2015 Chicago Fest Recap

Dear Beatles Family,

WOW CHICAGOLAND, how we love you! What a Fest weekend that was!

 

John, Paul, George, and Ringo did it again…they brought us back together loving them to pieces and recognizing everything they’ve done for our lives! Celebrating 39 years in Chicago, chilling with our Fest Besties, learning new stuff, jamming all the while…we have all of you to thank for it.

 

At #ChiFest15, thousands of Beatlemaniacs from 32 states, Canada, Mexico, Italy, England, and Australia came together at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois to celebrate all things Beatles, including the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles’ earth-shattering concert at Shea Stadium and the 50th Anniversary of Help! This is our collective recap…

 

 

 

If you get to the bottom of this email and these pics aren’t enough for your vicarious re-living of the Chicago Fest, check out the Fest’s Danny Abriano’s Facebook album HERE head, see Carol Lapidos of the Fest’s album HERE, and head HERE to scope out our fans album, and Michelle Your Belle just uploaded 600 pics from from her iPhone.

 

Also be sure to head to and subscribe to our YouTube page, where more than a dozen videos from the Chicago Fest have already gone up and many more are on the way!

 

(picture below from @liz_fletcher on Instagram)

 

The hotel started to fill with fans as early as Monday, and excitement built up as we set up the hotel. Lobby jams started, the Hyatt staff put on their own HELP! shirts, and fans explored the bustling and festive Hyatt Regency O’Hare, preparing for the fab three days that were to come.

 

The FEST officially kicked off at 5 PM on Friday, August 14 as fans came in from the heat and brought their Beatley swagger with them to more than a dozen ballrooms throughout the hotel. Along with our band, Liverpool, perfectly recreating Beatles tracks note for note, our guests included Terry Sylvester, Bob Eubanks (who hosted the first ever Beatleywed Game!), Billy Kinsley, Jack Oliver, Louise Harrison, Mark Rivera, Dick Biondi (below with emcee Terri Hemmert), and Mark Hudson.

 

 

 

Friday night continued on with the 60s Dress Up contest and Dance Party –- where Liverpool treated Festers to three rocking sets of Beatles tunes. Head HERE for a video of Liverpool performing “Please Please Me” and head HERE to see them perform “Old Brown Shoe.”

 

 

 

 

To go along with our incredible musical guests, the weekend also featured some amazing Sound Alike and Battle of the Beatles Bands competitors. Eric Howell blew the crowd away while winning the Sound Alike contest singing ‘Something,’ and BEATLEJUICE (below) snagged the Battle of the Bands crown after performing an amazing version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ that included a string quartet. Head HERE to watch their winning performance.

 

 

Our tradition of the ‘Beatles Gratitude Wall’ continued, and was where fans wrote and hung signs showing their gratitude to the Beatles…

 

 

The We All Shine On wall was new this year, to remember the people we love who we’ve lost. WOW, look at that diamond sky we created!

 

 

The FABoratory, our newest addition, where fans had the chance to turn into Beatles Magicians, Mad Fab Scientists, and teachers, was such a blast. Thank you to all the FAB fans who created truly exciting new elements of the Fest with your out-of-the-box ideas! ‘I Met A Beatle For Real’ was the real life version of Sara Schmidt’s blog, and boy were there some juicy stories of Beatle-meeting. Willa and Libby brought an awesome hand-painted face-hole exhibit called ‘I Saw The Photograph,’ and Lanea Stagg made the most delicious truffles in the world for us with her ‘Savoy Truffle’ culinary experience! We did an improv reenactment of The Beatles meeting Elvis with Ivor Davis, sideburns and all. Beatles bubbles were blown with Jeanie McNicol, and ‘Beatles Beat The Clock’ with Bob Abdou got super whipped-creamy, pie-in-the-face style at the end.

 

Photo below is on Her Majesty’s Throni, c/o of @paypay_beela12 on Instagram.

