2016 New York Metro Fest Recap!

Dear Beatles Family,

 

What a weekend we had at the Fest in New York!

 

John, Paul, George, and Ringo did it again…the unity and atmosphere over the weekend was truly remarkable to see, and we have YOU to thank for it.

 

At #FESTCHESTER, thousands of Beatlemaniacs came together at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York to celebrate all things Beatles, including the 50th Anniversary of Revolver. 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 New York Metro Fest, our first album on Facebook from the Fest’s Danny Abriano is already up HERE, as is Michelle Joni’s first album HERE. We’ll be adding more albums in the coming days, so be on the lookout! We’ll also be putting together a fans album, so be sure to tag your pics with #FESTCHESTER if you haven’t already.

 

Also head to and subscribe to our YouTube page, where videos from the New York Metro Fest have already gone up and many more are on the way!

 

The hotel started to fill with fans early in the week, and excitement built up as we set up the hotel. Lobby jams started, Beatles music started pumping both inside and outside the hotel, and fans explored the spacious and serene Hilton Westchester, preparing for the fab three days that were to come.

 


 

The FEST officially kicked off at 5 PM on Friday, April 15 as fans 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 PETER ASHER, CHAD AND JEREMY, BILLY J. KRAMER, MIKE PENDER, MARK RIVERA, MARK HUDSON, and LOUISE HARRISON, most of whom joined emcee KEN DASHOW of Q104.3 (he called himself “hopalong Ken” over the weekend) on Friday night for a chat.

 

 

 

 

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 to see them perform ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

 

 

 

 

To go along with our incredible musical guests, the weekend also featured some amazing Sound Alike and Battle of the Beatles Bands competitors. Fab Forward won the Battle of the Bands, while last year’s winners, Yesterday and Today, snagged second place.

 

 

 

 

Our tradition of the ‘Beatles Gratitude Wall’ continued, and was where fans wrote and hung signs — both of the tongue in cheek and serious variety — showing their gratitude to the Beatles…

 

 

The FABoratory, one of our newest additions, where fans had the chance to turn into Beatles Magicians, Mad Fab Scientists, and teachers, was such a blast…

 

 

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

 

PETER ASHER joined forces with CHAD AND JEREMY for two special musical memoir concerts

 

 

 

MIKE PENDER of The Searchers and BILLY J. KRAMER united for a concert on Saturday afternoon, featuring Billy’s hot band including the legendary Liberty Devitto on Drums. Billy J. also world premiered his autobiography, Do You Want To Know A Secret at the FEST, and has signed a bunch of copies for us to sell to those of you who couldn’t be there.

 

 

 

 

JEFF SLATE’S BIRDS OF PARADOX, featuring members from John Lennon’s Elephant’s Memory band, rocked the house

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform “Slippin’ and Slidin'”

 

 

String quartet CELLOPHANE FLOWERS, featuring JEFF LUBIN, made their second Fest appearance, again wowing the crowd on two stages with their Beatles arrangements

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘Penny Lane’

 

 

THE WEEKLINGS, playing songs the Beatles wrote but never officially released, their Beatles-inspired originals, and other Beatles cuts, took the stage on Sunday

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘It Won’t Be Long’

 

 

And SCHOOL OF ROCK from Bedford, New York gave us a glimpse into the future with their performances on Sunday

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’

 

 

The Apple Jam Stage, which has become an integral part of the Fest experience, rocked all weekend with New York jam band THE MEETLES, Fest staple THE BOOTLEGS, SCOTT ERICKSON playing deeper Beatles cut, JANNA PELLE tickling the ivories, Beatles mixes with DJ SUN QUEEN & DJ MADONNA, MR. RAY’s children’s concert, 12-year-old guitarist/vocalist extraordinaire MOLLY JEANNE, JACQUI ARMBRUSTER (whose pipes and guitar playing are otherworldly), Criminal Trio BANDITS ON THE RUN, the incomparable MICHELLE JONI, CELLOPHANE FLOWERS (a teaser set before their main stage set), the uniquely talented OWL AND WOLF, BRUTE FORCE of King of Fuh fame, SCHOOL OF ROCK, enchanting trio TRIPLE G, and the supremely talented LENNON & KATIE of Youth Be Told.

