On 8 December 2008 we ran the following news item:
Parkes Elvis Festival - losing the plot?: More stories of behind the scenes politics and a lack of strategic foresight are coming to light as the 2009 Parkes Elvis Festival in Australia draws closer.
In addition, fans have complained to EIN about what they see as a "tacky" television ad promoting the January event. They say it only reinforces the negative aspects of the Elvis legacy.
EIN will publish a detailed report about the Parkes Festival issues later this week, including fan feedback.
Before publishing our detailed report, in fairness to Elvis Revival Inc., organisers of the annual Parkes Elvis Festival, and leading Australian ETA, Mark Andrew, we first contacted both parties for their side of the story. A response from both follows our article, as does your initial feedback following our original news item.
News of our article has touched a raw nerve. Since 8 December a number of other parties have conted EIN and we have received more documentation about the running of the Festival. While we considered publishing some of this additional information, due to time limitations (and a Christmas break) we have decided to publish only our original article and responses to it.
We will leave it to individual readers to decide for themselves where the truth of the matter lies.
Please click here to see our previous Spotlight on the Parkes Elvis Festival
Backstage Politics at the Parkes Elvis Festival
For more than a decade, the Annual Elvis Festival in the cozy country town of Parkes, NSW, has grown from small beginnings to one of Australia's biggest annual festivals with up to 10,000 packing into the small town for fun, frivolity and Elvis!
The Parkes Elvis Festival was established in 1992 by a small group of Elvis fans and business people and the first of more than 15 "Elvis birthday" weekends slowly snowballed.
The popularity of the Parkes Festival is even more amazing since the town has absolutely no connection to Elvis Presley and the festival was only created to help increase visitors in the slackest, and hottest, time of the year.
Behind the scenes it appears there is a very different story to the fun and froth of the five day festival.
Massive outdoor event rocks the 2008 Parkes Elvis Festival: In 2008 the Festival featured its biggest ever attraction, a free outdoor concert starring El Gamble. Attracting a crowd estimated at 6,500, and thanks to an agreement with satellite channel, Elvii Radio, a global audience reported to be in the millions, the 3.5 hour concert was a major success, and by the sheer size of its crowd, it dwarfed all other events during the 2008 Festival.
Given the success of the outdoor concert and continued interest in Elvii Radio of broadcasting it around the world, one would have expected the Parkes Elvis Committee to jump at the opportunity to strengthen what elsewhere would be a marquee event. Sadly, this was not to be the case.
Cleaning rest rooms or unviable events?: While negotiations were advancing well between the respective parties to repeat the outdoor concert, behind the scenes other parties were reportedly moving to undermine the event. Officially, EIN is told the reason the free outdoor concert will not be part of the 2009 Festival schedule is that the organisers cannot afford the cost of cleaning the toilets after the show!
A number of parties have contacted EIN will a somewhat different explanation for cancellation of the show, a reason involving political machinations. It all has to do with a reported $40,000 payment to the Festival's headline act (more than double what the headline act received in 2008) and concerns that as the free show conflicts with one of the much smaller indoor shows by the Festival's headline act organisers are not confident of a sold out show for the indoor event.
In 2008 Festival organisers resorted to giving away between 150 and 200 FREE dinner and show tickets for the headline act performance on the night of the free outdoor concert. EIN has been told a number of free dinner and show tickets were also given away for the previous night's indoor show by the headline act.
A number of people have questionned the appropriateness of subsidising unprofitable events. The Parkes Leagues Club holds less than 500 and if fans do not want to support the dinner-shows that should be a red light signal to Festival organisers. In sporting terms, give the punters what they want, but be clever in how you do it!
While it is not unusual to subsidise a headline act, event organisers need to ensure this does not occur at the expense of other acts and events which may be strategically more important to driving a successful future for the Festival. As most of the ETAs appearing during the Parkes Elvis Festival have to cover their own expenses in getting to Parkes, and receive little, if any payment at all for appearing during the Festival, it begs the question of where the profits of the Festival are going.
Nasty personal attacks: Since EIN first became aware of issues around the staging of the Parkes Elvis Festival, we have also received a copy of an unnecessarily nasty and mean spirited letter, targeted principally at El Gamble, the performer who headlined last year's free outdoor concert.
