Clad in an ice blue jumpsuit, Mark Anthony tucked his “Down Under” accent away to belt out some of the King’s classics as he entertained a packed house at the Georgia Elvis Festival Sunday.
It paid off big for the Australian tribute artist, as he walked away with the top prize in the professional category. It was the resident of Adelaide, South Australia’s first time participating in the event. And he was taking it all in following the performance.
Even so, winning the festival was still a surreal experience.
“It’s awesome ... of course, it’s awesome,” he said with a smile, surrounded by a sea of fans.
“I’ve been doing this for 14 years, and it’s my first time in Brunswick. It’s a very pretty place ... I didn’t get to see much of it outside of the festival, but I’d love to come back.”
Anthony wasn’t the only international performer gracing the stage during the competition. Andy King of Germany also shared his talents with the crowd. King, who has competed in the festival multiple times, was excited to return to Brunswick.
“I saw a lot of old friends here and also met a lot of new friends. Thank you for your hospitality ... I’ve been in this business for 16 years and I travel all over the world but this festival is one of my favorites,” King said in a light accent, before launching into a rousing performance of “Dixieland” for his final song.
The audience hopped to its collective feet in appreciation and remained standing as four of the headliners returned to perform. Cote Deonath, Austin Irby, Riley Jenkins and Taylor Rodriguez, who performed in Friday night’s Next Generation Show, shared a high energy medley, passing the microphone between them, singing various verses from songs.
Sunday’s finale marked the end of the sixth incarnation of the festival. The performances kicked off Thursday evening, with competition being held Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday also featured a number of artists offering free performances in the pocket parks around downtown. Sunday also boasted a morning gospel session with tribute artists sharing their favorite Christian songs from Presley’s catalogue.
Throngs of fans, some sporting Elvis shirts, could be found walking through the historic district over the weekend. They stopped in shops and restaurants sharing their love of the tribute artists and the king himself with Brunswick merchants.
As the festival wrapped, Jason Sherry, the event’s producer, was proud of this year’s talent pool, noting that it was a stellar lineup in both the professional and non-professional categories.
“It’s been a fantastic week ... I think that this top 10 is one of the best I’ve seen of any festival even in Las Vegas,” Sherry said.
While the curtain has closed on another Georgia Elvis Festival, Sherry is already looking ahead to the big 2020 year.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me if we’re coming back next year ... and the answer is ‘of course,’” Sherry said.