Elvis fever grips Bridlington Spa

G.I. Elvis (Mark Howley) at the piano
G.I. Elvis (Mark Howley) at the piano

SCORES of Elvis lookalikes left Bridlington all shook up at the second Elvis weekender.

More than forty tribute artists took part in the Elvis European Masters competition, which was won by Pete Storm from Surrey in the grand final on Sunday afternoon.

Organiser Peter Phillips, who also runs an Elvis festival in Porthcawl in Wales, which attracts 30,000 people a year, said the weekender was “a great success”.

“We’re delighted with the Elvis Weekender. Crowds were almost double from last year – well over 1,000,” said Peter.

“The event is now firmly established and we’re confident that within three years it will be bigger than our other festival in Porthcawl, which after eight years has grown to be the largest of its kind in the world.

“We would also like to thank The Spa and East Riding Event for supporting the event.

“The ETA Masters was one of the highest quality competitions I have seen. The winner, Pete Storm, is now off to Las Vegas to headline his own show.”

Steve Caprice, who hosted a number of shows over the weekend and along with his wife Barbara is a co-organiser of the event, said: “It is definitely a lot bigger and better than last year.

“The Bridlington festival is growing all the time and we are obviously hoping it will be as big if not bigger than the festival in Porthcawl.

“Everyone looks forward to coming here and playing at the Spa, which is a magnificent venue and it is really turning into a big spot on the Elvis map.

“There is a wonderful sense of community at the event and a great atmosphere.”

The event is also good for business in the town, with bookings in guest houses up compared to a usual March weekend.

James Harper, manager at Yorkies Guest House, on Pembroke Terrace, whose premises were unofficially turned into the Heartbreak Hotel over the weekend, said: “We had the organisers and the winner of the Masters and lots of other tributes staying here, and it made for a great weekend.

“We had the carvery open and a lot of Elvis’ attended, which cheered up the locals as it was a bit of an unusual sight.

“At this time of year, we would normally only have four or five bookings, but we were full because of the weekender.”

German Andy King, a 36-year-old Elvis tribute artist, travelled to Bridlington from Stuttgart in Germany.

He said it was a life-long love of the King that convinced him to travel to East Yorkshire.

“Bridlington is a wonderful place and I have already made friends at the weekender which means I will probably come back again next year,” said Andy, who has been working as an Elvis tribute artist since 2003.

“I have always loved Elvis’ music and this was a great opportunity to meet people who share my passion for the King and to pick up some hints and tips on how to improve my act.

“Elvis was a special person and I’ve brought my girlfriend to England with me because I wanted us to be here with people who feel the same way.”

Andy would not reveal his real name, but said: “I hear there is a footballer in Britain called Andy King, but hopefully I can sing better than him!”

Another tribute artist, Aaron King, travelled around 240 miles from Newbury in Berkshire, to enter as a wildcard into the Masters competition.

“I grew up with Elvis really, he has always been a part of my life,” said Aaron, 21, who has been a tribute artist for nearly two years.

“When I was on holiday a couple of years ago, I saw a tribute act and from then on it’s just been something that I have wanted to do.

“I feel very lucky to be performing here, the Spa is a big stage and I hope I can put on a good performance and get through to the Masters finals.