 

 

The live music of the weekend wasn’t limited to the nighttime concerts…

 

School of Rock Chicago took to the stage on Saturday afternoon (head HERE to see them perform ‘Dig A Pony’), and Girls Next Door A Cappella from the University of Illinois performed on Saturday night –- singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to a surprised and delighted Louise Harrison and performing a chills-inducing version of ‘Because.’

 

 

 

Later on Saturday night, Ron Aprea, who played sax on John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges LP, joined Liverpool as they tore through a sizzling version of ‘Whatever Gets You thru the Night.’ See the video HERE.

 

 

On Sunday, The Weeklings played a rollicking set that featured songs the Beatles wrote but never officially released, their Beatles-inspired originals, and other Beatles cuts.

 

 

That wasn’t all…

 

The Apple Jam Stage made its Chicago Fest debut, where an amazing assortment of solo artists, bands, and DJs rocked all weekend long!

 

After Michelle My Pelle and DJ Sun Queen & DJ Madonna got the party started on Friday night, Scott Erickson performed deep cuts on both Saturday and Sunday, GiGi Wong-Monaco hosted a ukulele strum, Nick Peay played Beatles tunes on acoustic on Saturday and uke on Sunday, and Phil Angotti & Friends brought the house down with their McCartney-centric show on Saturday and their Lennon-centric show on Sunday. Also delighting fans on the Apple Jam Stage were School of Rock (after their main stage appearance), Sgt. Sauerkraut’s Polka Band, and the Yellow Submorons.

 

On both Saturday and Sunday, after the scheduled performances had concluded, the Apple Jam Stage opened up for the fans, who jammed into the wee hours of the morning.

 

 

Meanwhile, jams were going strong all throughout the hotel all weekend long — sunrise to sundown and beyond…

 

 

As always, the Beatles art contest was a place where fans were treated to some truly great art by professionals, amateurs, and kids, all who took home prizes. Of the many entries in the professional division, Sandra Ragan took home the top prize for her broken glass and ink Abbey Road art. The giant crocheted Beatles flag by Jessica DeJardin took top honors in the amateur division, and Cameron Hicks’ mixed media with melted crayons piece won the top prize for the kids division. We thank Deco for continuing to do such a great job with the Art Museum.

 

 

The Chicago Fest was home to two Beatles marketplaces, the weekend home of 20 of the best Beatles authors in the world, and Terri Hemmert of WXRT, our amazing emcee.

 

When Festers weren’t busy dancing, jamming in every nook of the hotel, and parading (at our fourth annual Beatles Animal Parade which included the new Martha puppet), they took in one of Bob Abdou’s highly entertaining Beatles puppet shows, got memorabilia signed, watched a movie in the Beatles video room, sang Beatles karaoke, toured the photo, Beatles art, and memorabilia rooms (Rob Shanahan, Neal Glaser, Jeff Augsburger), and more.

 

 

 


 

Many also took refuge in our Beatles Ashram, which featured yoga classes for adults and kids, intro sessions to Cosmic Consciousness with the teachers of Transcendental Meditation, Beatles Zumba with GiGi, Deco’s Poetry Jam, and the Ashram’s highlight of the weekend… a talk with Louise Harrison about spirituality — from George’s perspective and her own. “Whatever you do, do it with purity of purpose” Louise told us was one of George’s foundational beliefs and teachings.

 

 

Other highlights from the weekend were We Can Write It Out with Mark Hudson, Live Beatles Trivia hosted by Wally Podrazik and Joan Moran, Name That Tune hosted by Al Sussman and Tom Frangione, Lorie Nolte winning a trip to Las Vegas to see The Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil, nightly Fest recap songs with Danny Donuts (this time with a little HELP! from the FABoratory), a reenactment of Help!, and the always spectacular Pig Light Show that accompanied the concerts on Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

 

 

The amount of Beatles knowledge shared over the weekend by authors/historians Wally Podrazik, Vivek Tiwary, Bruce Spizer, Jude Southerland Kessler, Chuck Gunderson, Andrew Grant Jackson, Paul Skellett, Simon Weitzman, David Schwensen, Dee Elias, Jim Berkenstadt, Jorie Gracen, Jill Davis, Tom Frangione, Al Sussman, Susan Ryan, Robert Rodriguez, Richard Buskin, Anthony Robustelli, Kit O’Toole, and Lanea Stagg was nothing short of incredible!

