Elvis lives in Tweed – the story behind Tweed Elvis Festival
The story of the Tweed Elvis Festival is that of a man who loved the King and loved to entertain, and the group of people who decided that that dream needed to live on.
Elvis lived in Tweed for many years, in the guise of a local restaurant owner named Mr. V. Mr. V’s restaurant was fully decorated in Elvis memorabilia and to celebrate the anniversary of Elvis’ death and birth each year he would dress like Elvis, put on his guitar and sing Elvis songs up and down the street.
One day a radio station reporter from Ottawa traveling home from Toronto had an Elvis sighting while passing through Tweed. Naturally he stopped to interview “Elvis” – it was simply too good a story not to share with his listeners.
The next day the reporter announced he had seen Elvis in Tweed, Ontario, Canada and that Elvis was working there, alive and well. The story went around the world and a new slogan for the town was born.
In 2010, Kathy Scott, who had visited the Collingwood Elvis Festival, decided that if Elvis was truly alive and well and living in Tweed, Tweed needed to celebrate that as well.
She gathered some friends and formed the Tweed Elvis Festival committee, comprised of Jim Keniston, Scott Pedigrew, Bob Taylor, Carolynne Campbell, Doug and later Maril Swan.
The first Tweed Tribute to Elvis was held in August of 2011 and the winner was a local boy from Belleville named Matt Cage. Tweed champions, who qualify to compete at the Ultimate Elvis Competition in Memphis, now include two champions at the Ultimate as well as numerous top 10 finishers.
What started out as a single event in a small community is now known world-wide, drawing competitors from every corner of the globe: Canada, the United States, Germany, England, even Brazil and Australia.
Over the years, the board of directors has changed and there are now more than 100 volunteers that work on this event each year. As well, Tweed Music Festivals has now evolved to include not just the Tweed Elvis Festival, but also the Tweed Front Pourch Ruckus, and the Land O Lakes Traditional Music Hall of Fame.