It was Elvis with a Scottish flair at the 14th annual Penticton Pacific Northwest Elvis Festival.
When all the votes were tabulated Sunday, June 28 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre it was Jonny Lee Memphis of Coalsnaughton, Scotland emerging the winner of the professional competition.
Sitting on stage with the four other pro finalists, Memphis, who has been tribute artist for 11 years, put his face in his hands in shock and disbelief after his name was read out as the winner.
“I’m so surprised and this means the whole world to me. This here, with no exaggeration, feels like the best weekend of my life, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve been doing and sharing all things Elvis,” he said after leaving the stage to the accolades of fellow artists and organizers.
“To win this award is very rare. In my life I’ve never won anything and I just want to say what a fantastic experience it’s been and I hope to do Penticton proud in Memphis.”
As the category winner the Scotsman will travel to Tennessee in August to compete against those from other festivals.
Runner up in the pro division, and as always a crowd favourite in Penticton, was Corny Rempel of Steinbach, Man.
Rempel also won the Heart of the King award which is voted on by the tribute artists and goes to the performer who best demonstrates the true spirit of the festival.
Third in the pros was Bruce Stewart of Georgian Bay, Ont.
Winner of the non-professional division was Fred Steen of Chetwynd, B.C., Penticton’s Christopher Blaine was second and Silvio Fontaine of Whitewood Sask. was third.
Special guest this year was actress Cynthia Pepper who co-starred with Elvis in the MGM movie Kissin’ Cousins and later became his good friend.
The 2015 festival headliner Donny Edwards is one of the best in the business and always in demand, who is currently working in Las Vegas, Nev.
“Penticton is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, people here are so gung ho with the Elvis extravaganza and experience; my wife and I are just having a blast,” said Edwards after his performance at the gospel showcase at Okanagan Lake Park.
“I’m such a huge Elvis fan and so if he was to see me, I would want to make him proud.”