 

 

As always, the Musicians’ Forum on Sunday was a treat, as was that night’s concert that saw Liverpool play all of the Beatles songs from the Help! film and other Beatles cuts before the stage opened to sax men Mark Rivera and Ron Aprea, Terry Sylvester, Billy Kinsley, and the incomparable Mark Hudson.

 

 

 

Drew, John, Glen, and Chris of Liverpool were fantastic all weekend, kicking things off with the Dance Party on Friday night, playing the entire 1965 Shea Stadium set (50 years to the day!) and more on Saturday, and finishing things up in thrilling fashion on Sunday night after performing all the songs from the ‘Help!’ film and more as Mark Lapidos thrilled everyone while taking to the stage to sing ‘Charlie Brown’ with Mark Rivera, Mark Hudson (The Three Markies) and Liverpool. It was a special moment. Then, everyone came on stage to join in the traditional finale of ‘Hey Jude.’

 

Head HERE to watch Liverpool wrap up the 1965 Shea Stadium set with ‘I’m Down’…

 

Head HERE to watch Mark Lapidos join in on the fun with ‘Charlie Brown’…

 

 

 

After the Chicago Fest officially came to a close, the jamming continued into the wee hours of Monday morning, with Festers playing outside in the front of the hotel until the sun came up and people started going about their Monday morning business. This is a new official tradition — join us next year!

 

 

The fans brought the energy all weekend, with the traditions of Fests gone by seamlessly intertwining with the new events and activities that spiced up the weekend.

 

We are still gathering all of the pictures and videos from The Fest to share, and we want to see all of yours, too! As we did over the weekend, use the hashtag #ChiFest15 to share pictures with us on Instagram and Twitter (@Beatles_Fest), and post pictures on our Facebook wall at Facebook.com/thefest.

 

In addition to the albums that are already up, lots more pictures of all the guests, events, activities, and fans will be shared in emails, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and via email (send them to danny@thefest.com) in the coming days and weeks!

 

We’d also like to thank the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, who did a terrific job hosting the Fest, especially Deb. Most of all, we want to offer another thank you to all the guests and fans who came to celebrate all things Beatles for our 39th summer in Chicago.

 

 

We are already gearing up for the New York Metro Fest, taking place April 15 to 17 at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York. Details will be released at TheFest.com in late-October, so keep an eye out! Hotel rooms are now available, so be sure to call (914) 939-6300 to book yours!

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Hey Jude was released 47 years ago today

From Fest Founder/Director Mark Lapidos…

 

Monday August 26, 1968 at around 10:30AM
Kutsher’s Country Club, Monticello, New York

 

I was working as a waiter in the children’s dining room and was taking my typical morning break between breakfast and lunch, going back to my room, turning on my transistor radio and more often than not, nodding off a bit.

 

Well on this morning I heard a brand new Beatles song and it woke me up. It mesmerized me. But in the coda my brain cells were going on and off. I remember thinking ‘how long is this song,’ then coming back to it a minute (or perhaps only seconds) later and it was still going! After lunch I had a full listen, and here we are 47 years later and it is still my favorite song of all time — Hey Jude.

 

To me, the single (with ‘Revolution’ as the b-side) had the power and impact of an entire Beatles album. I don’t know how else to explain it.

 

If I drove to my college classes and Hey Jude was on the radio, I always waited for the song to finish before heading in. I still do (but not always). It has had a profound effect on my life. Three months later, the Beatles put out a double album with 30 songs on it, but they had the class to not include the single on the album. Wonder how Capitol must have felt about that.

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2015 New York Metro Fest Recap

Dear Beatles Family,

 

What an incredible Beatles weekend we all shared March 20-22 at the Fest For Beatles Fans!

 

Kicking off the 41st year of The Fest with the year of Help! couldn’t have been more exhilarating, and we have all of you to thank for it.

