Elvis is in the building, or at least he’ll be in Parksville later this month.
The Vancouver Island Tribute Festival will be back in Parksville starting May 27.
The third annual event will feature tributes to Alan Jackson, The Judds, Roy Orbison, Neil Diamond, Liza Minelli, Patsy Cline and Elvis Presley.
There will be five Elvises, actually, according to festival organizer Sharon Schienbein.
Schienbein said these are award-winning performers. One of the Elvis tribute artists even qualified for an Elvis Presley tribute contest put on by Graceland.
“They have talent. They’re not the guy down the street who wants to jiggle their legs,” Schienbein said.
Schienbein said the festival has raised just under $20,000 in the last two years. The Vancouver Island Tribute Festival is non-profit with all the proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Schienbein said the festival was founded by four survivors of breast cancer after going to a tribute festival on the mainland. She said they wondered why they had to travel all the way to the mainland to see a tribute festival, so they decided to create one for the mid-Island.
Schienbein said they worked for a whole year, and the committee has grown since then.
“We’re so thankful for our good health now,” Schienbein said. “This is our way of saying thank you and giving back.”
There will be four shows on the weekend; a Friday and Saturday night show, a show Saturday during the day with a parade and a Sunday morning gospel show.
Schienbein said each show is totally different.
The parade, which starts at 11 a.m., will have the entertainers in convertibles on a tour of Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Coombs. The tribute artists will start in Coombs for some photos and a meet and greet with the visitors.
Schienbein said to watch for the white limo leading the parade
“Last year, the entertainers all ended up in song with a local guitar player which was memorable for them and him both, not to mention all the tourists that were present to enjoy it,” Schienbein said.
She said the parade is a nice opportunity for some of the performers who are new to the area.
“It not only shows them the area that they’re donating their time to, but it also shows the locals the performers.” she said.
All of the tribute artists perform without pay, and Schienbein said she’s already getting requests for performances for next year.
There is a Carpenters tribute group that performs on cruise ships, and Schienbein said one of the members told her that they would like to come and perform at the Vancouver Island Tribute Festival next year because they have lost family members to cancer and they think it’s a good cause.
“She told me they would make the finances work,” Schienbein said.
Another performer Aaron Halliday, who does a tribute to country singer Alan Jackson, will be going into his third year with the Vancouver Island Tribute Festival.
“Both the organizing committee and the fans have made my family so welcome over the years that I almost feel like they are an extension of my family I get to visit each year,” Halliday said.
In his two years performing at the festival, Halliday said he has thoroughly enjoyed his time connecting with the other performers and the fans that attend the festival.
Halliday will be the MC and headliner for the Friday night show, and Schienbein said Halliday is back by popular demand this year.
“I started at the festival because I was approached by Sharon Schienbein to help with the festival to make the weekend a success and was honoured to be asked,” Halliday said.
That, coupled with the opportunity to help raise money and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society was another reason why Halliday said he joined on.
“As like most people cancer has touched my family many times and my wife Sharyn as well,” Halliday said. “So we have made it a part of our family vacation for the past three years now including bringing my mother out from Nova Scotia the first 2 years. As she lost her husband, my dad, to cancer.”
Schienbein said she talks to a lot of people who know about the fundraiser, but she added that not everyone seems to know the money goes toward the Canadian Cancer Society.
She said some people thought the cost of the shows was too much money.
“I think the fact that knowing it’s going to a good cause would help justify that,” Schienbein said. “They get so much wonderful entertainment.”
The festival has become so popular in the past two years, that Schienbein said people ask if they can get tickets for the following year before the weekend is even over.
She said people tell her they want to buy their tickets so they can make sure they get in the following year.
This year, the first show is Friday at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $40.
Saturday afternoon, doors open at 1 p.m. and the show starts at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 or $25 for residents of retirement or seniors complexes.
Saturday evening the show starts at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $40.
Sunday morning is the gospel show at 11 a.m. and doors open at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $20.
A weekend pass is $99 for all four shows, a savings of $30. Tickets can be purchased at Cranky Dog Music Store, Forest Bus Tours or the Parksville Community and Conference Centre where all the shows will be.