 

HEAD HERE to see Jacqui Armbruster perform ‘Oh! Darling’

 

HEAD HERE to see Bandits On The Run perform ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’

 

HEAD HERE to see Triple G perform ‘Something’

 

 JACQUI ARMBRUSTER (with surprise drop-in MARK HUDSON)

SCOTT ERICKSON

THE MEETLES

DJ SUN QUEEN & DJ MADONNA

 BANDITS ON THE RUN

TRIPLE G

LENNON & KATIE OF YOUTH BE TOLD

 

All weekend, after the scheduled performances had concluded, the Apple Jam Stage opened up for the fans, who jammed into the wee hours of the morning.

 

MARK RIVERA —  who was otherwise occupied, as Billy Joel’s sax player — was only able to make it on Saturday, but put on a tremendous performance with Liverpool

 

 

JON COBERT, who recorded with John Lennon, performed with JEFF SLATE’S BIRDS OF PARADOX during their concert earlier on Saturday and joined in for the Musicians’ Forum

 

 

 

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 works by professionals, amateurs, and kids, all who took home prizes. In the Professional division, Eddie Colacci took first place for his 3D album covers, while Regina Gelfer’s ‘Celebrate the Beatles’ came in second. In the amateur division, Rachel Bremlist took first place for her Revolver mosaic, Nancy Lennon’s Yellow Submarine bathroom tower decoupage finished in second, and Gene Brady’s Help! silhouette finished third. For kids 16 and younger, Sophie Feldman took the top prize for her Paul at the piano pencil sketch. We thank Deco for continuing to do such a great job with the Art Museum.

 

 

 

At his 20th Fest, MR. PUPPET BOB ABDOU took to the main stage for a special performance and also led our fifth annual Beatles parade, which was Yellow Submarine-themed this year

 

 

The New York Metro Fest was also the weekend home to over a dozen Beatles authors and historians, including BRUCE SPIZER, VIVEK TIWARY, DAVID BEDFORD, JUDE SOUTHERLAND KESSLER, AL SUSSMAN, TOM FRANGIONE, CHUCK GUNDERSON, PIERS HEMMINGSEN, CANDY LEONARD, KIT O’TOOLE, JOHN KRUTH, MICHAEL STARR, ANTHONY ROBUSTELLI, KENNETH WOMACK, GREG STERLACE, AND JUDITH KRISTEN.

 

 

The Fest also featured the Marketplace and Vendor Room, where fans could get Every Little Beatles Thing they desired

 

 

 

Meanwhile, when Festers weren’t busy dancing, jamming in every nook of the hotel, and parading, 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, ERIC CASH), and more.

 

 

 

Many also took refuge in our Beatles Ashram, which featured yoga classes for adults and kids, and intro sessions to Cosmic Consciousness with the teachers of Transcendental Meditation.

 

 

Other highlights from the weekend were Live Beatles Trivia and Name That Tune hosted by Al Sussman and Tom Frangione, a fan winning a trip to Las Vegas to see The Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil, and the always spectacular Pig Light Show that accompanied Liverpool’s performances.

 

For our sixth Annual Las Vegas Beatles Love Getaway Sweepstakes, the winner, was not present, but Michelle Joni phoned her from the stage and she was home. We all heard her very excited reaction. Pictured below is last year’s winner, Carl Maltzman, who told the crowd what a great time he had.

 

 

Below, Michelle Joni and Tom Frangione show the Spirit Foundation grand prize that Yoko sent for the FEST. And the winner of the prize poses for a pic

 

 

As always, the Musicians’ Forum on Sunday was a treat, as were the Saturday and Sunday night concerts that saw LIVERPOOL play Revolver in its entirety and other Beatles cuts before the stage opened to MARK RIVERA, MIKE PENDER, BILLY J. KRAMER, and MARK HUDSON.

 

We also want to send out a huge THANK YOU to STEVE HOLLEY, who immediately jumped in upon hearing Chris had an accident over the winter and would not be fully ready to play the entire weekend. He did a fantastic job.

 

 

Drew, John, Glen, and Chris of Liverpool — with a little help from Steve Holley — were fantastic all weekend, kicking things off with the Dance Party on Friday night, playing Side 1 of Revolver and more on Saturday, and finishing things up in thrilling fashion on Sunday night by performing Side 2 of Revolver and even more Beatles cuts.

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘Love You To’

 

HEAD HERE to see them perform ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’

 

 

 

 

MARK HUDSON then joined in and he and Liverpool tore through the jams — including an epic rendition of the Joe Cocker version of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends — before wrapping things up with ‘Hey Jude.’

