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15-Sep-2019 18:51

Here, there were easy smiles, big-bellied laughs, lilting Welsh accents expressing how much they had enjoyed the latest performance.

It was like entering another world – one where people were genuinely happy with the small joys life had to offer. The “feel-good brand” of Elvis, as Peter describes it, was rubbing off on me.

Rewind five minutes and the man in question, Dave, simply approached me to tell me how much he was enjoying the evening.

We’re in the Grand Pavilion, a beautiful 1920s music hall, and had just been treated to a full Elvis concert complete with accompaniment from Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ask for a cappuccino in a café and they’ll laugh and say they do two kinds of coffee – black or milky.

But the place is thriving: the arcade is packed, the beer is flowing from 10am until who knows when, and there is a feeling of bonhomie that has settled over Porthcawl like a warm blanket. “What makes it so unique is the Welsh mindset,” Peter told me, and I could see what he meant.

More people come to Porthcawl to celebrate Elvis in September than go to Memphis for Elvis Week in August.

But the location is an integral part of its charm, according to festival organiser Peter Phillips.

But still, you’ll see them stop in the street and go, ‘Oh, I love this one,’ when they hear it again.“Never call them Elvis impersonators,” one fan warned me.“They’re not impersonators, because you can’t impersonate perfection.” Noted.Dave and I both agreed it was thoroughly delightful but, while I’m having a perfectly pleasant time, he is buzzing. I come to this festival, plug myself in, and I can feel the energy pouring through me. There’s nothing like it – the love, the affection, the enthusiasm.The love in this room…” It’s at this point that he breaks down and can no longer continue talking.

But still, you’ll see them stop in the street and go, ‘Oh, I love this one,’ when they hear it again.

“Never call them Elvis impersonators,” one fan warned me.

“They’re not impersonators, because you can’t impersonate perfection.” Noted.

Dave and I both agreed it was thoroughly delightful but, while I’m having a perfectly pleasant time, he is buzzing. I come to this festival, plug myself in, and I can feel the energy pouring through me. There’s nothing like it – the love, the affection, the enthusiasm.

The love in this room…” It’s at this point that he breaks down and can no longer continue talking.

It’s been a weekend full of surprises, the biggest one of all being that the world’s biggest Elvis festival is held here in the first place.