The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday December 5th

Elvisfest Brings Fans to Franklin Street

Bands to celebrate Elvis' 68th birthday

Had Elvis Presley lived, he would've been 68 on Wednesday. Instead, he's missing one heck of a birthday bash.

Twenty rock bands from across the country will converge on Franklin Street this weekend for Elvisfest, the sixth annual musical celebration in honor of the King's birthday.

The acts will alternate between Local 506 and the neighboring North Carolina Sports Bar.

The event will be held from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. today and Saturday. Admission is $10 a night.

Performers include local artists Dexter Romweber and The Straight 8s, as well as The Octane Saints from Richmond, Va.; Flathead Mike and the Mercurys from Atlanta; and Billy Joe Winghead from Oklahoma City. Musical styles will range from punk to rockabilly to honky-tonk.

"There's going to be something for everyone musically," said David Quick, a UNC student and promoter for the event.

Each band or singer is required to play at least two Elvis songs. But the tunes that will appear on each performer's set list are still a mystery, Quick said. "Half the fun is seeing what they come up with."

Local 506 manager John Dzubak said hearing different styles of rock during the event is a fitting tribute to Presley.

"You'll see it in all the different types of bands how he's influenced their music," he said.

The inaugural Elvisfest was launched in 1998 in New York City.

At the time, Quick, now 36, was in a band called Jack Black, whose CD release party happened to fall on Jan. 8. Quick and fellow band members decided to use the event to celebrate Presley's birthday.

Later that year, the group members moved to Chapel Hill and brought the idea with them.

Local 506 and the North Carolina Sports Bar have jointly hosted the event since 1999.

"Everyone was having a blast and the bands were pretty rockin'," said Matt Taylor, a bartender at the sports bar, of last year's celebration. He added that he expects a typically high turnout tonight and Saturday.

As in past years, the bar's grill will serve peanut butter and banana sandwiches -- an Elvis favorite -- and show Elvis movies on each of its televisions, Taylor said.

"All the guys who put this on are huge Elvis fans," he said. "They're trying to do well in his name."

Quick, a senior history major from Swansboro, also will perform at the event.

He is the lead singer and guitarist for TCB, an Elvis cover band that takes its name from "taking care of business," a catchphrase popular in the 1960s and often used by Presley.

Concertgoers might even catch a glimpse of the event's honoree.

No Elvis impersonator is set to appear, but fans are encouraged to -- and often do -- dress up, Quick said.

"When else do you get the chance to break out the Elvis duds?" he said.

Dzubak said he expected to see "a lot of Vegas trash" at the event and, beyond sequins and sideburns, true appreciation of the icon.

"There's a little Elvis fan in everybody, whether it's the cheese part of it or the genuine talent of the guy."

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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