Schedule of Events
The Fest Shop
The Fest Shop is where the largest online Beatles store in the world comes to life. Beatles apparel, books, DVDs, CDs, Vinyl, books, bags, calendars, posters, kitchen-ware, bedding, towels, blankets, toys, puzzles, ornaments, magnets, stationery, pens, collectables, accessories, and Every other Little Thing you can think of. A vast majority of the items in our webstore will be featured again in the Grand Ballroom complex where we were two years ago.
Giant Beatles Marketplace
The Giant Beatles Marketplace is filled with vendors from as far away as England and all across America, full of an astonishing array of Beatles merchandise. If there’s a Beatles item you’re searching for – no matter how rare – odds are that it’s here. For sale will be collectibles, recordings, videos, vinyl, books, photos, posters, art, & more. The Marketplace is located next to the Main Stage.
Liverpool and Musical Guests In Concert
The Fest's house band since they were wee lads, Liverpool - featuring Drew Hill, John Merjave, Glen Burtnik, and Steve Holley (sitting in for Chris Camilleri) - will thrill FEST-goers with their note-for-note renditions of Beatles hits and deeper Beatles cuts.
Liverpool performs all three nights of each Fest, playing the Dance Party on Friday - featuring our optional 60s Dress-Up and Beatles lookalike contests - and the Saturday and Sunday night concerts will be highlighted by the performance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, note for note, in its entirety - Side One on Saturday and Side Two on Sunday.
Our musical guests -- Neil Innes, Denny Laine, Laurence Juber, Denny Seiwell, Steve Holley, and Mark Rivera, will be joining Liverpool on stage for part of Saturday and Sunday's concerts, with the Grand Jam Finale led by Mark Hudson both nights.
Beatles 60s Dance Party, Look-Alike And Dress-Up Contests
The Annual Friday Night Dance Party to the sounds of a Liverpool concert always gets the weekend off to a high flying start! Do that hippie hippie shake, it’s a great way to meet new Beatle people and let your inhibitions out the (bathroom) window. The Party is an optional 60s Dress-Up Night. Find something you haven't worn for decades - or perhaps something you scoop up at a vintage shop or costume store - and get into the era. Prizes awarded for the Best Outfits. We also have a Lookalike Contest as well as lots of Door Prizes.
Beatles Memorabilia Exhibit & 1960's Beatles Bedroom Recreation - Jeff Augsburger
From the fabulous collection of Jeff Augsburger, who has set up his exhibit at every Chicago FEST for the last 30 years. Jeff has one of the finest collections of Beatles Memorabilia in the world and he is always finding new pieces to enhance the thousands he already shows. We thank Jeff for sharing his collection with us exclusively in Chicago every year. This year, Jeff is setting up what a Beatlemaniac's Bedroom may have looked like circa mid sixties. This is the first time he is doing this and it should be a wonderful addition to the event.
Beatles Museum and Art Contest
Over 53 years of Beatles History is traced here through pictures, articles and some memorabilia. We have done our own version of remastering (and updating) the Museum. Our popular Kids Art Korner is back - it's a place where youngsters can create Beatles art on site, and have it displayed as well! Crayons, papers, and markers are provided. The annual Beatles Art Contest is where you can show off your creativity in an environment that your Beatles artwork can be most appreciated - by other Beatles fans! Don't be shy, bring your artwork this year, or create a new piece just for the contest. You can check in your Art work with Deco, when you arrive. Prizes are awarded in three categories: Professional, Amateur, & 16 years or younger. Ribbons are given to all who enter.
Beatles Sound-Alike Contest
The Beatles Sound-Alike contest is held on Saturday, with tryouts in the afternoon and the finals in the Grand Ballroom in the evening. WDRV's BYRD Hosts the Tryouts, while our MC Terri Hemmert (WXRT) handles the finals. All FEST attendees who are performing as solos or duos are permitted to enter (trios must enter the Battle of the Beatles Bands). A piano/keyboard and acoustic guitar will be provided, but you're free to bring your own instrument(s) if you wish. Sign-up for the contest is done on the spot at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, just in advance of the tryouts.
Battle of the Beatles Bands
The Battle of the Beatles Bands is always one of the highlights of the weekend! Taking place on Sunday late afternoon, the contest is open to all bands consisting of FEST attendees. Each group will play one or two Beatles or solo Beatles songs in the main ballroom, with the audience serving as the judge for this exciting and fun contest.
Participating bands only need to bring guitars, cords for their instruments, drumsticks and their FEST tickets. All other equipment is provided by the FEST. To enter, you must sign up by July 21, either by phone (1-866-THE FEST), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by mail when ordering your tickets. Prizes are awarded to the winning band.
Live Beatles Trivia Game Shows & Name that Tune
Wally Podrazik is the Host for the Live Trivia Game Shows and Tom Frangione Hosts the Name That Tune Competitions each day. Questions range from very easy to quite difficult and it's how quick you recall the answers that makes the difference. Brush up on your trivia, as all contestants are picked from the audience. There will also be some competitions for the younger fans in attendance. Al Sussman, who has been writing a majority of the Trivia Questions since our first FEST in 1974 will assist where needed.
Guest Author Discussions & A/V Presentations
Over the past 42 years of the FEST (nationally), we’ve been piecing together the story of the Beatles guest by guest - those that knew The Beatles and those that have written about them. That will continue this year, as our Beatles authors and experts discuss the Fab Four and the lasting impact they’ve made on society. We have a very impressive line up of Beatles experts as moderators over the weekend. They are Tom Frangione, Al Sussman, and Wally Podrazik.
