the Official Fringe. They all put top ETAs (Elvis Tribute Acts) on throughout the Festival and most shows are free. Full details of shows are listed in the Official Programme which is available in advance of the Festival at the Tourist Information Centre in John Street, The Grand Pavilion and The Hi Tide. During the Festival Programmes will also be available at the Festival Desk, situated in the Grand Pavilion
- THE BAY
- THE BLUE WATER CLUB
- THE BRENTWOOD HOTEL
- THE CABIN
- THE GENERAL PICTON
- THE PORTHCAWL HOTEL
- THE ROCK INN
- THE SEAHORSE
- THE SHIP & CASTLE
- THE SWAN
We told you, this is absolutely massive.
The award are so much fun with categories ranging from…….
- Best Movie Elvis
- Best Gospel Elvis
- Best Gold Lame Elvis
- Best 68′ Special
- Best Vegas Elvis
- Best Young Elvis
- Best Newcomer
- Best GI Elvis
- Lifetime Achievement
Here’s a look at all the previous winners……
You need to know about these because, as we’re sure you can imagine, with all the costumes, wigs, belts and rhinestones we can guarantee you will never see anything like it. Cameras by the ready for this one we reckon.
Here’s a few of our pictures, and more……
The whole town comes out in support of the Elvis Weekend, and why wouldn’t they, it’s incredible for trade and the economy. More than that however, it brings a real buzz to the area and anyone who has been will tell you they count down the days to ‘next year.’ Shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, hotels and guest houses are all packed.
The Official Shows usually take place in the magnificent Grand Pavilion, one of the best preserved 1930s dancehall theatres in the country. To give you a flavour of what usually goes on, here’s a previous schedule.
The Best Festival Elvis Competitions – Heats 1 and 2 along with the Grand Final.
The New Kings – showcasing ETAs making their debut at the Grand Pavilion.
The Elvies – recognised as the world’s leading award show for ETAs
The Elvis Gospel Show – produced by award winning ETA Dean Mack
Classic Elvis – featuring the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John Quirk
Trilogy – Sun Studio, ’68 Special and Vegas
The Hi-Tide is official sponsor of The Porthcawl Elvis Festival and hosts fifty Elvis’ performing over 100 shows in four bars during the weekend. Shows in the Harbour Lights Bar and Bayroom are free admission. We know there is much disappointment at Hi-Tide at the cancellation, we are certain they’ll be raring to go again next year though.
Putting on an event of this magnitude needs the help and support of so many and the organisation are blessed to get just that.
As you saw in our video, world renowned Welsh artist and socialite, Sara Topham traditionally provides the Festival with its Image of Elvis. You can see her Elvis work for the festival, over the years right HERE.
Legendary Elvis Minstrels and House Band of the Porthcawl Elvis Festival. The greatest Rock ‘n Roll Band in Tredegar – Red Alert are well worth catching over the weekend, we only hope they find a way of performing should the event go ahead. Finally, what Elvis Festival would be complete without a bit (lot) of memorabilia? Elvis memories have the largest collection of licensed Elvis Presley Memorabilia for sale in the U.K.
Finding the festival is easy. They are based in Porthcawl, near to the Bristol Channel, about 18 miles from Lynton if you’re a good swimmer. Elvis HQ is usually the Grand Pavilion. To be honest, just walking around the town over the weekend is entertainment enough, you won’t find a better atmosphere.
You Really CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE with a festival like this. The Elvies is back until Sunday 25th September. The only thing to remind you is that accommodation and venue tickets do sell out incredibly fast, in fact, if you don’t book soon, we think you will be hard pushed to find anything.
This really is one full on, incredible weekend which you simply have to see at least once, so make your way to Porthcawl this weekend. To find out more and see exactly what’s happening, where and when just go here. ELVIES