Thursday, March 19, 2015

Beatles Fest

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Last year we celebrated The Beatles 50th Anniversary of coming to America {read about their coming here}, a day that shook not only the United States but an event that changed the world forever. It was also last year that New York celebrated their 30th Anniversary of The Fest For Beatles Fans, otherwise known as Beatles Fest.

50 years later on the exact day The Beatles landed at JFK Airport in New York, I was driving with my mom and my twin sister to The Big Apple to attend Beatles Fest after pleading with my parents to let me go; what really pushed them to finally drive us was Denny Laine's {Read some about Denny Laine here and here}appearance and my underlying love for him. Also, I had saved up enough money from past birthdays and Christmas's  to buy a hotel room for the night.  But this post isn't going to be about my experience at The Fest, but about the history of the fantastic event that combines Peace, Love, Good Vibes as Fans from across the nation and the world come together to celebrate the lives, stories, history, music, and love of The Fab Four. 
Mark Lapidos

The idea of Beatles Fest came from  Sam Goody Record Store's manager, Mark Lapidos in 1974. Lapidos himself was born in New York but raised in the state of great musicians, from Sinatra to Springsteen, New Jersey. With his Jersey background, Mark didn't find himself obsessing over Jersey musicians as other's around him might have, instead Lapidos fell under the spell we all did when we first heard that Ludwig drum, that smooth bass grooves, and perfect guitar melodies of these long-haired Liverpool Lords; The Beatles. 

At age 26, this Beatles devotee decided it was appropriate to celebrate the world's biggest band on their 10th Anniversary of The British Invasion and create a celebration to bring other's like himself, who thrive on Beatles music, in a weekend of pure Beatlesque and music loving festivities. With this dream all coming true Mark took on the challenge to put his vision in action, by doing so he had called the Commodore Hotel in Manhattan, New York and booked every convention hall and/or room for a beautiful late summer, early autumn fest.

Loyal, Mark Lapidos made sure to get permission from The Beatles themselves before throwing such and extravagant event. During a March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon in Central Park on 28 April, 1974 Lennon had not only found himself on a Lost Weekend but found himself at this event with who else than Harry Nilsson. But what does this have to do with the fest? Well, it's said, actually stated on The Fest site, that this day is the most important day in Beatles Fest history. Without this day I might not be writing this little article right now; on this day Mark Lapidos sat down with John Lennon and Harry Nilsson and discussed his idea of starting a Fest. It was just like Lennon to respond with;

"I'm all for it. I'm a Beatles fan, too!"
Read more about Mark and John's meeting here

With this blessing, and later getting permission from the other three, the first annual Beatles Fest was held in early September, 1974 with an outcome of over 8,000 fans! To make the first Fest even better, all four members donated musical instruments that were not only shown on display at the hotel but held and auctioned for charity.

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Mark and The McCartney's
With success of the first year, even landing an article in Rolling Stone magazine, the fest has grown to be a tradition with annual fest all across the country. From New York, Chicago, Los Angeles ...  And within the running of these festivals Lapidos has met Paul and Linda McCartney, who were big supporters of the event, and George Harrison, who gave permission for the first West Coast Fest!

The Fest is filled with activities such as live concerts, galleries of photographs and art, meditation classes, games, Look-A- Like contest, contests, open mics, Vendors selling great merchandiser, and special Guests! These guest range from Beatles authors, Beatles friends or affiliates, Musicians, and more! Some past {and present} attendees include;

  • Freda Kelly
  • Cynthia Lennon
  • Pattie Boyd
  • Astrid Kirchherr
  • Gerry Marsden
  • Tony Sheridan
  • Denny Laine
  • Mark Rivera
  • Peter Asher
  • Gordon Waller
  • Klaus Voorman
  • Victor Spinetti
  • Pete Best
  • Donovan
  • Micky Dolenz
  • Lawrence Juber
  • ....

"Most remarkably, even from the very start, the Fest attracted not just first-generation Beatles lovers who had enjoyed the Beatles in the 1960s – but also younger fans who were just discovering the band. That phenomenon has continued. Now the Fest is attended by several generations of Beatles lovers – with the fastest-growing demographic being attendees in their teens and twenties." -Fest For Beatles Fans Official Website

I already have my tickets purchased for this years New York Fest this weekend. Do you have yours?

For more details check out

Peace, Chaos and Good Vibes.

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