It’s the first day of Edward Sharpe’s Big Top circus and music festival, and Austin Bennett is dressed in a gold-sequined Elvis Presley tuxedo jacket, purple Mardi Gras beads, and a sequined vest.
It is not just his costume for the next four days, but an outfit that the 23-year-old Louisiana native has worn to every concert he has attended since purchasing the gold jacket online last December. The jacket — which closely resembles the jacket that Elvis Presley wore in his 1968 Comeback Special TV program — is now among his most prized possessions, and for good reason.
In May, at the 2013 Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, Bennett tossed the jacket on stage as Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros’ performed Home. To his surprise, frontman Alex Ebert wore the jacket briefly before tossing it back to an ecstatic Bennett.
“I assumed the second I was throwing it up there, that I wasn’t getting it back, because I am in this huge crowd,” Bennett said. “But he gave me this real direct look when he caught it, and he threw it back to me… I just felt this super personal connection.”
“I have a picture of him wearing it on stage, and that will probably be my profile picture until the day that I die,” he added.
Bennett has been an ESMZ fan since he heard Home in the fall of 2010. In October 2010, he attended his first Edward Sharpe concert at The Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans. “I went to the show only knowing that song and left the show in love with the band, more so than I ever really experienced from anyone else,” Bennett said.
Bennett has attended a total of 13 ESMZ concerts, including all five concerts at Big Top and a concert in Austin, Texas where temperatures reached 102 degrees. Each concert, you will find him wearing the same gold jacket and black-sequined pants and mask, however he changes the vest for each show.
See video interview from Big Top