EIN won't name the author of that letter, but suffice to say it is obvious within the letter that the person would appear to be closely involved with the headline ETA for the 2009 Parkes Elvis Festival.
The saddest part of the letter is very low personal attacks on El Gamble. For the record, El Gamble has been afflicted with a motor neurone disease and cannot walk unaided. However, this has, in no way, affected his remarkable "Elvis like" voice, nor his charm and charisma. That so many fans and tourists stayed behind after the 2008 outdoor concert to chat and get his autograph speaks for itself!
EIN provides one quote from the letter to highlight the unpleasant and low action of the author:
"Let's face it your best years are behind you. You are now (sorry for saying it!) a retarded cripple that people feel sorry for..."
On another prominent Australian ETA, the letter suggests that person is "...a bit simple and a looser".
It is EIN's view that the Elvis world would be a lot better off without the author of the letter!
Elvis and Priscilla look-a-likes at Parkes
The letter also includes a number of ridiculous claims, including that El Gamble has paid both Elvii Radio and EIN to promote him. EIN categorically states this is totally untrue (and we understand it also untrue for Elvii Radio). EIN has never received any monetary or non monetary payments to promote El Gamble, apart from on one occasion some CDs to use in a competition.
Another matter in the letter takes exception to El Gamble being called the King of Australian ETA's. EIN does not believe it has ever stated this. We have stated that El Gamble was the original ETA in Australia with his stream of sold out shows and awards in the late 1970s establishing quite a legendary status in Australian Elvis circles. That he should be required to hand over the title to another ETA is quite ludicrous. The reality is different fans have their favorite ETA. In any case there is more than enough room for an upper echelon of professional ETA's in Australia.
As EIN stated last year, the free outdoor concert offered a strategfically opportune vehicle to give the Parkes Elvis Festival greater focus and marketability. It also offered a great opportunity to promote the Parkes Festival and town of Parkes to a global audience through Elvii Radio's involvement.
EIN notes that other major Elvis festivals in the US, Europe Canada and Britain are known internationally and international promotion is part of their marketing strategy; a strategy which has seen them steadily grow their number of visitors from overseas.
A good example is the Collingwood Elvis Festival in Canada which uses the Elvis fan club network, the EPE sponsored ETA competitions and regular email newsletters to spread interest in its activities.
But not so the Parkes Elvis Festival. The organisers seem steeped in a parochial marketing model heavily reliant on NSW Tourism promotion. They have failed to realise and grasp the wonderful opportunity that came their way in 2008 and was again on offer in 2009. It appears they are happy for Parkes to remain essentially an Australian Festival with minimal international recognition. It is time the organisers thought outside the square and the nation. Letting back stage politics get in the way of a more successful Festival has the potential to undermine years of positive work.
There are other issues around the Parkes Elvis Festival of concern.
The Parkes Elvis Festival Charter - a mystery?: Despite some investigative digging, EIN has been unable to obtain a copy of the Parkes Elvis Festival charter. Insiders tell EIN it requires the Festival to have a different headline act each year. The experience of recent years indicates that if this is true, it is not happening. And this is in no way directed at the headline ETA who is certainly one of Australia's most popular and professional ETA's.
The Parkes Elvis Festival Committee has missed a wonderful opportunity; an opportunity which, with a bit more thought, could have been taken up without any scheduling conflicts.
EIN, December 2008
Comment on this article
The Elvis Revival, Inc. responds to EIN's article
Dear Elvis fans,
Thank you to EIN for giving the multi award winning Parkes Elvis Festival organising body the opportunity to respond to this article.
Firstly, we'd like to correct the historical information quoted in this article. The Parkes Elvis Festival was actually established in 1993, not 1992. The 2009 Festival will be the 17th Parkes Elvis Festival. The Festival took a new focus, and was re-born in 2004/05, and has continued on the up since then.
In 2008, Elvis Revival Inc trialled an outdoor concert which starred El Gamble. Whilst the concert was a success and enjoyed by many, the article mentions that this concert attracted a crowd of 6,500 which is impossible. The venue, Cooke Park cannot hold that many people, and with official visitor numbers to the whole Festival being 8,000 (with many of these visitors attending events within other venues on that evening, and also many event-goers day tripping from around the region - and returning home prior to the concert), I can assure readers that there were not 6,500 people in the park on the Saturday night. Whilst it was a popular event, there were more people in the local clubs, pubs and restaurants. The Parkes Elvis Festival organising body estimates a crowd of around 700-800 people were present at this event.