 

At #FESTCHESTER, thousands of Beatles fans from 27 states and three continents came together at the sprawling Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York to celebrate all things Beatles, including the 50th anniversary of Help! We love you all. This is our collective recap…

 

If you get to the bottom of this and these pics aren’t enough for your vicarious re-living of the New York Metro Fest, check out our first Facebook album HERE, our second Facebook album HERE, and our fans album HERE.

 

Also be sure to visit and subscribe to The Fest’s YouTube page, where about a dozen videos from the weekend have already gone up and many more are on the way!

 

Below is an image from Fester @Danielleeee019 on Instagram…

 

 

THE FEST began on the first day of Spring, Friday, March 20, when the hotel started to fill with fans who gathered for afternoon jams, explored the spacious Hilton Westchester, and prepared for the three amazing days and nights that were to come.

 

Before the day’s events got going, THE FEST was welcomed during a press conference put together by the Office of the County Executive for Westchester County. During the press conference, THE FEST was given a Proclamation that declared March 20-22, 2015 to be “Beatles Fan Weekend” in Westchester County!

 

 

THE FEST officially kicked off at 5 PM on Friday as fans came in from the snow (yes, it was snowing) and brought their Beatley energy to the Westchester Ballroom as the weekend began. Along with our fantastic band, Liverpool (CLICK HERE to watch them play ‘Any Time At All’), our musical guests included Gary Wright, Laurence Juber, Mark Rivera, and Mark Hudson.

 

Our special guests included Bob Eubanks, Jack Oliver, Russ Titelman, and last minute surprise guest, photographer Bob Gruen.

 

 

 

Friday night continued on with the 60s Dance Party with Look Alike and Dress Up contests.

 

 

To go along with our incredible musical guests, the weekend also featured some fantastic Sound Alike and Battle of the Beatles Bands competitors, with Yesterday and Today (below/photo from band member Johnathan Pushkar) snagging the Battle of the Beatles Bands crown for the second straight year.

 

 

The Sound Alike finalists were all incredible, but the title went to Brianna Faith, who brought the house down with her out of this world rendition of ‘I Am The Walrus.’ Watch a clip of Brianna’s winning performance HERE.

 

Our tradition of the ‘Beatles Gratitude Wall’ continued, and was where fans wrote and hung tons of signs to answer the question “Why are you grateful for The Beatles?”

 

 

We also added a new, hands-on experience at the New York Metro Fest: The FABoratory, where Festers had the chance to turn into Beatles Magicians and teachers while sharing knowledge and playing music.

 

 

The incredible live music of the weekend wasn’t limited to the nighttime concerts…

 

Jeff Slate’s Birds of Paradox performed a great set of solo-John, solo-Paul and other tunes (CLICK HERE to watch them play ‘Handle With Care’) on Saturday afternoon, featuring Steve Holley and Laurence Juber of Wings and Gary Van Scyoc and Adam Ippolito of the Elephants Memory Band + Jimmy McElligott.

 

 

The Weeklings took to the stage on Sunday afternoon to perform songs the Beatles wrote but never officially recorded, their Beatle-esque originals, and more. CLICK HERE for a video of the group performing ‘You Know What To Do.’

 

 

String quartet Cellophane Flowers, featuring Jeff Lubin, performed on the Act Naturally stage on Sunday – CLICK HERE for a video of the band performing ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ – before heading to the Westchester Ballroom for a two-song performance – ‘Here Today,’ and ‘Yesterday.’

 

 

That wasn’t all…

 

mr. RAY held his fun kids concert, 11-year-old Molly Jeanne thrilled attendees with her vocal chops and ukulele skills, Michelle My Pelle held their open mic night, The Bootlegs took to the stage for a reunion, and harpist Adrienne Knauer spun her beautiful Beatles interpretations.

 

 

As always, the Beatles Art Contest was a place where fans were treated to some truly amazing art by professionals, amateurs, and kids – all who took home prizes. Of the many incredible entries in the professional division, Eddie Colaci won for his great 3D Beatles piece, Rachel Bremilst was the winner in our amateur division for her Help! art, and Anna Maibaum took the ribbon for top kids artwork for her John Lennon portraits. We thank Deco for continuing to do such a great job with the Art Museum.

