It’s Now or Never: Porthcawl Elvis Festival ‘confident’ of going ahead despite Covid
Hannah Neary, local democracy reporter
An organiser of the popular Porthcawl Elvis Festival said he is “pretty confident” the event will take place this year.
Branded as one of the best things to do in the world by Time Out, the iconic gathering of fans from around the world is set to return to the town between 24 and 26 September.
Peter Phillips, who created the event in 2004, said: “I’m pretty confident the Elvis Festival, in a pretty healthy shape or form, will go ahead. It’s always been very important to the local economy of Porthcawl and I think even more so this year.”
He said the festival is “critical” to local businesses and is estimated to bring in around £3.5 to £5 million annually with around 40,000 visitors.
Local businesses including music venues, hotels and caravan parks are planning to welcome back fans of the rock and roll icon after the event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
The main events of the festival usually take place at The Grand Pavilion and The Hi-Tide with other business-owners hosting their own events in tribute to The King.
Mr Phillips is producing a series of shows that will take place at The Grand Pavilion.
“If the festival was taking place this weekend it would take place on a very lowkey level with each venue complying with whatever covid restrictions apply to them,” he said.
He said the lack of a “clear roadmap” out of Covid restrictions from Welsh Government means planning for an event months in advance can be “a nightmare for hospitality businesses”.
“Even if the festival was in England where there is a clear roadmap, you still can’t count on anything being certain because it could all change,” he said. “The only certainty we have is nothing stays the same for very long.
“Nobody knows what the state of play of public health will be at the end of September.”
With coronavirus restrictions still in place, Mr Phillips said it is difficult for organisers to say exactly what the festival will look like but “if society is back to normal then the Elvis Festival will be back to normal”.
He added: “Some events are easily controlled within Covid restrictions because they’re ticketed events in very controlled venues. The festival is made up of licensed premises, all of which I’m sure will comply with whatever covid regulations are in place at the time.
“We don’t know what the regulations will be but we will comply with them. What Covid has taught me is that whatever is applied at a particular date will not be applied in the near future. We would hope that things progress in the right direction.”