Ellie Ruffoni, Festival Coordinator & ETA, Greg Jones
The Parkes Elvis Festival organising body, Elvis Revival Inc. decided not to proceed with an outdoor concert in 2009 for several reasons. The Tourism NSW Regional Flagship event funding expired in January 2008 (with the maximum 3 year assistance period ceasing) which meant costs that had previously been covered by this grant needed to be sourced from elsewhere within the Festival budget. The Festival runs on a tight budget, with many outdoor activities being provided for free, but attracting infrastructure and staging costs - and with Council costs for the Festival escalating between 2007 - 2008 the Committee is now absorbing additional costs - many of which stemmed from holding a free outdoor concert (staff wages, clean up crews, waste removal etc.) The Committee enjoys providing free entertainment for visitors but it was felt that with some increased expense areas and grant funding gaps for 2009, they would not proceed with an outdoor concert in 2009. Toilet cleaning costs were the last of our worries!
Mark Andrew, the Feature Concert artist, was hired in 2008 and will be starring in 2009. The fee which the Committee pays Mark is no where near the $40,000 mark. Festival visitors love his shows which is why due to popular demand, he has been invited back in 2009. The Feature Concerts are a genuine fundraiser for Elvis Revival Inc, with some of the costs being offset by sponsorship from Keno and ClubsNSW. The Feature Concerts helps Elvis Revival Inc. provide the free entertainment in Cooke Park and other ongoing costs incurred to run the festival. The Committee will of course consider hiring an alternative performer in the future (based on performer profile and visitor demand), however the Committee is not obligated to.
In response to the comment that ETA's do not receive expenses whilst in Parkes - Mark Andrew receives accommodation in Parkes as part of the negotiated performance contract between himself and Elvis Revival Inc. However, it is up to the discretion of the many independent venues that engage their own performers whether they provide accommodation and expenses or not - as part of their own private contracts between the venues and the artist. Other Feature Concert Artists at past Festivals have included Dean Vegas and David Cazalet. Max Pelicano (Elvis to the Max) was invited a couple of years ago, but was not able to accommodate the Festival dates. The Committee encourages all professional performers to forward promotional material, performance DVD's and pricing schedules to assist in the selection of the Feature concert artist.
The Festival Committee did not give away 150-200 free dinner and show tickets in 2008. Only sponsors receive complimentary tickets to any of the Elvis Revival Inc. shows - resulting in only a few dozen complimentary tickets - all part of any standard sponsorship arrangement at any major event. The Saturday night Feature Concert always sells out before the Festival, closely followed by the Friday night show and then matinee performances. The Parkes Leagues Club holds 600 people - not less than 500 as stated in the article - which means we can sell 2400 tickets over the 4 shows - a good sized venue for a country town! The Saturday night Feature Concert is already fully booked for 2009, with an alternative concert being held at the Parkes Services Club. Obviously indoor concerts add varied staging elements, with light and sound being better controlled and offering a different, more intimate experience to an outdoor venue.
Whilst Elvis Revival Inc. cannot comment on behalf of Mark Andrew, we find it very hard to believe that Mark or his management would make such comments about El Gamble - or any other performer in the letter referred to. Mark Andrew has been a great ambassador for the Parkes Elvis Festival, and goes out of his way to give back to the event, by participating in additional activities including the street parade, wall plaque unveiling, Elvis Gospel Church Service and media requests - at all times being respectful to the event and to all people involved.
Parkes ETA Street Parade
The Parkes Elvis Festival is recognised nationally and internationally as one of the world's premier Elvis events. 2008 media coverage included features in many international newspapers and requests for 2009 information has already come from across the world, including the UK and Vietnam. The Festival television advert was generously donated by Prime Television as the prize for the Festival being awarded the Regional Achievement and Community Award in the Events and Tourism category. The Committee does not agree that it depicts 'unfortunate stereotypes of the Elvis legend'. At the Parkes Elvis Festival we work hard to cater for all Elvis and music fans, not just staunch/ specialist Elvis fans, and what you see in the television advert is real people having real fun at the Festival - what better way to advertise it, and to attract interest in the Elvis phenomenon - which is what we're all here to achieve! All of which are celebrating the life and work of Elvis in a positive and enthusiastic way.
