What's On

Cooly Rocks On

May 11, 2023

Lovers of music, motors, and the lifestyle of yesteryear are preparing for another not-to-be-missed event on the annual calendar as one of Australia’s largest nostalgia festivals, Cooly Rocks On, unveils highly anticipated entertainment lineup for 2023.

This year’s Cooly Rocks On, held on the Gold Coast from 7-11 June, will feature a host of international performers along with Australia’s favourite rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, and swing artists from across the country.

One of the exciting international acts headlining the 2023 program is Swedish group The Go Getters, arguably one of the biggest rockabilly bands in the world. The trio who formed 35 years ago is sure to keep toes tappin’ all night as they make their first appearance in Australia in more than a decade.

Japan’s Johnny Pandora has been breaking hearts on the rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly scene since he was 18 years old, performing nearly 200 shows a year. Now the singer, bassist, guitarist, and dancer is ready to wow audiences in Coolangatta as part of this year’s lineup.

New Zealand’s original retro rockers Boom! Boom! Deluxe are set to fill the dancefloor, playing a mix of authentic 1950s and 60s classics laced with clever re-workings of modern songs in the rock ‘n’ roll styles.

“This year’s festival is going to be bigger and better than ever with five international acts invited to perform, as well as dozens of acts from across the country filling the streets with the sound and energy we have become famous for,” said Major Events Gold Coast Director of Festivals and Events Mark Duckworth.

Performances on outdoor stages during the festival are free for the public to enjoy.

Put your dancing shoes on and get those feet moving.

Vintage Car at Cooly Rocks On

The hottest classics, customs, hot rods, and muscle cars on display.

Don’t think we’ve forgotten about our homegrown talents, fan favourites from Melbourne, The Rechords, will perform their unique blend of bluegrass western swing, hillbilly and rock ‘n’ roll.

Adelaide’s hottest seven-piece 50s swing, rhythm and roots group Lucky Seven will set the mood at the Cooly Rocks On Moonlight Swing Dance, as well as channelling the original rock ‘n’ roll genius of the legendary Bill Haley with their outfit The Lucky Comets: The Sounds Of Bill Haley.

Queensland’s own Cherry Divine, dubbed the ‘Princess of Rockabilly’, joins the lineup for another year. Cherry grew up listening to records on her Grandad’s gramophone and her love for rockabilly has taken her around the world and she can’t wait to return to Cooly Rocks On.

It’s not a rockin’ time without the King of Rock & Roll: Elvis! Headlining in the Elvis Precinct this year is the USA’s Shawn Klush, who’s widely considered the best Elvis Tribute Artist in the world.

“For Elvis fans, it doesn’t get much better than this,” said Mark Duckworth.

“Shawn tours extensively around the world performing to sold out shows, but his inaugural Cooly Rocks On appearance will be his first Down Under in five years. The team is so excited to present Shawn at the 2023 festival.”

The critically acclaimed artist was named the first-ever ‘Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist’ by Elvis Presley Enterprises in Memphis and has been described as the “closest thing to The King in concert.”

Cooly Rocks On is also bringing another renowned international Elvis Tribute Artist to the Gold Coast, with an Australian-first performance from Jimmy Holmes (USA), who has taken the industry by storm.

In an unmissable event, Jimmy Holmes and Mark Andrew will present “The King Returns to Stage ‘68-’72” in a nod to Elvis’ triumphant return to the live arena after waving goodbye to Hollywood.

For lovers of surf culture and classic rock ’n’ roll car songs, The Australian Beach Boys Show will bring back memories of cruising in coupes and feeling fine in a Chevrolet 409.

Other notable artists performing this year include The Pacific Belles, Issi Dye, Jake & the Cadillacs, Kenny and the Nitro Rockers, Melody Graves and the Hokum Redemption, Peaches & the Alphasonics, Swingabilly Ray, and more!

“If you’re all about 50s, 60s and 70s music then get ready to step back in time with our curated lineup of legendary artists at Cooly Rocks On in 2023,” said Mark Duckworth.

Highlights to tickle your fancy

Cooly Rocks On Show ‘N’ Shine

The iconic Show ‘N’ Shine is not to be missed and, frankly, it’s hard to miss when there are over 900 vehicles along Coolangatta’s Marine Parade for you to admire! Wander along the main stretch, plus Griffith Street and Goodwin Park, to see classics, customs, hot rods, and muscle cars in all their shining glory. It’s an incredible collection of prized possessions from enthusiasts across the coast. If you’re looking to add your own beauty to the showcase, make sure to secure yourself a ticket.

Nostalgia Markets

A spot of shopping? Don’t mind if we do! You can scoop up all your vintage and retro goodies at the markets on the beautiful Coolangatta Beachfront. Running daily, make sure to take a peek at all the local businesses on display. You’ll find a treasure trove of nostalgic fashion, accessories, memorabilia, and more.

Cooly Rocks On Pin-up Pageant

Another favourite over the years, the Cooly Rocks On Pin-up Pageant brings all the glamour once again. Be dazzled by the 12 lucky finalists taking to the stage for the crown. The pageant celebrates both the ‘Classic’ and ‘Rockabilly’ styles showcasing the fashions, hair, and makeup of yesterday under the spotlight.

Saturday Night Car Cruise

Back by popular demand after a long-awaited return, get excited for the Saturday Night Car Cruise. The streets of Coolangatta transform to a vision of the heydays as they are taken over by eye-catching cars from the eras gone by. You won’t want to miss this incredible spectacle.

Cooly Rocks On Moonlight Swing Dance

The highly anticipated Cooly Rocks On Moonlight Swing Dance is a sell-out every year! Join the celebration of the iconic era of swing hosted in the Elvis Marquee. A complimentary glass of bubbles after your red carpet arrival will have you feeling like a star.

Rock On Dance Workshops

Shimmy on over to the Rock On Dance Workshops hosted by Cooly locals, Gotta Swing. With sessions running all five days of the festival, it’s time to lace up your dancing shoes and learn Rock ‘n’ Roll, Swing, Rockabilly, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Shag, line dances and more – whew! Enjoy your new skills with a social dance at the end of each day and if you just can’t stop your feet, you can dance the night away at The Strand at Coolangatta with DJ Rhythm Man Mark, one of your workshop hosts!

Classic cars at Cooly Rocks On Festival Coolangatta

You can’t miss the Show ‘N’ Shine with over 900 cars along Marine Parade.

Treat your ears to the retro sounds of an epic lineup.

Dress up to your heart’s content.

Introducing Park and Ride

For the first time Cooly Rocks On is offering a ‘Park and Ride’ for easy transport to and from the festival. On Saturday and Sunday buses will be running every half hour between 4 Boyd St, Tugun (Betty Diamond Park) and 15 Marine Parade. It is then a 600m walk around the Kirra headland to the festival precinct. Just $5 for day parking and a gold coin donation to the State Emergency Service for the return bus trip.

Cooly Rocks On

Date: 7 – 11 June 2023
Time: 9:00am til late
Where: Marine Parade & Griffith Street, Coolangatta, QLD 4225

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.