COOLY ROCKS ON bigger than ever as tourists flock to rock to THE ICONIC FESTIVAL

WORDS: Mckenna Lea PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Australia’s largest Rock ‘n’ Roll and nostalgia festival, Cooly Rocks On has dazzled crowds and boosted tourism as it returned to the Coolangatta beachfront this last weekend.

The enhanced program saw an unprecedented number of attendees with tens of thousands of tourists and locals flocking to the rock ‘n’ roll event to experience the cars, music, memories and moments of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Transforming Coolangatta into a colourful explosion of sound and culture, attendees were delighted with the increased programming and new additions such as the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and Kustomville cars boosting the already jam-packed festival program.

Festival organisers, tourism operators and participants were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support for the 2021 festival, with the majority of accommodation providers booked weeks in advance and local restaurants and bars overflowing with guests.

Major Events Gold Coast Director of Events and Festivals, Mark Duckworth, said due to COVID-19 cancelling the previous years’ event, the anticipation for the 2021 event coupled with the rockin’ offering attracted attendees nationally, and they are already looking forward to planning the next event.

“Following last year’s cancelled festival, we are so proud to have welcomed tourists and nostalgia enthusiasts back to the Coolangatta beachfront for one of Cooly Rocks On’s most successful years,” Mr Duckworth said.

“The addition of new activations, such as the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, complimented the experience attendees have come to know and love across the festival’s 30-year history and we look forward to welcoming even more people to next year’s festival.”

The influx of local, drive and inter-state visitors to the Southern Gold Coast location has provided a much-needed boost to the local tourism industry with majority of accommodation and tourism operators at capacity and work during the five-day event.

Owner of two Coolangatta businesses, Pancake Diner and The Aztec Mexican Restaurant, Glen Day said the event has been a welcomed boost to the Southern Gold Coast tourism and trade.

“After having all events cancelled or postponed last year due to COVID-19, Cooly Rocks On has brought welcome financial relief to small business owners, particularly in Coolangatta,” Said Mr Day.

“The days of and surrounding the festival saw a wonderful boost for local businesses and has lifted the spirit of both locals and businesses.”

Division 14 Councillor Gail O’Neill said it has been wonderful to see the return of our much loved local event, Cooly Rocks On.“As the Divisional Councillor for Coolangatta, I was overjoyed to see the Cooly Rocks On Festival come alive in 2021,” Cr O’Neill said.

“We had the weather, classic cars, music, Elvis and so much more, so congratulations to Major Events Gold Coast, our event organisers, who delivered a hugely successful festival.

“It was fantastic to see the massive crowds enjoying the entire festival and even better seeing local accommodation houses, restaurants, coffee & retail shops reaping the benefits, especially after a very tough last 12 months, and I can’t wait for 2022.”

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Cooly Rocks On was a signature event on Queensland’s events calendar.

“There’s no better location than beside the beach at Coolangatta for Australia’s biggest Rock ‘n’ Roll and nostalgia festival,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“It’s terrific to see so many nostalgia fans voting with their feet to support this year’s return of Cooly Rocks On and the local tourist economy.

“Events like Cooly Rocks On bring visitors from outside the region to the southern Gold Coast and deliver jobs in the tourism and events industries for the Palaszczuk Government’s Economic Recovery Plan.”

As Cooly Rocks On hangs up its blue suede shoes for another year, Major Event Gold Coast plans to top this year’s festival in 2022, continuing to welcome even more tourists and locals to immerse themselves in the Coolangatta community and celebrate the sound, memories and cars of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Cooly Rocks On Results:


Miss Cooly Rocks On

Winner – Miss Curly Sue

Runner up Miss MonMon


Miss Rockabilly

Winner – Miss Cherry Red

Runner up – Miss Vena Cava

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

1st – Brendon Chase

2nd – Deren Presley

3rd – Matt Birse


Cooly Rocks On – CONCLUDED

Date: 9th – 13th June 2021

Time: 9:00am til late

Where: Marine Parade & Griffith Street, Coolangatta, QLD 4225