A few familiar faces from the former Collingwood Elvis Festival are reuniting this fall in Huntsville for a new event paying tribute to the King of Rock.
The Russo family, who were regulars at the Collingwood festival, are behind the production company for the new Elvis and Co three-day music festival at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville in October. Connor Russo first began performing as an Elvis Presley tribute artist at age five in Collingwood. He was a six-time champion in the junior and senior youth divisions of the tribute artist competition.
"While Elvis and Co is much more than an Elvis festival, it without question has its roots in the Collingwood Elvis Festival," states a news release from Crown Production Co, the company behind the Muskoka event.
The house band from Collingwood Elvis Festival, The Casino Brothers, will be the house band for Elvis and Co, and the new event will bring back the Ultimate Elvis Contest. Memphis Jones is also listed in the performer lineup and will be master of ceremonies during some of the performances.
"Over the [Collingwood] festival's last 10 years, we made many connections to other performers but also festival staff and volunteers," said Stacy Russo, president of Elvis and Co. in an email to CollingwoodToday.
Those connections include Rosemarie O'Brien, who was one of the main organizers of the Collingwood Elvis Festival for nearly all of its 25-year history. O'Brien will be the festival ambassador offering support and helping the new festival build strong customer service and a welcoming atmosphere, said Russo.
"I'm very honoured to have been asked to be their festival ambassador, especially for their inaugural year," said O'Brien in an email to CollingwoodToday.
The festival's entertainment lineup includes Elvis tribute artists as well as blues, rockabilly and rock 'n roll performers. Special guest, Linda Thompson, a former girlfriend of Elvis', will be at the event. A full list of performers is posted at elvisandco.ca.
VIP passes are sold out, but there are still weekend passes and individual tickets available for purchase at elvisandco.ca or by calling 416-252-7800.
The Collingwood Elvis Festival ran in Collingwood for 25 years, ending in 2019 as an official town-run event. The municipality did offer the event to third-party operators but didn't find one to take over the three-day festival. As it happened, the restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic would have prevented the festival from running in 2020.