Lookin’ back on Cooly Rocks On History!

As we gear up for another massive Cooly Rocks On from 5 – 9 June 2024, let’s do what we do best and take a step back in time together and reminisce about the beginning of Cooly Rocks On!

First known as the WinterSun Festival, the vibrant event was introduced to the area in the 1980s with an exhibition of 17 hot rods driven down from Brisbane. The festival program also featured a series of extensive and spectacular events like a billy cart derby, skateboard championship, roller derby, marathon swims and so much more.

1990s WinterSun Festival Poster

By 1985, the festival began to shape into the Cooly Rocks On we know and love today with the introduction of 50s and 60s nostalgia. Featuring a display of cars and bikes of the era, performances by rock ‘n’ roll entertainers belting out the tunes of icons like Elvis Presley and The Beatles, plus a fashion parade, WinterSun was beginning to put Coolangatta on the map.

Fast forward to 2011, the festival officially became known as Cooly Rocks On. Building from the legacy of WinterSun, Cooly Rocks On has since evolved into one of Australia’s largest rock ‘n’ roll and nostalgia festivals, becoming a must-do event on Queensland’s calendar with multiple Queensland Tourism Awards under its wing.

Attracting attendees and talent from around the country and the world, Cooly Rocks On has culminated to become the ultimate celebration of the motors, music and lifestyle of yesteryear.

The famous Show ‘N’ Shine display now features over 900 vehicles that line the streets and parks of Coolangatta. In 2023, the beloved Saturday Night Car Cruise was brought back to dial back the time as various classics, customs, hot rods and muscle cars drive by the beachside precinct.

Jimmy Holmes (USA) performing at Cooly Rocks On 2023

As for the music, we couldn’t not feature The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll! The annual Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist (UETA) Contest is a fan favourite each year, and Cooly Rocks On is only one of two preliminary UETA contests in Australia sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises! This year, we’re also thrilled to invite some of the world’s best Elvis Tribute Artists like Dwight Icenhower (USA), Louis Brown (UK), Che Orton (NZ), Jack Gatto (AUS) and more to perform.

An incredible lineup of rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly and swing artists will also be performing on stages and venues throughout Coolangatta to have the sweet tunes flowing no matter where you go!  

The Cooly Rocks On Pin-up Pageant, markets and dancing events are a chance for enthusiasts to pop on their dancing shoes and dress to the nines! With the Coolangatta beach just steps away plus the warm Gold Coast weather, could you ask for a better backdrop?

With plenty of exciting announcements in the pipeline, we hope you’re just as excited as we are to return to Coolangatta this June! From feature shows to artist lineups, make sure to subscribe to the Cooly Rocks On newsletter below or follow us on Facebook and Instagram to be kept up to date on all the latest festival news.

To not miss a second of the action during the festival, lock in your accommodation now and enjoy all that Cooly Rocks On has to offer for 2024!

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