Record crowds rock along to Cooly Rocks On Festival

Record crowds shaked, rattled and rolled through Coolangatta at this year’s Cooly Rocks On Festival, which wrapped up on Sunday.

Festival Director Mark Duckworth said there was no shortage of car fans, rockabilly tattoos, fabulous frocks and slicked back hair on the streets.

“We’ve had unbelievable crowds, sold out shows and an incredible lineup of musical talent this year,” he said.


“The cavalcade of vehicles on display was one of our biggest and best yet and to see the owners, who had travelled from as far afield as Darwin and South Australia, comparing notes, catching up with old friends and making new ones while enjoying the music and their pride and joys, is always something really special,” he said.

“There’s been a real amazing vibe over the past five days of the festival.”

Over 900 vehicles of all shapes, sizes, models and eras were on display at this year’s Show ‘N’ Shine for car enthusiasts to admire. On stage, over 23 rockabilly, rock’n’roll and swing acts, as well as some of Australia’s best tribute artists wowed the crowds across the five-day festival.

Frank Pesely was the winner of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. PHOTO: Supplied

A highlight of the event was the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, and this year’s lineup certainly didn’t disappoint the many fans who had travelled from all sides of the country to swoon to some of their favourite tunes.

17 entrants representing all eras of the King of Rock competed for the coveted title and the chance to represent Cooly Rocks On, and Australia, at Elvis Week in Memphis, USA. The winner of the $5,000 cheque and entry into the global Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest was Frank Pesely.

“I’ve been working towards this moment since I was 14 years old,” said Pesely. “It has been a dream to win a competition like this. It is my first time entering, and I’m stoked and completely lost for words.”

It wasn’t all about Elvis though, Saturday night was a moving tribute to The Wild One, Johnny O’Keefe by his daughter Vicky. Playing to a sold out crowd, Vicky performed all of her father’s hits, and fans rocked into the night to the likes of Shout!, Shake Baby Shake and C’mon.

Miss Maizie May on her way to being crowned the 2022 Cooly Rocks On Pin-Up Pageant winner. PHOTO: Supplied

For the first time, this year’s Pin-Up Pageant blended the classic and rockabilly styles into one pageant and included a fully inclusive entry component. 12 entrants took to the stage to compete for the Miss Cooly Rocks On title, including an international contingent from New Zealand and the USA, but it was Miss Maizie May from Toowoomba who took out the competition.

“It is my first time entering the Cooly Rocks On pageant and to come away with the win is a dream come true,” said Miss Maizie May. “The 40s and 50s style is what I dress in every day, and it was amazing to enter the contest and be among so many other inspiring girls.”

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