 

 

The 2015 New York Metro FEST was home to two Beatles marketplaces – The FEST Store and the Vendors Room – the weekend home of over a dozen of the best Beatles authors in the world.

 

 

 

Ken Dashow of Q104.3, was our amazing emcee and he had a little help from his/our friend Tom Frangione.

 

When Festers weren’t busy dancing, jamming in every nook of the hotel, and parading (at our fourth annual Beatles Animals Parade which included the new Martha puppet), they took in one of Bob Abdou’s highly entertaining Beatles Puppet Shows, got memorabilia signed, toured the Photo (Rob Shanahan, Allan Tannenbaum, and Nancy Lee Andrews) and Art (Eric Cash, Neal Glaser, and Ron Campbell) Exhibitions, and more.

 

 

 

Rob, Allan, and Nancy Lee:

 

 

Art from Ron Campbell, Neal Glaser Celebrity Art, and Eric Cash:

 

 

Many also took refuge in our Beatles Ashram, which featured yoga classes with Kenzie Pause and Clarence for adults and kids, intro sessions from the teachers of Transcendental Meditation including Peter Muldavin & Harry Martinian, a Creative Song Journey, an intro to Indian Raga, a Poetry Jam with Deco, and more.

 

 

Other highlights from the weekend were We Can Write It Out with Mark Hudson, and Live Beatles Trivia and Name That Tune hosted by Tom Frangione and Al Sussman. Other guest announcers included Darren DeVivo (WFUV), Fab4Free4All, and Ken Michaels.

 

Thanks to Cirque du Soleil, we gave away a 10th winning a trip to Las Vegas to see The Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil. Winner will be announced shortly.

 

 

We made good use of the pool with our Friday night Pool Party and Sunday Morning water aerobics with Christina Schaeffer. We welcomed back Karaoke Karen, the many films shown in the Beatles Video Room hosted by Steve Shorten, and the always spectacular Pig Light Show by Marc Rubinstein that accompanied the concerts on Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

 

The amount of Beatles knowledge shared over the weekend by authors/historians Vivek Tiwary, Al Sussman, Bruce Spizer, David Bedford, Chuck Gunderson, Jude Southerland Kessler, Susan Ryan, Candy Leonard, David Schwensen, Dee Elias, Anthony Robustelli, and Judith Kristen was nothing short of incredible!

 

 

As always, the Musicians’ Forum on Sunday was a treat, as was that night’s concert that saw Liverpool complete the second side of Help! (they did side one on Saturday, CLICK HERE for their performance of ‘The Night Before’) and other Beatles cuts.

Drew Hill, Glen Burtnik, John Merjave, and Chris Camilleri of Liverpool were fantastic all weekend, and their energy while wrapping up the FESTivities on Sunday night matched the energy of the first song of their Friday night set.

Gary Wright performed Dream Weaver (CLICK HERE for the video), Love Is Alive and To Discover Yourself, plus he did an amazing version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with Liverpool.

 

 

The magic continued as Laurence Juber and Mark Rivera – CLICK HERE to see Mark perform ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ – joined in the jamming with Mark Hudson and Liverpool. All in all, it was an incredible weekend of Live Music at THE FEST!!

 

 

After #FESTCHESTER officially came to a close, the jamming continued into the wee hours of Monday morning, with attendees singing and playing along until the sun came up.

 

 

The energy the fans brought all weekend was amazing. Both the FEST and the fans were thrown a curve when the parking garage collapse at the Empire Meadowlands necessitated a venue change to the Hilton Westchester, and the way the weekend shook out was both memorable and uplifting for all.

 

 

Charities at the FEST:

 

Yoko sent over six signed copies of the See Hear Yoko book in a special canvas bag with other goodies as well. Five were auctioned off for Charity and one was part of the Grand Prize for Sunday’s Spirit Foundation Charity Raffle. Amazingly, the winner was the same winner in last year’s raffle.

