Oddly enough, every time I step through the door into a Fest for Beatles Fans – whether it’s held in New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles, I hear Simon and Garfunkel singing. Yeah, you heard me: Simon and Garfunkel.
Oh sure, over the hotel speakers, The Beatles are joyfully “yeah, yeah, yeah-ing their brilliant way across the universe,” as it should be. But in my head, I hear:
“Home where my thoughts escapin’,
Home, where my music’s playin,
Home where my love lies waitin’
Silently for me…silently for me.”
Home. Going to a “Beatlefest” (as we used to call it) means coming home again.
Mark and Carol Lapidos always say that the fest is a Thanksgiving Dinner without the family arguments. And that pretty well sums it up.
All the usual characters are there…the same family members we’ve seen over and over for the past five, ten, twenty (or more!) years. You know, Michelle and Jessica in their flowing, glorious attire and 10-12 inch heels. The man who has every elegant Beatle suit ever tailored. That group who sets up a full band in the lobby and sings away, all night long…and the tanned, smiling man who dances to every, single, solitary song. Mark Hudson with his “love-is-a-many-splendored-beard” and his crazy-mad command of “Working Class Hero.” The fresh, hopeful teens out to win the “Battle of the Beatles Bands.” Jim Demes who works his buns off with a sincere smile ever on his face. Bruce Spizer who barely chuckles when I call him a “Beatleseffin’pedia.” Gregarious Judith, supremely talented Eric, and our sweet friend, Dara.
My family. Our family. Home again.
We do the traditional things. We dance to the sounds of Liverpool’s nightly concerts. We take part in the trivia contest. We go to Jude’s Sunday morning Early Bird speech in the Main Ballroom (Hint! Hint!) on “The 180 Hardest Days of The Beatles Career.” We watch “A Hard Day’s Night” on Friday evening just before the Author’s Symposium. We get autographs from our lifelong heroes…and at least once during the weekend’s span, we just stop and sing along with The Beatles.
It’s at that moment that we remember why we came here: for the friends, of course. For the family. For the fun and the programs and the laughter and the carefree moments out of time. But most of all, we have traveled here to celebrate our champions, The Beatles…to lift a glass or two and say, “Those were the days my friend.” To remember.
We stand beneath the posters of their bright, 1960’s smiles, and we recall a time less harried, less riddled with care, less uncertain, and less angry. We remember the hope that was ours and the days that stretched ahead golden and full of promise. And it reminds us that this can happen again, if only we try…if only we stay true to those things in which we once so ardently believed.
At the Fest for Beatles Fans, we come home to ourselves…to whom we were and to whom we can be again.
Join me March 20-22 and be reborn. In Rye Brook, New York, YOU are waiting for you. I wouldn’t miss that appointment.
Grab your #TicketToRye RIGHT HERE
Jude Southerland Kessler