Record crowds rock to the tune of yesteryear at Cooly Rocks On

Well, it’s another one for the history books!

Across the five picture-perfect days, there was no shortage of dancing, singing, revving and good vibes as we took a step back in time to celebrate the motors, music and lifestyle of yesteryear. 

While record crowds shaked, rattled and rolled through Coolangatta for this year’s festival, we saw car fans, rockabilly tattoos, fabulous frocks and slicked-back hair return to the picturesque beachside destination.

Indonesian rockabilly band The Hydrant performed in Australia for the first time and had festival-goers roaring with their unique Bali style. The four-piece band proved to be a festival favourite with loyal fans attending all three of their performances across the festival.

Over 900 vehicles of all shapes, sizes, models and eras were on display at this year’s Show ‘N’ Shine for car enthusiasts to admire. On stage, over 23 rockabilly, rock ’n’ roll and swing acts, as well as some of Australia’s best tribute artists wowed the crowds across the five-day festival.  

Don Murfett brought his gold T-Bucket Ford down from Darwin for the Show ‘N’ Shine.  

“It’s one of those things that has been on my bucket list for a fair while, I’d heard so much about it. I’d recommend to anybody to come and have a look, it’s just amazing.” 

Cars lined up in the 2022 Show 'N' Shine

A highlight of the event for many festival goers was the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, and this year’s lineup certainly didn’t disappoint the many fans who had travelled from all sides of the country to swoon to some of their favourite tunes. 

17 entrants representing all eras of the King of Rock competed for the coveted title and the chance to represent Cooly Rocks On, and Australia, at Elvis Week in Memphis, USA.  The winner of the $5,000 cheque and entry into the global Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest was Frank Pesely, with Che Orton finishing second and Anthony Petrucci third. 

Frank Pesely said,

“I’ve been working towards this moment since I was 14 years old. “It has been a dream to win a competition like this. It is my first time entering, and I’m stoked and completely lost for words.” 

Elvis enthusiast, Karen Moore travelled from Woy Woy on the New South Wales Central Coast to enjoy the VIP Legends Pass offering throughout the entire five days of Cooly Rocks On. 

“I thought the Elvis Tribute Artists were all wonderful, it takes me back to when I was a kid,” said Karen. “We travelled up to Cooly Rocks On in our caravan, made a trip out it and visited all sorts of places on our way up. We came last year too.”

Frank Pesely, 2022 Cooly Rocks On Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Winner

 It wasn’t all about Elvis though. Saturday night was a moving tribute to The Wild One, Johnny O’Keefe by his daughter Vicky. Playing to a sold out crowd, Vicky performed all of her father’s hits, and fans rocked into the night to the likes of Shout!, Shake Baby Shake and C’mon . There was barely a dry eye in the house when Vicky shared the stage with Johnny on video for their special duet, I’m Counting On You.  

Plus, for the first time, this year’s Pin-Up Pageant blended the classic and rockabilly styles into one pageant and included a fully inclusive entry component. 12 entrants took to the stage to compete for the Miss Cooly Rocks On title including an international contingent from New Zealand and the USA.  

American entrant Miss Aphrodite Darling said,

“I’ve always wanted to come to Cooly Rocks On. This whole experience has been wonderful and it’s nice to know that everywhere around the world rockabilly is alive and well.”  


The winner of this year’s Pin-Up Pageant was Miss Maizie May from Toowoomba. 

“It is my first time entering the Cooly Rocks On pageant and to come away with the win is a dream come true,” said Miss Maizie May. “The 40s and 50s style is what I dress in every day, and it was amazing to enter the contest and be among so many other inspiring girls.” 

Miss Maizie May on her way to accept her crown as the 2022 Pin-up Pageant Winner

Kustomville, a Kustom Kulture precinct allowed festival goers to see the process of a hot rod and car build live, along with pinstriping, airbrushing and other live artwork. 

With an impressive display set against the Gold Coast skyline, rev heads and motor enthusiasts alike were drawn to Indian Motorcycle’s stand to check out the latest offering from the internationally renowned brand.   

And for those who’d forgotten to trim the locks in the lead up to the festival, Indian Motorcycle had the cure, with the Barbering Biker on hand for makeovers.  

Festival fans also had the opportunity to get themselves a permanent memento of Cooly Rocks On, with global tattoo brand, Celebrity Ink™ Coolangatta, offering a range of designs inspired by the lifestyle and art of yesteryear.  

The Strand was alive with music and swing, crowds spinning in and out to grab a dance workshop and rub shoulders with the Elvis tribute artists.  

Produced by Major Events Gold Coast, Cooly Rocks On wraps after an incredibly successful 2022 with thanks to our Sponsor Family this year – City of Gold Coast, Tourism and Events Queensland, Indian Motorcycle, Celebrity Ink™ Coolangatta and The Strand.  

Cooly Rocks On is supported by the Queensland Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland, and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us to make Cooly Rocks On 2022 so incredible. We hope you had as much fun as we did and had the chance to create lifelong memories with friends, new and old. We’ll be back rockin’ 7-11 June 2023.

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