 

With one of the Grand Prizes a set of Beatles Luggage for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Raffle on Saturday night, we raised extra money for this importance cause. We also had the Theatre Within join us again to raise awareness of the importance of music education in schools. We also welcomed RockCANRoll for the first time and many of you brought food items and donated much needed funds that will help to feed the less fortunate in our area. We thank you for your participation in these important organizations.

 

 

We’d also like to thank the Hilton Westchester, who did a terrific job hosting the Fest, especially Maura. Most of all, we want to offer another thank you to all the guests and fans who came to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Help!, all things Beatles, and the 41st anniversary of the Fest For Beatles Fans with us.

 

We are already gearing up for the Chicago Fest, taking place August 14 to 16 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. Details will be released at TheFest.com in May, so keep an eye out!

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New Location: The Fest For Beatles Fans NY Metro

As we were preparing for our upcoming FEST FOR BEATLES FANS 2015 – NEW YORK METRO, something very unexpected happened. As many of you have heard, part of the parking garage collapsed on the third floor of the parking deck at the Empire Meadowlands Hotel. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured. After seeing the damage to the Exhibit Center (Marketplace) and the parking structure itself, we realized with lack of on site parking, event space and safety issues, it would be impossible to hold THE FEST there this year. We’ve been working around the clock to come up with a solution and we’re happy to say that WE HAVE!

Fortunately, we found another location! It’s the HILTON WESTCHESTER (699 Westchester Ave, Rye Brook, New York), a spacious, resort-like getaway which just happens to be perfect for THE FEST. With their HELP moving other events around, they cleared the space for THE FEST. It will be the exact same weekend as planned, FRIDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 20-22. For those of you who go way back with us, we actually held THE FEST there in 1982! That was the first year Harry Nilsson was a guest at our NY Metro FEST!

The hotel is beautiful. All guest rooms are large and have been recently renovated. The main ballroom is very spacious and the hotel has lots of other additional ballrooms that are easily accessible to one another that will accommodate all of the activities, events, and exhibits.
The Hilton Westchester has a full service restaurant, room service, a lobby bar, and a snack bar.
There is a giant indoor pool and jacuzzi for hotel guests, which will be a great place to tap into your Inner light with Beatles Yoga and Meditation!
The hotel also has a fitness center, outdoor patios connecting the activity rooms, miles of walking paths and indoor tennis courts! (All You Need is “Love”)
Aside from the new hotel location, everything else will be unchanged. All events, guests, activities, and tickets will be the same. The incredible FEST atmosphere – with jamming until the wee hours – will simply be switched to the Hilton Westchester.

ROOM RESERVATIONS: If you have a room reserved at The Empire Meadowlands, you will have to cancel it (201-348-6900). You will be refunded in full. For those booked at our overflow hotel (The Meadowlands Plaza), they will be contacting you shortly, with a cancellation number. To make a new reservation at the HILTON WESTCHESTER, call 1-800-HILTONS, (Tell them you are coming to THE FEST FOR BEATLES FANS to get the special rate.) or CLICK HERE to reserve online. The room rates are the same – $159.00 Single through Quad. Directions to the hotel can be found on both thefest.com and the Hilton Westchester.

Those who had reserved rooms at the Empire Meadowlands & Meadowlands Plaza will be guaranteed rooms at the Hilton Westchester.
For those of you who were unable to reserve a room at the Empire Meadowlands because it was sold out, you’re in luck! The Hilton Westchester is a bigger hotel, has plenty of rooms available and they’re ready to accommodate you.
For some, this will be a little closer and for others a little further, but still being in the New York Metropolitan area, we found it to be a great choice. It’s very convenient via public transportation. The Hilton is only 12 minutes from the Tappan Zee Bridge and 30 minutes from the GW Bridge. The hotel will even come pick you up from the train station and bring you back, until 1:00AM! It is minutes from the Westchester Airport and very convenient to LaGuardia Airport. There is also plenty of FREE PARKING on site.

