07 December 2010 by Chris Marais

All Shook Up - In Storms River

It’s a whacko journo’s dream assignment, I’m thinking as I tool down the N2 to the village of Storms River on the upper edge of the Garden Route, boning up on all the hound dogs, blue suede shoes and jailhouse rocks my old in-car tape system can handle.


Gotta be prepared for the Weekend of Elvis, as planned, financed and run by one Jan du Rand, local hotelier, Cadillac collector and Presley nut of note.

Jan owns an electric guitar called Poena, but prefers to play the air guitar. He’ll hop into an Elvis suit, shrug on that head-rug and strike the Kingly pose any day of the week. But, I’m thinking as I drive into Storms River, is this going to be a one-man show? Who even remembers Elvis in these digital days?

My fears prove unfounded. The village is jam-packed with Elvis wannabe’s. There are even a couple dozen Marilyn Monroes thrown into the deal as well. At street corners, outdoor stages and inside a large marquee, men (and one woman) in sequined outfits are shakin’ up a storm. This weekend, I am destined to hear more versions of Wooden Heart than a soul can stand.

This is not the first time Elvis has put a small country town on the map. Never mind Tupelo, Mississippi, where he was born. Many places in the USA and even one in Australia (Parkes) make a hefty living off staging Elvis pageants. But this is the first South African Presleyfest, and Jan tells me it’s not going to be the last.

“Thang yuh. Thang yuh very much…”

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