Marc Rubinstein – Pig Light Show
For those old enough to remember the Fillmore East, an important part of the shows was the Joshua Light Show. Marc Rubinstein was mentored by Joshua and progressed to the Pig Light Show. Marc will be adding visual spice to Liverpool’s concerts as well as for The Weeklings.
Our Beatles Auction will be held on Saturday afternoon. Anyone is welcome to bring their rare items to enter on the day of the show. We cannot guarantee everything gets in but we will try our best to accommodate. The auction is where some great bargains can be found. If you have any unique items for the auction, please let us know when ordering your tickets.
How has The Beatles' message and spiritual teachings transcended to today, 50 years later? Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream to find your inner light in The Fest's Beatles Ashram. Learn about the Transcendental Meditation technique, the spiritual avenue popularized by The Beatles on their well-known trip to India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Throughout the weekend, the room will feature today's yoga and mindfulness innovators as they share their practices of yoga, sound healing, poetry and words of wisdom.
Hey Beatles geniuses, put on your Fab coats! The FABoratory made its debut two years ago, and invites you to dissect songs, play Beatles games, invent the future of being a Beatles fan, and use your imagination. Stop by any time to play, to leave your Magical Mystery theories and Mad Fab scientist notes on the wall. Limited space in each session.
School of Rock Chicago
School of Rock, a performance-based music school for kids ages 8-18, will be performing two special sets at the Fest on Sunday -- one on the main stage and another on the Apple Jam stage. The kids from School of Rock have wowed audiences at Lollapalooza, Milwaukee Summerfest, and Ringo Starr's Art Exhibition at the Hard Rock Cafe. We're thrilled to be welcoming them to their second Fest For Beatles Fans!
The Pepperland Rockestra Strings
The full Pepperland Rockestra will be performing on the Apple Jam stage, but we'll also be getting a special separate performance from their strings section, who will be mixing in some Beatles tunes you might not think of as strings tunes -- but that will blow you away!
Sgt. Sauerkraut’s Polka Band
Sgt. Sauerkraut's Polka Band returns to The Apple Jam stage playing high-powered polka versions of your favorite Beatles songs! Many bands imitate John, Paul, George and Ringo, but only Sgt. Sauerkraut can bring you the rockin' polka hits of Wally, Stanley, Dickie and Stosh! Their unique instruments (pogo cello, washbitar, tamboranjo and electric washtub bass) add to the fun. This is definitely a not-to-be-missed experience!
Beatles Ukulele Strum-Along with GiGi Wong-Monaco & Clar
The Uke Strum-Along returns for its third go-around! So bring your ukes and enthusiasm! Join Chicago’s long-time ukulele player, teacher, and organizer, GiGi Wong-Monaco of Wonderwall Music Shoppe & Ukulele Meetup Group as she leads everyone in Beatles songs on ukuleles!
The Beatles Karaoke Room
Terry Palmer will head up The Beatles Karaoke Room. Terry has been us for quite some time and brings years of experience and expertise to this room where fans can come and sing along to almost any Beatles and many solo Beatles songs. There will be lots of fun going on here.
Celebrity Art with Neal Glaser
Neal Glaser of Celebrity Art started with us 20 years ago as a traveling John Lennon art show and now is the exclusive distributor for Paul McCartney's artwork and the publisher of Ringo Starr's Computer Art. Showing at The Fest, this is the only exhibit that features the signed artwork of John, Paul and Ringo all together. This is an incredible showcase of The Beatles' multiple talents. Come see this one-of-a-kind exhibit and maybe walk away with a hand-signed Beatles masterpiece.
Eric Cash Exhibit - Beatles Fine Artist
Internationally acclaimed artist Eric Cash is back again this year at the FEST displaying and selling his traditional style oil paintings. He continues to be one of the most well known Beatles artists going. He will be featuring new works along with his children's book, Once Upon A Time in Liverpool, that he illustrated and co-produced with Beatles author Judith Kristen.
Beatles Video & A/V Presentations
There are so many exciting activities going on at any one time at The FEST that sometimes fans need to stop by our Video Room to sit back, relax, and float downstream with a wide variety of Beatles and solo Beatles material, running for most of the weekend. Most of the footage is from the Steve Shorten Collection.
Throughout the weekend many Door Prizes are handed out at random to FEST attendees from the Hudson Ballroom Stage. Items such as T-Shirts, Books, CDs, DVDs, Posters, Cirque du Soleil merchandise, promotional material, etc.
There will also be a number of Charity Raffles at the FEST, with the money raised going to causes such as Spirit Foundations and The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence. Since we began, in 1974, we have raised $600,000.00 for various charities.
For the Little Child
As more second generation Beatles fans are having children, we are expanding our show to include more activities geared to the 12 and under crowd. Here are the events in headline form. The fuller descriptions are found in the activity details.
1. Mr. Ray's Beatles 4Kids Concert - Saturday
2. Beatles Parade – Saturday afternoon
3. Kids Korner Art – All weekend in the Art Museum
4. Kids Trivia Contest
5. Kids Name That Tune
6. Kids Beatles Yoga
The Fest for Beatles Fans 2017 - Charities: More than $600,000 Raised since 1974!
Yoko Ono contributes signed pieces at every FEST to help raise more money for the Spirit Foundation, the organization that John and Yoko set up in the late 1970s to be able to donate to good causes anonymously.
Yoko has continued this, donating millions over the years. We will be raising funds through our Charity Raffles and Charity Auction items.
COALITION TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE
The FEST has been raising money and awareness for the Coalition To Stop Gun Violence since early-1981. It is 36 years since we lost John to a crazed person with easy access to a handgun and there is still a lot more progress that needs to be done to cut down on the amount of gun violence that still exists in America.