 

HEAD HERE to see Mark Hudson & Liverpool perform ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’

 

 

 

After the New York Metro Fest officially came to a close, the jamming continued into the wee hours of Monday morning, with Fest founder Mark Lapidos leading everyone in a rendition of “Here Comes The Sun” before Festers playing until the sun came up and people started going about their Monday morning business. This is our continued 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 #FESTCHESTER 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 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 all things Beatles for our 42nd year in New York!

 

We are already gearing up for the Chicago Fest, taking place August 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinios. Details will be released at TheFest.com in late-May, so keep an eye out!

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The definitive Paul McCartney biography available at the Fest Shop!

Available for pre-order at the Fest Shop (publish date of May 3) is Paul McCartney: The Life, by Philip Norman.

 

The definitive biography of Paul, all copies ordered through the Fest will be bookplate signed by the author.

 

Paul has given Philip Norman his approval to write this book, opening doors to family and friends, making it the biography.

 

Since the age of twenty-one, Paul has lived  the ultimate rock-n-roll life played out on the most public of stages. Now, Paul’s story is told by rock music’s foremost biographer (Shout and John Lennon: The Life) with McCartney’s consent and access to family members and close friends who have never spoken on the record before. PAUL McCARTNEY: THE LIFE reveals the complex character behind the facade and sheds new light on his childhood–blighted by his mother’s death but redeemed by the father who introduced him to music. Packed with hundreds of pages of new information and critical insights. Hardcover 864 Pages.

 

Author Philip Norman teases the book below…

 

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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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Fest Announcement: The Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil winner

Woooohooo!!! We are so very excited to announce the winner of our Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas sweeps, right here right now! We had over 12,000 entries — over 12,000 answers to the question “Which Beatles songs describe you best?” (We’ll post results soon!)

On Sunday night at the Fest, I (Michelle Joni) randomized four winners on WooBox. I wrote their names and songs on hearts. The young gentlemen and little lady you see here helped spread LOVE buttons to everyone in the audience during the door prizes. Then, they came up to the stage and held the hearts to their hearts, and one by one announced the name of the song on their heart. As each little child said the song, the audience cheered if they felt it described them too. The loudest cheers went to A Hard Day’s Night (you’ve all been working like a dog, huh!?)

Photo via John Dawson

And the name on the heart was Viviana Adams! Congratulations… your hard day ends with two fabulous nights in Las Vegas at the Mirage Hotel and Casino! Your Vegas escape includes two tickets to see The Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil, dinner for two at the Mirage, VIP gift bags, and flights there and back.

Viviana, from Porter, Texas, was completely shocked when she got the Facebook message that she won. After convincing her this was forrealz (Nothing is real….but this is!) she was sooooo excited!!! I asked her a few questions:
 
Michelle :: Firstly. Can you send some Beatles selfies and a note to the fans to post when we announce your win?

Viviana :: Thank you so much for the prize, I’ve never won anything like this! I am so thrilled I am still so excited. Thank you so much, I can’t wait.
 
Michelle :: Yay! When did you first fall in love with The Beatles?
 
Viviana :: The first time I fell in love I was 15. I saw the Beatles Anthology and was so amazed by them and how hard they worked, and how they stayed true to themselves. They were not afraid to try something new. The music was amazing! I had heard it before when I was a little younger and my mother played it. Listening to their music it felt like I found…home. A place were I belong.
 
Michelle :: Wow! That is beautiful. So, have you ever been to Vegas or seen the LOVE show before?
 
Viviana :: No, but I have the LOVE show on DVD!
 
Michelle :: So cool! How many times have you watched it? Like, once – or a lot?
 
Viviana :: a lot LOL.
 
Yay!!! And we are still chatting. I’ll add more here if she says anything else awesome and I suspect she will.
 
I love telling people they just won a trip to Vegas. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job! The bearer of the best. news. ever. I’m so excited.
 
I should make a Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil Hall of Fame with all our groovy winners! Yes, I will do that. Viviana is our eighth winner, which makes kinda makes me wish her name was Henry. Peter Noone would have gotten a kick out of that one!
 
Thank you to the team at LOVE Cirque du Soleil and the Mirage for making this possible, and making so many people feel the perpetual love of The Beatles in such a magical, spellbinding way.
 