We know that we’re throwing everyone a curve and we want to apologize for any inconvenience it may cause. However, the change was necessary for this year and we’re excited to have a real Beatles getaway with you all at the serene Hilton Westchester!

Can’t wait to see you at THE FEST FOR BEATLES FANS!
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Fifty Years of Beatleness!

By Candy Leonard, author of Beatleness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World
 
With the exception of the great visionary Brian Epstein, no one would have predicted that we’d still be listening to and celebrating the Beatles in the 21st century. Across three generations and across the universe, their music continues to bring joy and happiness to millions.
 
Their story continues to fascinate and inspire people of all ages. The Gratitude Wall at the Fests are filled with heartfelt expressions of appreciation for the Beatles being there at life’s most difficult and most joyous moments.
 
When I was working on my book, Beatleness, I realized that there was no word to describe this amazing, complicated, fifty-year, multigenerational, cross-cultural phenomenon and how it makes people feel. I started calling it Beatleness, and it became the title of the book. It’s a way of describing the indescribable! Here are the three definitions of the word as they appear in the book.
 
Beatleness /bē-tl-nəs, bē-tl-nis/
noun
1. qualities or characteristics of the Beatles and their works; a manifestation of the essential qualities that define “the Beatles.”
2. an emotional or spiritual state, condition, or feeling resulting from exposure to or thinking about the Beatles and their works.
3. cultural references and artifacts, tangible and intangible, that evoke the Beatles; artistic or commercial use of words and images associated with the Beatles.
 
We asked you to use the word “Beatleness” in a sentence for a chance to win a copy of the book—and got close to 100 responses! Many of you talked about the Beatleness that was passed to you from your parents or the Beatleness you’re passing on to your children. Others talked about the positive messages of Beatleness. It’s a useful word – let’s keep using it in 2015!
 
Below are the Top Ten responses…
 
James F. Opalecky – If there were more BEATLENESS in the world, we would live in peace and harmony, feeling love for each other! ‬‬
 
Leslie Smith – The apex of Beatleness in my life was seeing Paul McCartney for the first time with my dad. We laughed, sang and cried together. It was a moment of pure music, love, and Beatleness that I hold dear now that my dad is gone.
 
Jennie Ann Hampton – I look at each and every person as an individual regardless of their race, religion or nationality. And I do feel that the Beatleness in my heart is partially responsible.
 
Debra Wallace Karina – Beatleness had entered my soul when I was young and will be with me every day for my entire life. I have shared it with my children !
 
Roger Yee – The world would be a much better place if more “Beatleness” existed.‬‬
 
Dan Vance – I’ve been a Beatle fan since I was a kid living in Europe. I worked hard to impress my kids with Beatleness since they were little kids, and I do believe it worked!!!
 
Marlene Reiter Yuzik – I have always had Beatleness in my life. Ever since I was 10 years old and saw them on Ed Sullivan. I have brought up my three children with Beatleness!!
 
Donna Bornemann – My best Beatleness moment – I had tickets to see Paul 1976 and went into labor so missed the concert and had a beautiful baby girl‬‬
 
Oscar Mayer – The Beatleness was all around and us and still has us under it’s power!‬‬
 
Briana Herzog – My Beatleness is obvious because I named my son Lennon!!!
 
And the winner is……James Opalecky!
 
Congrats, James. And thanks to all who entered!

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Alternate John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

44 years ago today, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was released.
 
The album, which was John’s first legit solo venture, was powerful, raw, honest, and emotional, and is listed at #22 on the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums of All-Time list.
 
Recently, we put together a live version of Rubber Soul. For John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, we’ve put together a version made up of alternate studio takes, acoustic takes, and demos…
 
Mother (alternate studio version):
 

 
Hold On (take 24, with false starts):
 

 
I Found Out (alternate studio version):
 

 
Working Class Hero (demo):
 

 
Isolation (alternate studio version):
 

 
Remember (outtake from studio sessions):
 

 
Love (John Lennon Anthology version):
 

 
Well Well Well (acoustic demo):
 

 
Look At Me (acoustic version):
 

 
God (alternate studio version):
 

 
My Mummy’s Dead (acoustic demo):
 

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Remembering John Lennon

Thoughts from Fest Founder Mark Lapidos on this most somber of days…
 
There is no getting around it. This is the blackest date in Beatles history.
 