Whilst the Festival offers light-hearted activities for the less serious fan, there are also a range of activities aimed at preserving Elvis' legend in celluloid, including the screening of films, displays of Elvis' personal memorabilia and the history attached to it (Greg Page Elvis collection), and in particular the very moving Elvis Gospel Church Service. We are all trying to achieve the same thing, an understanding and appreciation of Elvis, and everyone's thoughts and ideas on how best to do this will obviously differ, but so long as we achieve the same end result - we've all won.
The majority of the claims and information provided in this article are false - even the historical facts. The Festival is organised by a Committee of dedicated volunteers who work really hard year round to pull off each Festival, and provides a big learning curve for everyone involved each year as it grows and develops. It is their undying devotion to the Festival and Elvis which makes it what it is today. It is also the goodwill built between the Committee, Parkes Shire Council, local businesses and the community that has really made this Festival work for our town - a fantastic achievement for a regional centre the size of Parkes, which is envied by many other country towns - and has come at a time of drought and overall regional downturn.
Parkes has become a success story, and spreads its news and successes with other towns and festivals in the hope of building up their events too. Parkes the town is the big winner from the Festival, with the event generating significant growth in the local and overall regional economy, with flow on benefits from our event stretching right around the region - and who could blame anyone for having the interests of their town at heart - in all their planning and development decisions? Any resident anywhere would be wrong not to want their town to prosper and succeed.
The Committee has exciting new additions to the Festival program for 2009, and has further ideas to trial in 2010. Running an outdoor concert is still a possibility for the future but we have some other ideas we would like to try too. The 2009 Festival is set to be another great Festival, and we look forward to seeing you there.Thanks for everyone's interest in our event - it is nice to think that so many people have such an attraction to it, to the extent that they are keen to know more about the inner workings.
The Committee always welcomes feedback after each event, with correspondence to be directed to Elvis Revival Inc. PO Box 611, Parkes NSW 2870.
Elvis Revival Inc., December 2008
Comment on this article
Leading Australian ETA, Mark Andrew (shown opposite), responds to claims
As far as the politics and allegations, I did not say such a thing and my involvement with the festival is purely to perform the main shows, and promote them while I am up there, the only input I said 2 years ago to up the anti with their competitions as they started to attract more and more Die Hard fans, so the standard had to be raised.
I have not said anything to anybody about cancelling any outdoor free event, I'm not even sure which one it is, the only thing I suggested in 2007 for 2008 was maybe we can do the Sunday show as an outdoor event. Mark Andrew, December 2008
Your Feedback on the Parkes Elvis Festival
Helen: Read your Parkes bit with some interest. I don’t really have a comment though as unfortunately I missed the 2008 event and know none of the organisers so don’t have any firsthand knowledge. I did think your figures on the attendance and world-wide audience reeked a bit of the Aloha viewing audience & 1,000,000,000 sales figures though J. It’s interesting that only three of your respondents was actually at Parkes and estimated the crowd at 50 or 500! How differently we all see the same events. As usual repliers seem to have got away from thoughts on your article and into whether Parkes is a good thing or not.
I’m not a fan of impersonators myself but have been to Parkes a number of times and always have a fantastic time. I enjoy Mark Andrews but don’t think he sounds anything like Elvis. The guy two seats down from me this year thought he sounded pretty spot on. How differently we all hear the same events. Personally I wouldn’t be seen dead at the ETA Comp during Elvis week but, for me, Parkes is just a fun weekend with the emphasis on fun. I don’t take it seriously and I presume no one else does.
Glen Vass: I have been to the Parkes Elvis Festival three times now. The first time being in 2007… My memory of that was the average heat of 45 degrees!! I didn’t have any Elvis jumpsuits or Elvis wigs at that point in time except for showing up as Roy Orbison, so unfortunately could not be part of the World Record Number of Elvii!! I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people, not only from other areas across the country, but the locals from Parkes. I attended dinner karaoke at the Parkes Golf Club, the Parkes Hotel and saw Dean Vegas at the Leagues Club.