Next stop Los Angeles — our next winner gets picked Sunday at the LA Fest – October 12th. You don’t have to be there to win but you won’t regret it if you are!!!
 
Stay tuned for yet another chance to win the Beatles LOVE trip to Las Vegas!

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Recap: The 2014 NYC Fest

Last month, over 8,000 Beatles fans from 45 states and 5 continents gathered at the Grand Hyatt on 42nd street for the biggest and best New York area Fest in our 40 year history!
 
It began Friday morning on February 7th, when the Fest sent two busloads of fans from the Hyatt in Manhattan to JFK Airport in Queens to commemorate the exact moment in 1964 when The Beatles stepped off PanAm flight 101.
 

Donovan brings the house down with Liverpool

50 years to the day of the arrival of The Beatles in America, months of perseverance paid off with help from Q104.3 and the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey. With fans and media gathered at the TWA flight center at JFK, the Port Authority revealed a permanent Beatles plaque that marked the historic occasion.
 
As fans screamed and flashed homemade signs, our incredible house band Liverpool shook the airport with two live sets of Beatles hits. Ken Dashow of Q104.3 was on hand to deliver some remarks, and introduced Billy J. Kramer, Mark Rivera, The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, and John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird to the crowd.
 

Fest attendees had the opportunity to look back on 40 amazing years of the Fest

The event was a huge hit, and was covered on hundreds of newscasts later in the day.
 
Back in Manhattan, the Fest began at 5PM in 20 ballrooms and meeting rooms and it wasn’t long before everyone realized it was going to be a very special weekend full of lots of surprises. Our special musical guests – Donovan, Peter Asher, Billy J. Kramer, Chad & Jeremy, Mark Rivera, and Mark Hudson, were just the beginning.
 

Pattie Boyd poses with Carol Lapidos

Fest fans go wild at JFK Airport

Other musical guests – many previously unannounced – included Denny Laine (Wings), Neil Innes (The Rutles/Monty Python), Gene Cornish (The Rascals), and Terry Sylvester (The Hollies). Also rocking the Fest were The Smithereens, The Nutopians, and Birds of Paradox (featuring Steve Holley and John Lennon’s former band members Gary Van Scyoc & Adam Ippolito). Of course, Liverpool headlined the nightly Beatles concerts. We thank Steve Holley, who did a tremendous job pinch hitting for Chris Camilleri.
 
A wonderful surprise, Pattie Boyd joined us for most of Saturday for a great talk and a signing session. Along with Pattie, our non-musical guests contributed greatly to the festive spirit of the weekend. “Good Ol” Freda Kelly, Mark Lewisohn, Larry Kane, and 20 other guest authors and panelists helped fill the weekend with lots of great moments. Let us not forget Vince Calandra, Irene Katz & Alice Kestin, who told stories of what it was like to be at the Ed Sullivan Theatre or the Plaza Hotel during the weekend 50 years ago when The Beatles conquered America.
 

The Fest’s 40th anniversary cake/cupcake mosaic – presented by Baked by Melissa

Also spicing up the weekend were two live broadcasts. Saturday, Cousin Brucie, the legendary DJ who now hosts 60s on 6 on SiriusXM, took over the main stage for three hours to celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of The Beatles. Besides all of our musical guests joining Cousin Brucie, Ronnie Spector appeared and sang a great version of Be My Baby. Sunday Morning, Ken Dashow’s Breakfast With The Beatles aired live from The Cavern, where Billy J. Kramer & his band, Dana Fuchs, and Garrett Gardner (NBC’s The Voice) all performed live.
 

Cousin Brucie gets the crowd going

The Cavern was a highlight of the New York Fest, a brand new second ballroom of live music that featured more than a dozen up and coming bands, DJs spinning Beatles songs, live painting, and more. Among the highlights: Garrett Gardner brought the house down, Michelle Joni premiered her tribute to Yoko Ono’s Bad Dancer and sang with Michelle My Pelle, acclaimed singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson graced the stage, and Mark Lewisohn joined Bambi Kino for some very early Beatles jams. Other artists included Dani Mari, The Ferocious Few, People At Parties, DJ Natasha Blank, Josh Max, Peculiar Gentlemen, Cheap Sneakers, Odetta Hartman, Rony’s Insomnia, and Nick Demeris. The Cavern went to 2 AM on Friday & Saturday nights for those who still had energy left, and ended with a Fest after-party Sunday featuring Reserved For Rondee, who blew the crowd away with their unique style.
 
