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Welsh town to stage Europe’s largest Elvis Presley festival

Porthcawl, the Welsh town, is set to welcome 40,000 people from September 22nd-24th as it stages the largest Elvis Presley tribute festival in Europe.

The Bridgend event was founded by Peter Phillips in 2004 and has continued to grow each year. While the main stage at the festival is the Porthcawl Grand Pavilion, there are also various splinter events happening across the town all over the weekend within local pubs, clubs and anywhere else that can physically fit a stage.

Speaking to Sky News, Phillips admitted that hosting a festival of this nature in a small town in South Wales shouldn’t work, but somehow they’ve made it a success. “It’s not the ideal location, it’s a ridiculous location to put an Elvis festival if you look at it logically,” he said.

“I think it’s getting the quality of the music right at one end and then not taking it too seriously at the other end and just making a party of it,” Phillips added.

Due to the size of Porthcawl’s location, Phillips didn’t believe it would be possible for the festival to grow into what it is today. He explained to the news broadcaster: “The festival, I thought, after about year five had got as big as it could get because all the accommodation had booked up, including Trecco the massive caravan site there. But it kept growing from there on and it grew with coach trips from the Welsh valleys. It sort of turned the clock back in Porthcawl 50, 60 years. The Valleys descend on Porthcawl for the Elvis festival in their coach loads.”

Initially, the festival was born out of an idea to create an awards show for Elvis impersonators. Although this remains part of the event, it’s now expanded into a three-day jamboree which sees people descend upon the coastal town in South Wales.

Phillips believes that Presley is “the most influential musician of the 20th century“, and an event of this nature wouldn’t work for any other artist. He remarked: “If I had a pound for every time somebody’s asked me why don’t we do a Beatles festival, or a Queen festival, or a Michael Jackson festival? You say, well, it won’t work.”

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