Arts & Leisure

Elvis is back on Main St. Sunday

ELVIS will be back on Main Street in Garden Grove as the “Elvis Festival” returns after a year’s hiatus due to the coronavirus. Above, John Justin of Glendora at the 2019 event (Orange County Tribune photo).

To some “ he has left the building” but Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll has never left the hearts and minds of his fans as well as for those born after his death, which was August 16, 1977.

Performers ranging in ages 18 to 86, male and female, will shake, rattle and roll a vast repertoire of Elvis Presley songs during the 21st Annual Elvis Festival, which will be held this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Historic Main Street in Garden Grove.  Typically held in August around the anniversary of Presley’s death, the festival was postponed due to COVID-19 issues and is using the theme “ Change of Habit,” an Elvis movie title, to let attendees know there will be some new ways of presenting the annual tribute. Not just the date.

The festival kicks off its Sunday schedule with Elvis gospel hits performed by Martin Anthony, the Festival’s co-host, who will be entertaining throughout the day in Elvis duets with singers depicting Frank Sinatra, Ann Margret, Cher and Barbara Streisand.

THE REAL ELVIS in a publicity still from “Jailhouse Rock.”

Kirk Wall of Anaheim, who has served as the Festival’s Ambassador since its inception, will perform songs from the movie Blue Hawaii along with the Halau Hula Lani Ola dancers and then at 3 p.m. will bring bluegrass versions of Elvis hits with his band Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies, which plays regularly at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Many don’t realize that Presley never wrote the songs he sang, so the festival will tip a hat to legendary songwriting duo Mike Stoller and the late Jerry Leiber who wrote many of the songs Elvis transformed into hits such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “Treat Me Nice,” to name a few. Stoller will be a special guest as several Elvis Tribute Artists and other vocalists  perform a tribute to the Hall of Fame Songwriters at 1 p.m.

Elvis and the Beatles will “Come Together” at 4:45 p.min a set that highlights the fact they sang each other’s songs during their music careers and both were part of rock and roll history, no matter what they sang.  Songs like “Hey Jude,” “Something” and “Yesterday” were recorded by Elvis, and the Beatles sang the King’s hits such as “That’s All-Right Mama,” “I Got a Woman” and “I Forgot to Remember to Forget.”

In keeping with that spirit, the festival’s finale band will combine the diverse vocal talents of award-winning Elvis Tribute Artist, James King with Beatles Tribute Band, The Walrus:  The King and the Walrus will perform a variety of Presley and Beatles songs along with other rock and roll hits from the 1950’s and 60’s.

In addition to stage entertainment the festival will include the King of Cadillacs Car Show for passenger cars from 1977 and earlier, Elvis fan clubs: Jailhouse Rockers of California and Blue Suede Shoes of California, vendors with memorabilia and collectibles, stilt Elvis and Priscilla, Abbit the Average Elvis, food trucks with special Elvis menu items and Main Street restaurants and merchants.

Festival admission and parking is free.   Parking is available at the adjacent Concorde and Coastline college lots.

There is a section of paid reserved seats for those wanting to stay for the day and can be purchased through Eventbrite or by sending an email to  Proof of vaccination  or negative Covid test within 72 hours of the festival will be required to purchase reserved seating.    No other requirements for this outdoor festival, which includes a free seating area as well.

More information including a full schedule may be obtained at the 21st Annual Elvis Festival-Garden Grove Facebook page, by emailing or calling (714) 267-4657.

Dignity Memorial is returning as the presenting sponsor reminding us that Every Detail Remembered is an important part of honoring our loved ones including the King of Rock and Roll.  Participating Dignity Memorial locations include  Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary, Santa Ana; Fairhaven Memorial Services, Mission Viejo and Dimond Shannon Mortuary, Garden Grove, and are part of the network, which also owns the Memphis Funeral Home that handled Elvis Presley’s arrangements.

In addition, the festival is supported by the Garden Grove Downtown Business Association and the Garden Grove Community Foundation.


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