Time travel back to Beatlemania! Whether you want a fun, flower power-flashback to the beginning of the British Invasion or if you missed it the first time, you can surround yourself with everything Fab Four at the annual “Beatles Fest,” in Jersey City. It’s John, Paul, George, & Ringo nirvana.
This year the Fest is March 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson. There are discounts for purchasing tickets in advance and for purchasing 2- or 3-day passes. Go to www.thefest.com for more information and lots of groovy merchandise.
In 1974 Mark Lapidos, a devout Beatle fan, created a celebration of the Beatles in honor of the tenth anniversary of their arrival in the U.S. With the Beatles’ blessings and several of their musical instruments to auction off for charity, he organized a huge weekend convention (read party) that has evolved into an extraordinary mecca for Beatle-philes. Bring your guitar or a tambourine because the hallways are full of strangers and friends spontaneously jamming to Beatles songs. Mark and his family have hosted annual Fests in the New York Metro area, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.
This year’s Fest For Beatle Fans will celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the release of the White album.
Here is some of what will be available:
- Exhibits of artwork created by the musicians themselves.
- Stunning and diverse fan art and professional art.
- A photo exhibit chronicling different stages of the Beatles’ lives.
- The Fab Four’s films at movie screenings.
- Book signings. Every year more Beatles themed books are published and many authors go to the Fest to sell and sign their books.
- A Name That Tune contest and a rousing trivia competition.
- Beatles Yoga and Transcendental Mediation. Bring your yoga mat.
There’s more: In the karaoke room visitors are videotaped singing in front of a green screen, and psychedelic Beatle backgrounds are added to the performance. Find rare treasures and vintage memorabilia The Beatles Marketplace is bursting with Beatle photos and cartoons plastered on merchandise including shirts, dolls, drinking glasses, mugs, books,
Part of the fun is seeing other attendees’ Beatle attire and accessories, from shirts bedazzled with Beatles pins to purses and tote bags.
There’s plenty of live music including a Battle of the Bands and Liverpool, a tribute band, rocking the crowds. Children and adults love the puppet show.
Here are some of this year’s guests:
- Neil Innes from the Rutles (a Beatles parody band) will discuss the Beatles and play songs with the band Liverpool.
- Peter Asher from Peter & Gordon will be talking with all of the musical guests and playing a few acoustic performances. The conversations with the musical guests are intended to include audience participation.
- Randy Bachman from BTO (Bachman Turner Overdrive) and Guess Who also performed in Ringo’s All Star Band. He will be playing George Harrison songs.
- Billy J. Kramer from British Invasion will perform his new show called To Liverpool With Love: The British Invasion Through the Eyes and Ears of Billy J. Kramer. He toured with the Beatles so he has many stories to share.
- Leslie Cavendish was the official Beatles hairdresser for 8 years. He’ll be discussing his time with the boys.
- Peter & Jeremy were a very popular 1960s duo. They will be recounting stories and singing songs.
- Mark Rivera is Ringo’s music director for the All Star Band. He also performed with John in 1975. He will be performing at the Fest.
- Jon Cobert is the pianist on John’s version of Stand By Me. He’ll be playing piano and chatting about John.
- The Orbison Boys, Roy Jr., Wesley, and Alex Orbison will put on a concert with Jeff Slate’s Birds of Paradox. Roy Orbison was close with the Beatles.
- Jeff Slate’s Birds of Paradox will be playing Traveling Wilburys songs to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Wilburys’ inception and in memory of Tom Petty (who passed away recently). The Traveling Wilburys were George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne of ELO.
- Liverpool is a Beatles cover band that performs at all the Fests. Their last performance on Sunday night often includes well-known, surprise guests.
- The Weeklings will be playing songs the Beatles wrote but never recorded in addition to beloved Beatle songs.
- Cellophane Flowers Beatles Tribute is a reinterpretation of Beatles songs arranged for string quartet and voice.
- Ken Dashow has been the Fest emcee for the last 18 years. He hosts a daily Beatles show during the week on Q104.3 and a Sunday Breakfast with The Beatles.
Many Beatle book authors and historians will also be present. Please go to www.thefest.com for an all-inclusive list of guests and scheduled appearances.
The fest draws fans of all ages, from children to grandparents, all joined in their shared love of all things Beatles. Don’t miss it!