34 years later, it still sucks. For many millions of fans it was the worst day of our lives. We can somehow understand how or why politicians and world leaders over the centuries could be assassinated. BUT A MUSICIAN!!!! Not just any musician, but John Lennon.
 
John was so much more than a musician. He became the voice of a generation, spreading peace and love around the world. He was also an artist, writer, husband, father and a dreamer, to name a few.
 
There have been so many books written about John – some really terrific ones and some horrible ones. But just listen to his music, read his words, listen to his interviews – that is where you will find the essence of John.
 
John’s music and spirit will always be with us, so listen to his music today. Put on your favorite Beatles album or favorite solo album, or put on something you haven’t listened to in a while. Think positive thoughts about John and celebrate his life and always remember what he gave us. It is something so ingrained in us, it will last forever. All You Need Is Love.

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Live Rubber Soul

With today being the 49th anniversary of the release of Rubber Soul in the UK, we’ve put together “Live Rubber Soul” – the nine Rubber Soul tracks that have been performed live either by the Beatles or solo Beatles.
 
The Beatles’ decision to retreat full time into the studio after their concert at Candlestick Park in 1966 was a deliberate one. However, as we all know, the group was churning out songs that were either impossible to play live or nearly impossible to duplicate live well before late-1966.
 
Of the 14 tracks on Rubber Soul, nine have been performed live. Two of the songs were regulars on the Beatles’ set list during their final US tour, five have been performed live by Paul McCartney (solo), one was performed live by George Harrison, and one has been performed live by Ringo Starr (solo).
 
The songs on Rubber Soul that have never been performed in concert by the Beatles or solo Beatles: Norwegian Wood, Think For Yourself, Girl, Wait, and Run For Your Life.
 
Drive My Car (Paul McCartney solo)

 
You Won’t See Me (Paul McCartney Solo — first time since 1965 on record)

 
Nowhere Man (at the Circus Krone)

 
The Word (Paul McCartney Solo — first time since 1965 on record)

 
Michelle (Paul McCartney Solo)

 
What Goes On (Ringo Starr Solo)

 
I’m Looking Through You (Paul McCartney Solo)

 
In My Life (George Harrison Solo in 1974)

 
If I Needed Someone (Live in Japan)

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Today in Beatles history: Free As A Bird premieres

On today’s date in 1995, the first part of The Beatles Anthology premiered on ABC…
 
Remembers Fest Founder Mark Lapidos:
 
It was a Sunday night and the excitement was building all evening as they kept promoting the first new Beatles song in 25 years. Of course it was ‘Free As A Bird,’ and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It aired at the end of the show with the promo film, which blew everybody away with all those Beatles references. It received blanket coverage and airplay the next day on almost every radio station and newscast in the country.
 
Capitol even arranged for Beatles Anthology 1 to be in the stores on the next day (Monday), not Tuesday as had been the case for decades. It was a monumental effort to make that happen, and the CD went to #1 and sold a staggering 3 1/2 million copies. ‘Free As a Bird’ would have gone right to #1 as well, but the single was delayed and not released until December.
 
Remembers Fest Social Media Manager Danny Abriano:
 
I had recently turned 12 years old, but I was already a Beatles fanatic by the time Part One of the Anthology aired in 1995. With the internet in its infancy and social media nonexistent, there were no leaks or unauthorized sneak previews of ‘Free As A Bird,’ making the premiere at the end of the night on ABC an incredible and unique experience.
 
As soon as the Anthology 1 album was released, I grabbed my copy – on double-cassette. ‘Free As A Bird’ was the first song on the album, and I played the hell out of that song and pretty much everything else on Anthology 1. For someone who wasn’t around when the Beatles were together, seeing and hearing Paul, George, and Ringo play a new song with John was truly amazing.
 
Here’s the ‘Free As A Bird’ video, interspersed with some behind the scenes moments >>

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