The new events at the Fest proved to be very popular. The Ashram, a mind-body-Beatles experience, featured yoga, guest lecturer (Dear) Prudence Farrow, sound healing, talks on modern spirituality inspired by George Harrison, Deco’s poetry jam, and more. The Modern Drummer Drum Symposium was packed, and featured Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel), Danny Seraphine (Chicago), Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge), Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors), Steve Holley (Wings), Dennis Diken (Smithereens), and Shawn Pelton (SNL Sessions), world class drummers who paid tribute to Ringo Starr – the greatest drummer of them all. Also new this year were sold out New York City Beatles Walking Tours on Saturday & Sunday, and “We Can Write It Out” with Mark Hudson, where songs were created during each session.

Other highlights from the weekend were Photographers Bob Gruen, Allan Tannenbaum, and Rob Shanahan, and Artist Eric Cash showing their amazing exhibits, the incredible 40th anniversary Fest cake that was presented by Baked by Melissa on Saturday night, puppet shows and a parade led by Bob Abdou, a children’s concert by mr. RAY, two couples who got married the day of the Fest before coming to the Fest together for a “Beatlemoon,” Beatles trivia, “Yesterday and Today” winning the Battle of the Beatles Bands, Jeff Goldberg winning a trip to Las Vegas to see Beatles LOVE, and of course all of the late night jams throughout the hotel!
 

Shawn Pelton, Carmine Appice, Danny Seraphine, and Liberty Devitto pose at the Modern Dummer Symposium

We are currently gathering all of the pictures from The Fest. Many more pictures of all the guests and events will be shared in emails, on Facebook, and via www.thefest.com in the coming days and weeks!
 
We’d like to give a special thank you to Q104.3 for being a wonderful presenting sponsor. The Touch Tunes Karaoke and the Nation-wide sing-along led by Ken Dashow in the Q104 Lounge were big hits. We’d also like to thank The Grand Hyatt, who did a terrific job hosting the Fest. Most of all, thank you to all the guests and fans who came to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ arrival in America and the 40th anniversary of the Fest for Beatles Fans with us. You all helped to make it the special event that it was. We look forward to Chicago and Los Angeles later this year and many more Fests to come!

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Come to JFK Airport with The Fest on Feb 7th

Beatles fans swarm above the group after the band landed at JFK Airport on February 7th, 1964.


 
In partnership with the Port Authority and Q104.3 FM, The Fest For Beatles Fans will be hopping on buses and heading out to JFK Airport this Friday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of The Beatles in America.
 
On February 7th, 1964, The Beatles were alerted mid-flight that there was an enormous crowd waiting for them at the airport. Shortly after, they landed at JFK and were welcomed by thousands of screaming fans. The Beatles then held their first U.S. press conference at the airport before heading to the Plaza and Central Park. Two days later, they made their Earth-shattering appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
 
On February 7th, 2014, the 50th anniversary of the arrival of The Beatles at JFK will be recognized and commemorated at the TWA Flight Center (located in JFK’s Central Terminal Area, adjacent to JetBlue’s Terminal 5).
 
With hundreds of screaming fans who are coming to the airport courtesy of Q104.3 to honor the Fab Four, the event will kick off at 11:30 AM and will include the unveiling of a Beatles historical airport marker by the Port Authority and live Beatles music by The Fest’s amazing house band Liverpool.
 
FEST FANS: Come celebrate with us!
 
The buses are all filled, but you can still meet up at the main entrance to the Grand Hyatt at 109 E 42nd Street. All who wish to come can take the train together to JFK Airport to the TWA Flight Center. It is probably faster than taking the Bus! See you there.
 
Just like our Fest Street Team did last Saturday, come with your
Beatles signs and style like it’s 1964!

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Chicago FEST Starts Tomorrow – Friday, Aug 9th

Here it is, early Thursday morning, and the set up is well under way. Today guests begin to arrive and everything goes into high gear. We have three days (tomorrow through Sunday) of Beatles excitement, energy, fun, premieres, live music, concerts, and all the other things that have made The Chicago FEST so popular for the past 37 years. So come one and come all, if you love The Beatles, this is the place to be. Advance tickets still available online through today. Individual day tickets will be available at the door. Go to our web page for all details. We hope you can join us.

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