Darren 'Graceland' Jones at Elvis on stage performing
Darren 'Graceland' Jones Credit: Supplied by artist

Darren ‘Graceland’ Jones is urging people to get tickets for Crow Fest saying the £5 tickets are a “crazy” price for the quality of the line-up.

The well-known Elvis tribute act, who grew up in Cwmbran and now lives in Griffithstown, is one of eight performers who will take to the outdoor stage at Cwmbran Stadium on Saturday 20 July 2024.

Cwmbran Life caught up with Darren on a Zoom call a few days before he flew out to Turkey to perform.

This interview was carried out thanks to the support of Cwmbran Community Council.

He said: “I think anybody should support anything that goes on in Cwmbran. If you’re from Cwmbran, be proud of Cwmbran, It’s a lovely place. It’s beautiful. And come and support something that Cwmbran Community Council are doing for the residents of Cwmbran at a silly price. I mean, the class of entertainment that you’re getting for £5 a ticket is absolutely crazy.

“It’s going to be an amazing day, it really is. And I hope that the town folk will support Cwmbran Community Council and the effort that they try and put in to do things for Cwmbran, like the Big Event and stuff like that.”

How did you feel when you got the call to perform at Crow Fest?

“I’m really chuffed [to be invited to perform] actually, being a Cwmbran boy I don’t perform in Cwmbran very often anymore so it’s nice to come back and say ‘thank you’ to everybody who’s got me to where I’ve got to today. I’m quite proud of the fact that I’m a Cwmbran boy, even though I’ve moved now out to Griffithstown, if anyone asks me where I’m from, I’m ‘Cwmbran’.

“We’ve got some amazing places in Cwmbran and I don’t think we appreciate what we’ve got around us, you know, Cwmbran stadium, the boating lake, Greenmeadow Community Farm.

“We want people to come to Cwmbran and I hope I’m a small part of putting Cwmbran on the map in the Elvis world.”

When Darren was four or five he remembers the Aloha from Hawaii concert, which was a TV-first, being broadcast around the world by satellite. His dad and uncles were all Elvis fans so it was music he heard growing up.

When his schoolmates saw Darren with his new Elvis-style hair brushed back he was quickly given the nickname that has stuck with him for life.

He spoke about his shows: “I’m a big believer there is one Elvis. And for me, I like to sing the songs as Elvis would’ve sung them. I don’t change my voice to sound like him. I try and sing the song as he sang it, rather than trying to copy a voice, I try and give the song a bit of credit as well. I talk about Elvis all through my shows. I put humour into it. I feel I’m a bit of a showman like Elvis was.”

Alongside singing at Elvis festivals in the UK and abroad, he regularly visits nursing homes and mental health units.

He said: “They are what I believe my purpose is as an Elvis tribute is to go into these places and make a difference. It’s the interaction, they come out themselves unbelievably. After an hour’s performance, nothing can give you that sort of job satisfaction.”

He was featured on the front cover of September 2023’s JÓN magazine, a publication sold across the world.

“It’s been a mental year. I’ve just been on the front cover of a worldwide magazine, a fashion magazine called JÓN.”

The cover photo is usually an A-lister, but last September’s edition featured him as Elvis.

“I just can’t get my head around this. I’m like, is this real? It’s bonkers. But I’m living the dream.”

Crow Fest- important information

Food and drink will be on sale. Anyone who looks under 25 will be asked for ID if they want to buy alcohol.

The festival is on the outdoor pitch so suitable footwear must be worn. High heels or chairs won’t be allowed. Festival goers are welcome to bring picnic blankets.

Crow Fest runs from 2pm to 10pm. Last entry 7pm.

Crow Fest tickets

Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Click here to visit the events page.

Tickets are £5.94 each (includes a 94p booking fee). A ticket for an adult with an under 18 is £7 (includes £1.01 booking fee).

Crow Fest is being organised by Cwmbran Community Council to celebrate the New Town’s 75th anniversary.

Darren ‘Graceland’ Jones will be joined by Gypsy Pistoleros, Appletree Theory, 2 Rude, No One Knows, Travis George, Tobias Robertson, and Capital City Jazz.

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