Elvis reportedly once said ‘do something worth remembering.’
That’s exactly what 19-year-old Mat Shank did in winning the 2023 Penticton Elvis Festival.
“He came out there and just mesmerized the crowd,” said Mike Schell, festival president. “They loved him.”
Shank, who is from Gatineau, Quebec, and has only been a tribute artist for 10 months, will compete in Ultimate Elvis which takes place at Graceland in Memphis this August.
The winner gets a one-year touring contract, a $20,000 cash prize and several Elvis costumes.
Schell added the 2023 Elvis Festival, which featured 25 tribute artists, was a huge success.
“For the first time in 21 years, the headliner show sold out and the Sunday final show sold out as well.”
Gate sales doubled and tripled from previous years as well.
The headliner show featured Jay Dupuis from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 2022 Penticton Champion Sylvain Leduc from Montreal, and Corny Rempel from Steinbach, Manitoba.
Schell, who is in his 18th year with the festival, said he believes part of the success can be attributed to the Elvis movie, released last year.
“I think it’s spawned a new generation of Elvis fans. We saw a lot of young people there, just awesome.”
There was another big winner at the festival. Schell said it raised 500 pounds of food and $3,800 for the Penticton Food Bank.