The first day of spring brought some crazy snow to the northeast. But rain or shine, it was a happy day for Beatle People, as the New York Metro Area Fest for Beatles Fans started off with a bang!
Though the bad weather interfered with some people’s travel plans, nothing could keep a hard core group of fest-goers from being there from the first event, which kicked off with greetings from Mark Lapidos and Fest fave Mark Hudson. They were followed by REBEAT’s very own Susan Ryan, who led a panel of some of today’s most exciting Beatles authors, including Candy Leonard (Beatleness), Chuck Gunderson (Some Fun Tonight), and Dee Elias (Confessions of a Beatlemaniac).
The main ballroom events were just the beginning. There are so many things to see and do, it’s dizzying, especially for a first-time Fest-goer like me. The marketplace is filled with every kind of Beatles swag imaginable, including quite a few rare items that I’m still giddy just thinking about, like the first-known Paul McCartney autograph on the back of a Quarrymen business card! There were guest authors galore signing their books and talking Beatles, as well as lectures, and trivia contests, and even yoga. For those who wanted a quieter moment, a video room played continuous films and music videos until 2AM.
But the best part was the music — so much music! Beatles playing in every room, impromptu pickup bands inspiring singalongs in random free spaces, not to mention the centerpiece concert, the Fest’s house band, Liverpool. Liverpool played a two-hour set that had attendees dancing in the aisles. And during a set break, the Beatles lookalike contest featured some fierce competition!
I thought the Fest would wind down when the main stage concert ended, but boy, was I wrong! The US premiere of Get Back, a film about the Liverpool music scene before and after the Beatles, was screened right after the band played their final number (a very interesting film, coming to a wider US release later this year). An all-request singalong was in full swing well past midnight, and there were rumors of an after-hours pool party too…
As I wind down my night watching a screening of Paul McCartney’s 1980 Back to the Egg film, I’ll say that this was a pretty amazing day. Tomorrow’s agenda will include some yoga in the Ashram, as many lectures as I can squeeze in, blowing all my money at the marketplace, and so much more music! And most exciting for me, I’ll be on my first Fest panel: “She’s a Woman,” where a group of female Beatles historians will discuss the women who influenced the Beatles (it starts at 6:15 on the Act Naturally stage, so stop by if you’re at the Fest! I’ll have some REBEAT goodies on hand, too!).
Till tomorrow, Beatle People…