Elvis Presley impersonators and fans have kicked off their annual pilgrimage, decked out in their own ‘King’-themed costumes on their way to one of the biggest Elvis festivals in the world.
The 7-hour journey is a celebration aboard the NSW TrainLink Elvis Express as fans prepare to take part in a 5-day festival dedicated to the ‘King of Rock and Roll’.
Around 250 passengers, many of them dressed in outfits including sequined suits and iconic aviator sunglasses, are travelling from Sydney’s Central Station to the 2024 Parkes Elvis Festival in the state’s Central West.
NSW Minister for the Arts, Minister for Jobs and Tourism and Minister for Music and Night-time Economy, John Graham, farewelled the NSW TrainLink Elvis Express at the starting point of its 365km journey.
“In the tradition of Elvis’ Mystery Train this is a specially branded 5-carriage train service that will be rockin’ and rollin’ Elvis fans all the way to Parkes,” said Mr Graham.
“I hope the train full of fans from all walks of life will enjoy the music and the beautiful view as they travel from our harbour city to the big dish.”
The festival, which runs until Sunday 14 January, is expected to attract more than 25,000 fans. This year’s theme is ‘Jailhouse Rock’.
It’s estimated that the multi-award-winning event brings around $15 million to the Central West region each year, with all accommodation fully booked in Parkes and flow-on bookings in surrounding towns.
“We are honoured to be hosting the 31st Parkes Elvis Festival in 2024 and the passion for our event grows every year,” said Mayor of Parkes Shire Council, Neil Westcott.
“We’re grateful for our ongoing relationship with Transport for NSW and their support in enabling the unique travel experience from Sydney to our festival.
“As soon as you board this train you’ll quickly realise the next few days are going to be an experience you’ll treasure for a lifetime!”