One of my newer work colleagues was staying at a pub at the North end of Parkes and the fact he was not going to the festival in 2008 and that I could take his place for accommodation purposes. This was a great thing to do, as I then offered my own karaoke hosting services to licensee of same hotel. I put on entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights which generated a sizeable bar trading and a large attendance for their restaurant. I was still able to go to the Parkes Golf Club on the Friday evening and also on Sunday to see Silas Lulic and the feature ETA concert Mark Andrew. It was too hot to spend too much time in Cook Park. Naturally with the pub karaoke being a success, I was invited back for 2009.
In January 2009, I once again had the pleasure of providing entertainment at the pub. Even had time to see the Greg Page Elvis Collection, which was simply aw inspiring. THIS IS ELVIS!!! I packed the pub on Thursday from 2pm right through to 2am. I even had one ETA from Melbourne come in and sing for over an hour. The pub was ‘standing room only’ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. We didn’t even advertise in the official programme or the local paper. We obviously don’t need to, going on the results of the weekend. I also saw the Sunday afternoon Mark Andrew Legends Show, which was simply fantastic.
In 2007, I watched the parade…..In 2008 and 2009, I entered the parade… Elvis loved his cars, and I am sure he would have been simply gob smacked at the collection of classic cars on parade.
In 2007, I had a tailor made gold jacket made which cost $500. In 2008, I had BK Enterprises tailor a Nail Jumpsuit which set me back around $2000AUD. I could not lower myself to a cheap Chinese “tacky” variety ebay type jumpsuit. I had to have the real thing. As for Elvis Wigs, I purchased a decent looking one from a reputable wig store in Sydney.
I have already been booked back in at the pub for 2010 and I am sure we will generate plenty of interest again by the visiting crowds. I aim to keep the memory of Elvis alive through his music, not his mannerisms, although I must admit, I am a fan of peanut butter and banana sandwiches (not deep fried!!), thus is why my jumpsuit is on the large size!!
I believe that the organizers of the event have done a magnificent job and I congratulate them. I also pay tribute to the people of Parkes for being so friendly and welcoming. I look forward to January 2010 to celebrate Elvis’ 75th Birthday.
Sam: This years festival got a lot of media attention
and thats where the problem was. It was a sad to see the media and visitors to Parkes trivialise Elvis the way they did.
Jeff T: I went to Parkers this year for the first time. I had a lot of fun ands met a lot of new friends but I can understand why some fans don't like it. It's not about Elvis or his musical legacy, it's about dressing up as him and having fun.
Annette Bilings: The TV footage of the goons in Parkes still makes me shudder. Is this what the Elvis legacy has been reduced to?
Anyone who really cares about Elvis and his music would
avoid Parkes like the plague.
Mark Andrew: I read the article. In response:
I had no Idea that El Gamble recieved those letters and I am deeply dissapointed someone would go that far especially if my name was mentioned.
It is such a busy weekend for me organising my shows and promoting the event with the media but alot of the other media stuff is out of my control.
People dress up to have FUN and not to be detremental to Elvis, but UNFORTUNATELY the media focus on the negative and advertise the negative as they always have. It would have to be up to the comittee to organise better advertisements, which I will suggest. I only supply artwork for my own shows.
As far as the Die hard fans being dissappointed, they have not noticed my shows at the Parkes Leagues Club:
FRIDAY SHOW : Elvis in the 50s, 3 part show featuring, Dorsey Brothers, Milton Berle, and Gold Lame looks, Then Part 2 is purely Elvis In the movies featuring 6 costume changes including Jailhouse Rock, Gi Blues, Blue Hawii and featuring songs like Girls girls Girls with my show girls in Bikinis.
Sat Show is: 1968 come back including Unplugged, and Elvis in Concert.
My Band consists of 8 piece including Brass section.
Thanks to those who have supported the shows.
Jane: We had a story about the Parkes Festival in our weekend newspaper the Newcastle Herald. Looking at the jumpsuited buffoons and fans with obviously more than an obsssion all I can say is Elvis must be turning in his grave. The whole thing makes a mockery of what a wonderful person Elvis was. Its high time we got back to Elvis and his music and ignore this other world of tacky, psychologically challenged people who can't find their own lives to live.
Jeff: C'mon EIN, most of your points have been destroyed. How about saying you got it wrong?
Bill & Moira Edwards: Kelly Atkinson says there is no backstage politics at the Parkes Festival. Yeah, and the pope's not catholic either. Give us a break.
