Question: Do you love the Beatles? If that answer is yes (and of course it is — what are you, a savage?!), have you Fest-ed yet? If not, you must.
A huge presence in the fan community since 1974, the Fest for Beatles Fans is three days of geeky bliss where all corners of the fandom unite to immerse themselves in all things Beatles. From music, to art, to historians, to transcendental meditation sessions, there’s something — actually, a million things — for everyone.
The New York Metro Fest is just around the corner (March 9–11), and REBEAT will be on hand for events, panels, and activities the entire weekend. Find us here:
Saturday, 12:00-12:45pm – “Beatles Fandom: The Next Generation” features REBEAT writers Erika White, Louie Pearlman, and Gretchen Unico, along with Anthony Robustelli, and editor Allison Boron moderating. We’ll be talking about why the second-gen experience is important and what the future holds for future generations of Beatles fans..
Saturday, 5:30-6:30pm – “1968/White Album, Pt. 1 – Revolution” discusses the first part of 1968, obviously a crucial year in the Beatles’ history. Erika White and Allison Boron will be panelists; the discussion is moderated by Susan Ryan.
Sunday, 2:10pm – REBEAT editor Allison Boron sits down with Jeremy Clyde for an intimate chat and maybe a song or two in the FABoratory.
Sunday, 2:50pm – “Modern McCartney” looks at Paul McCartney’s catalog from 1989-present. Part discussion/part listening party, it’s a really fun, relaxed way to consider these tracks in the context of Paul’s career both at the time they were released and now. Presented by Allison Boron and Erika White.
Sunday, 5:45pm – “Beatles Writers and Broadcasters Panel” brings together some people I truly respect who have contributed greatly to researching and presenting the Beatles’ history in some medium. Allison Boron will be repping the short-form/magazine world.
Beyond these events, here are 10 more things we can’t wait for this weekend:
1) Leslie Cavendish
The band was known for it, fans swooned over it, and a few tenacious collectors even cut a piece off for themselves (poor Ringo!). And now Fest-goers can meet the man who styled it. Leslie Cavendish was the Beatles’ personal hairdresser from 1967–75 and shaped some of their most iconic looks.
He was also a member of their entourage, by their side for defining moments like the Magical Mystery Tour and the rooftop concert. This is his first Fest, where he’ll be hosting panels and promoting his new book, The Cutting Edge. We could not be more excited about this.
2) Mainstage performances with special guests
A Beatles celebration would be nothing without the music, and the Fest never disappoints. Fest attendees gather each night by the thousands to rock with the Fest’s house band, Liverpool, and memorable special guests from throughout the Beatles’ history. This year’s guest lineup includes Neil Innes, Peter Asher, Billy J. Kramer, and Randy Bachman, to name a few. Where else can you catch such a stellar lineup of classic rock stars share their stories and perform together, all in one weekend? Check out the full Fest program to make sure you catch your favorite artist.
3) Intimate Performances on the Apple Jam Stage
The mainstage isn’t the only place to catch fab concerts. If a coffeehouse vibe is more your thing, check out the Apple Jam Stage, a more intimate space that features a huge range of innovative, experimental, and just awesome artists. We are NOT missing subway sensations Blac Rabbit, who went viral for their uncanny imitations of Lennon/McCartney.
4) Jam sessions
When you walk through the door of the Hyatt to enter the Fest, you’ll be instantly immersed in a heady atmosphere of Beatles fandom. What gives you that feeling? The huge jam sessions! Musicians from all over the world bring their Hofners, their Rickenbackers, and yes, even their Ludwigs, and set up giant jam sessions in the hotel lobby that play Beatles music from morning to the wee hours. Play, sing, dance, or just soak it up. Nothing will make you feel more at home in the Beatles community.
5) Guest Panels and Book Signings
The guest musicians who play each night are present throughout the Fest, speaking on panels, having conversations with attendees, and signing books. Find out what it was like to be part of Brian Epstein’s stable of musicians with Billy J. Kramer, or what it was like to live with and perform with Paul McCartney from Peter Asher, and hear the story of John Lennon and his Quarrymen from the man who took the first-ever photo of them, Charles Roberts.
6) Panels and Discussions
If your Beatles geekdom has a scholarly bent, the Fest offers some of the most interesting historical and intellectual discussions on the band that you will find anywhere in the world. Authors such as Kit O’Toole, Kenneth Womack, Jude Southerland Kessler, and Vivek Tiwary will hold in-depth discussions on a variety of topics, with plenty of opportunity for attendees to ask questions and get deep into even the most obscure subject.
7) The Marketplace
Enter the Fest marketplace and you may soon be telling someone to “Shut up and take my money!” This is the largest concentration of cool and unique Beatles merchandise you may ever see in one room. Peruse and buy the rarest of the rare items from every era of the Beatles and their solo careers, and take home all the cool, fun, and kitchy Beatles items you’ve always dreamed of owning. Got a rare item of your own? Bring it to the Marketplace to meet appraisers and collectors to find out how much your Beatles keepsake is worth.
8) The Ashram
Need a quiet moment, or want to learn more about the spiritual practices favored by the Beatles? Head over to the Ashram for yoga, Transcendental Meditation classes, and discussions about this unique aspect of the Beatles’ experience. Chill out, Maharishi-style.
9) See and Create Art
The Beatles were not only musicians, they’re visual artists. See their own work in an exhibit presented by Neil Glaser, curator and sole distributor of Paul McCartney’s visual art. In addition to seeing art by the Beatles, take a look at the innovative art created about them by both professionals and hobbyists. Vote on your favorites in the art contest room; the winners will be announced on Sunday before the final concert.
10) Experimental stuff in Faboratory
Unusual guests, experimental panels, and hands-on interactive experiences. Come to the Faboratory to explore new perspectives and unique ways fans and panelists express their fandom. Use your imagination, open your mind to new perspectives, and play fun games for both kids and adults. However you express your love for the Beatles, you’ll find it here. The New York Metro Area Fest for Beatles Fans will be at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City, just a short train ride from NYC. Visit fest.org for tickets and hotel information.