Elvis Festival returns to Penticton, draws record number of fans

Elvis Presley fans from far and wide have been shaking up South Okanagan this weekend at the Penticton Elvis Festival. Sydney Morton visited day two of the festivities.

Canada’s largest and longest-running Elvis Festival returned to Penticton, B.C., this weekend after a two-year hiatus.

Hundreds of Elvis Presley fans flocked to Penticton’s Okanagan Lake Park on Saturday to watch Elvis Tribute Artists perform, including artist Casper Slee.

“Because I’m from the Netherlands, Europe Elvis is a saint, a holy man. Because he’s got it all, in Europe it’s more the voice that I like, of course, not the show,” said Professional Elvis Tribute Artist Casper Slee.

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“But the voice he has is such an incredible voice. He had different voices on each song … he had the talent that he could sound differently, but it’s also his personality.”

Over 35 tribute artists went head-to-head on Saturday, dressed as the king from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

“We follow GraceLand’s rules, so you get marked on voice, appearance, stage presence,” said Penticton Elvis Festival President Dave Martin.

“If you come out and try to be Elvis as close as he can, nobody’s ever match him completely but some of them are really, really close.”

Seven professionals and seven amateurs advanced forward to the finals, which will take place Sunday afternoon at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The 2022 finalists, in no particular order:

Professionals:

  • Casper Slee
  • Simon Patrick
  • Mario Kombou
  • Matt Cage
  • Darren Lee
  • Anthony Joseph
  • Sylvain Leduc

Amateurs:

  • Jonathan Hicks
  • Jaedyn Pilon
  • Rob Schwertley
  • Brent Freeman
  • Alessandro Votta
  • DJ Dodge
  • Christopher Blaine

“It’s all in practice, practice, practice, practice,” said Amateur finalist Christopher Blaine. “Nobody can ever be Elvis but we try our best to pay homage to him.”

The Elvis Tribute Artist that wins the professional division competition on Sunday goes on to the Memphis Ultimate Elvis Finals for the chance to compete for the top spot in the world.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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