Festival for legend always on their mind

Europe's Tribute To Elvis comes to the Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Europe's Tribute To Elvis comes to the Winter Gardens, Blackpool
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Fans of ‘The King’ will be all shook up when they come to Blackpool this summer – for an official festival celebrating the rock and roll legend.

Europe’s Tribute To Elvis takes place at the Winter Gardens from Friday to Sunday, July 3 to 5.

The weekend, billed as ‘Europe’s largest official Elvis Presley Enterprises-licensed festival under one roof’, will see a host of performances in what would have been Elvis’s 80th birthday year.

Marking that special anniversary will be Friday’s Long Live The King show, followed on Saturday by the Ultimate Elvis Trilogy on American Independence Day and a double bill for Sunday from Spirit Of The King – showcasing his gospel music, and Elvis the Movie Years – taking a musical journey through his Hollywood career.

A spokesman said: “If you only attend one event all year, this should be the one. This will be an event unlike any experienced before.”

Queen of rock Suzi Quatro will be on the celebrity judging panel, with his friend and 
bodyguard Sam Thompson, tour producer and friend Charles Stone and co-star in Follow That Dream Anne Helm, as tribute artists compete in the only official preliminary heat of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest taking place in Europe.

Twenty-five tribute artists from all over the world hope to be crowned Europe’s Tribute to Elvis Champion 2015 and pick up the biggest cash prize in Europe. The winner will also qualify to enter the contest finals during Elvis Week at Memphis in August.

Starring in the trilogy show will be three of the world’s top Elvis artists: Cody Ray Slaughter, star of Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway and the 2011 World Champion; Ben Portsmouth, the only man from outside the USA to be named World Champion, having won in 2012; and 2013 winner Dean Z, who has portrayed Elvis in film and theatre.

Making appearances throughout the weekend are the legendary Blackwood Quartet and Elvis’ original backing singers, The Sweet Inspirations, while the TCE Band back all the headline shows. Tickets are on sale now, from www.elvisfestival.co.uk, costing £135 for all three days for adults, £65 for children, in advance. Day tickets cost £55, or £65 on the door.