The largest Elvis festival in the world is held in Wales – where hundreds dress up as the singer every year

Lord almighty, I feel my temperature rising.

Elvis are everywhere – on stages, in streets, on roller coasters – and I don’t know which way to turn.

The world's largest Elvis festival takes place every September in the Victorian seaside town of Porthcawl

3

The world’s largest Elvis festival takes place every September in the Victorian seaside town of PorthcawlCredit: Mike Venner
More than a hundred ETAs (Elvis Tribute Artists, as they prefer to be called) come to pay homage to the king

3

More than a hundred ETAs (Elvis Tribute Artists, as they prefer to be called) come to pay homage to the kingCredit: Mike Venner

According to the organizers, I’m at the biggest Elvis festival of its kind in the world, and it’s taking place in a small town in South Wales, with no connection to the singer (although the Preseli Hills and St Elvis’ Parish aren’t too far a way ).

Every September, the Victorian seaside town of Porthcawl shakes when 40,000 Elvis fans triple its population.

Over three days, more than a hundred ETAs (Elvis Tribute Artists, as they prefer to be called than Elvis impersonators) come to pay homage to the king.

But not only the acts, who can spend thousands on their costumes, are a spectacle.

Most Expensive Celebrity Cars Sold At Auction - Including Elvis' Mercedes
Strictly speaking, all fans are saying the same thing about the sexy pro's Elvis routine

Even regulars are disguised.

A sea of ​​quiffs dominate the boardwalk, and rhinestone-trimmed caped jumpsuits contrast with Priscilla wedding dresses, GI uniforms and Hawaiian shirts.

They come for the shows – hundreds and hundreds of them at every possible venue – and fill the streets, bars, cafes and hotels.

Although the official shows are held in the Grand Pavilion, one of the best preserved 1930s ballroom theaters in the country, “every pub in Porthcawl has something to do with it,” founder and organizer Peter Phillips tells me.

He says the festival is vital for local businesses as it brings in “probably more than £6million” a year for the former 1950s miners’ retreat.

The whole city seems to be in on it, from Coney Beach amusement park to fast food joints – so there’s a good chance there’s a guy who works at the chip shop who swears he’s Elvis.

At the Hi-Tide Pub alone, 68 ETAs put on a whopping 220 shows over the weekend.

Meanwhile, thousands flock to the Grand Pavilion to see the Vegas-style conversions, backed by the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra and the Maesteg Gleemen Male Voice Choir.

Anyway, Elvis left the building – he saved it.

In 2004, amid rumors of the pavilion’s closure, Peter came up with the idea for a show to revive his fortunes – the Grammys for Elvis tribute acts.

Then the Hi-Tide pub agreed to take part and they suggested making a weekend of it.

“Suddenly it was an Elvis festival,” says Peter.

Outside the pavilion there is the Hound Dog Fun Show.

In years past it has been the setting for Elvis weddings.

Those looking for a little less entertainment and a little more action between shows can visit Coney Beach for its traditional oceanfront amusement park, arcades, donkey rides, and fish and chips.

You can even recreate scenes from the Elvis film Blue Hawaii, as Porthcawl Rest Bay Beach is one of the best beaches in Wales for beginner surfers.

Or they wear their blue suede shoes along the Glamorgan Heritage seafront of the Wales Coast Path, a 14 mile stretch of dramatic cliffs and secluded coves all the way to Aberthaw.

“RIDICULOUS OPINION”

The area is also home to country parks, castles and wildlife sanctuaries.

A few miles from Porthcawl in the Merthyr Mawr Warren National Nature Reserve you can sled down the Big Dipper, Europe’s second highest sand dune.

Now in its 18th year, the festival is so popular that hotels within a 30-mile radius sell out up to a year in advance.

The secret of its success, Peter says, is that there’s something for everyone.

He adds: “We get the right balance between top notch Elvis shows and a party.

“We take the big shows very seriously, but we don’t take the rest seriously at all. Dogs dressed up as Elvis?

Towie is single again as she splits from her celebrity boyfriend after'endless rows'
I love a juicy pout... I've gone from 0ml to a whopping 13ml over the years

“The hint is also in the name. The Porthcawl Elvis Festival is so ridiculous – a ridiculous notion that a small run-down seaside town in south Wales thinks it could host the biggest Elvis festival in the world.”

Next year it’s going to be even bigger with a new Elvis Pride event.
Forty-five years after his death, fans still can’t seem to help but fall in love with Elvis.

At the Hi-Tide Pub alone, 68 ETAs put on a whopping 220 shows over the weekend

3

At the Hi-Tide Pub alone, 68 ETAs put on a whopping 220 shows over the weekendCredit: Mike Venner

GO: PORTHCAWL

STAY THERE: Rooms at the Best Western Heronston and Spa Hotel in Bridgend, seven miles from Porthcawl, start from £80 a night.

PLAY THERE: The next Porthcawl Elvis Festival will take place from 22nd to 24th September 2023.

Tickets are available now from elvies.co.uk.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/20319173/wales-worlds-largest-elvis-festival/ The largest Elvis festival in the world is held in Wales – where hundreds dress up as the singer every year

Skyred

Pechip.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@pechip.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button