Sometimes it's less about nostalgia than homage. So while Elvisfest's undoubtedly retro, why not herald a moment when rock was still innocent and coquettish? The playful spirit extends from the Inn's full-service kitchen (serving the King's favored fare of griddled peanut butter and banana sandwiches) to Saturday's Elvis Costume and Krispy Kreme Donut-Eating contests (judged by Elvis impersonator/ performer ALVIS). Musically it's a two-day, 24-act (nearly 25 percent more than 2010) extravaganza that's become an institution on par with co-founder Dave Quick's other '50s-themed brainchild, Heavy Rebel Weekend.
This festival features another typically exciting mix. Regional favorites like one-man garage-psych madman Pinche Gringo and punchy harmony-enriched Asheville garage-pop twosome Mad Tea Party on Friday highlight the weekend. On Saturday, honky-tonking ex-Two Dollar Pistol John Howie and torch-country siren Taz Halloween lead Kitty Box & the Johnnies. Returning fest veterans Billy Joe Winghead and the messy, outlandish stage show of dark Gotham garage-surf trio Psycho Charger headline Friday and Saturday, respectively. Charleston's greasy cow-punkers The Defilers and the sultry Zippers-ish swing of Philly's Delco Nightingale are two extraordinarily talented newcomers not to miss Saturday. $2 of the cover goes to the Masonic Home for Children. —Chris Parker