Susan: I've attended the Parkes Elvis Festival for the last two years and am going again in 2009.
I went to El Gamble's outdoor performance for a while, and then wandered off to a club. While I was there, there were very few people in attendance. 6,500? No way. 50 maybe, but it was early on in the evening. I loved his voice and his choice of songs. Nobody should be put down for having a disability.
This carping on the EIN web site is rather sad and says a lot about Elvis fans. Some like these festivals and some don't. If you don't like them because you think people dressed in jumpsuits mock, rather than flatter, Elvis by wanting to be like him, don't go, but don't knock others for going.
Yes, I think the Festival organisers could do better with ads and postcards that look like caricatures of Elvis. But while there I didn't feel there was any real disrespect for Elvis himself. People were just having fun. They came because they love him. These festivals keep his name alive.
It's a bit like the Roman Catholic Church, isn't it? At the populist level you have tacky souvenirs and memorabilia, while at the more serious level you have beautiful art/music and a deeper appreciation of what it's all about.
Bob: As Derryn Hinch used to say Shame! Shame! Shame!
Vicki: While I don't agree with everything you've written you are being balanced in your coverage of the Festival. So for that I say thank you.
Hugh K: Direct the issues to Elvis Revival Inc? What a crock of b.s. Like all organisations they would like that. Deal with it in house and bury it so no one knows about it. Good on you EIN for publishing your story.
Trevor Weekes: What's all the fuss about? There having a good time so leave them alone.
Victor C: It is reassuring to learn from Ms Atkinson that The Parkes Elvis Festival is free of politics! It is indeed fortunate to be the only organised activity that does not have to worry about agendas!
Andrew Johnson: The Parkes Elvis thing is a joke. How the organisers can say it promotes Elvis in a positive light is beyond me. You only have to take one look at all the elvises in Parkes witrh their cheap jumpsuits and ridiculopus looking black wigs to see what is being promoted.
Thomas: All events, like all groups, have back stage politics so why should anyone be surprised its happening in Parkes?
Steve Head: regarding concert in park, there was only approx 500 people for el gamble's concert, i dont know the guy but he failed to appear at the gospel service on sunday morning and left father tom stuart standing red faced as he did not appear to do his preorganised spot, not very professional.
Kelly Atkinson (Tourism Manager- Parkes Shire Council): It brings me great disappointment to see what is happening on the EIN website, and the level that has been stooped to.
For someone whose charter is: "to give fans easy access to the widest range of 'balanced' information, reviews, interviews, critical analysis and commentary in the Elvis world."
Your article on the Parkes Elvis Festival is very biased and unbalanced!!
Parkes is a small country town, doing the best it can to coordinate a fun Festival - which has many avid fans of its own, and has experienced significant growth in recent years.
There is not the backstage politics that you refer to - and the Festival is not experiencing challenging times. The biggest challenge the Festival has is accommodating all of the additional people that want to come and experience this fun event!!! To the extent that we've established Tent City, Sleeper Trains and a Home Hosting (billeting) program.
I myself have been very involved in the growth of the festival, and I find it very insulting for the event to be targeted by your network.
If people have genuine concerns about events at the Festival - why not direct correspondence to the Committee so that it can be dealt with, rather than blurt unconstructive comments all over your site.
The Festival may not be everyone's cup of tea - but everyone is entitled to their opinion,,,, and people don't have to attend if they don't want.
There is no need for slander!!
Elena Ruffoni (on behalf of Elvis Revival Inc): Parkes referral to Gracelands (with an s) is to the Gracelands function centre in Parkes which is named so because Graceland (without an s) is a registered trademark and therefore cannot be used.
Steve: the photo on here with eta greg jones, he is just a local dressed in a suit, they even have the local football team dressed in suits wandering the town.the real guys who enter the contests are given a water container in a tent next to stage and plastic cups they got no idea on alot of stuff and have never even asked any eta's for advice etc. they need to wake up and smell the rose's.
Brian Jennings: I visited Parkes for the festival about 10 years ago. It was a fun place. I went back last years and it had all changed. Overcrowded and too much alcohol being consumed. I was at the free concert. It was a big crowd but it wasn't 6,500.
Jenny and Sandra: We've been to the Collingwood Elvis Festival in Canada and Parkes. They're both great although the people running Collingwood do it better.
Sue (Bateman's Bay): I find the whole Parkes Festival to be distasteful to Elvis' name. I saw the word tacky and that's a good desription. There were too many drunken Elvis look a likes and B grade impersonators. These festivals should be a positive reflection on Elvis not just parade a bunch of buffoons and people just out for a good time, not to commemorate Elvis' music. Parkes has found a great hook to generate income but what is it doing to Elvis's name?
John: Hey let's loosen up. I've been tp Parkes fiove times and I'm going again next month. Its a hell of a lot of fun and you make new friends.
C: I am eagerly awaiting the EIN report on the Parkes debacle. I will not, however, have anything to say, I have said my piece on this kind of thing, and I think I have made my point on the whole thing. Don't want to ruffle any more feathers...... There seem to be a lot of people who like this kind of thing, and more power to them...if that's what they like. There is one thing that irks me to the point where I want to scream, time and time again when I have read something about the 'Parkes situation'....is that they refer to Graceland as 'Gracelands'.......just a small thing, and I suppose because am so against what they do there, at least they could get the name correct.
If you go, I would like you to do a 'man on the street' type of interview.....just ask what is their favourite FTD......
Wonder how many blank looks you will get.....
Susan Theodore: I went to Parkes once and only once. In three words tacky.tacky.tacky. Elvis needs to be remembered much better than this.
John from Parramatta: The television commercial is pathetic. What a big joke the Parkes Festival is. Elvis was the greatest singer the world has ever known and Parkes lets him down badly. They need to be told to talk about his music and his charisma not his hackneyed (thanks to the media) mannerisms.
Pat: Why is EIN picking on Parkes??? I've been going there regularly for the last 5 years and it is just bloody fantastic!
Jim: Parkes..........................................UGH never again
Bill Franklin: There are to many Elvis impersonators at Parkes and theyre not that good. Its not good for Elviss memory. Thats my opinion.
Frank: I lived in Parkes up until 18 months ago. I knew some of the people on the Elvis committee. There has been problems with running the festival for a lot of years.
Tony K: The Parkes Elvis Festival is a good effort of remembering the King. It could be better but I enjoy it.
Amy: What a joke that ad is. Get them to take it off. I'm never going to go the festival, it's disrespectful to Elvis in so many ways. Give us his music not his idiosyncracies. How Parkes can expect to be taken seriously as an Elvis event confounds me.
Cynthia Beaman: There are very few real Elvis fans at the Parkes get together. Most of those there wouldn't know It's Now Or Never from In The Ghetto. Yet the organising committee rattles on as if its Australia's Elvis mecca. Well I have news for them it's far from that and the way its run now it never will get close!
Warren Holt: Just saw the tv ad for the Parkes weekend. It's absolutely terrible. They are not respecting Elvis' talent just the mass media fascination with minor things.
Celia: The Elvis ad for Parkes is disgraceful. It promotes the ignoramous views on Elvis.
Ted Pullman: I saw the television commercial for next years Parkes Elvis festival. It is disgraceful. I thought we'd got beyond the narrow take on Elvis.
Bethany: I don't understand the fuss about Parkes. I saw the TV news last year and it was all pretty tacky. Why can't Parkes promote Elvis as he should be, and acknowledge his beautiful vocal skills and music. He was such a gifted performer who could communicate to each of us on a personal level. Ridiculous looking Elvis artists in hideous wigs and no talent should be banned 4ever!
James Parker: I visited Parkes for the festival last year. Everyone there (and there were a lot) seemed to be having a great time. I can't say it overwhelmed me. There were too many bland Elvis and Priscilla look a likes and not enough real Elvis!
Sharon: I went to Parkes expecting to have a good time but instead I left thinking what a wank the whole thing was. If this is how we are to celebrate Elvis give me his greatest hits record every time. Junk food and crappy costumes are not what Elvis was about and they never will be. I got the feeling most of the people there were not real fans, but tourists out for a good time.
Brett: Graceland has accepted tacky impersonators so why not Parkes Australia? I reckon its better than having a bunch of Michael Jackson clones walking the streets.
Tania D: Elvis is the King and always will be. I can't believe fans actually go to a festival that is based on the negative things about him.
Pam: What a shocking ad! It's little wonder so many people think of Elvis as a junk food addict and not as a serious musician.