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Beatles fest calls city home.

Ahhh my fair city.  It’s such a shame when a good thing goes away.  It seems that annually it’s rubbed in my face.  Such is the fate when you live in Cleveland, Ohio I guess.  You see we used to have this killer Beatles’ festival.  You know a celebration of the Fab Four?  Live tribute bands for the entire weekend…celebrity guests….a nice merchandise area…It truly was FAB.  But alas, it moved away, and another city, not the rock and roll city, gets to bask in the now week-long Beatles celebration.  I guess I have to go on a road trip now.  I’m jealous because it really is a well-run event, and I have always had a grand time. 


Of course, you all know that I am talking about Abbey Road on the River in Louisville, Kentucky.

Here’s what we’ve read.

Get back to Abbey Road on the River.

The Beatles extravaganza, held for the past two years at the Galt House and on the Belvedere, is making Louisville its official home. It will return in May, lengthened to five days from three.

The festival will include a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love featuring tunes from such Beatles contemporaries as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. It also has a new title sponsor: courier-journal.com.

Festival producer Gary Jacobs says Louisville is now the official home of the fest, which originated in Cleveland.

In May, the three-day event drew about 23,000 people, including about 3,000 from Europe, Asia and elsewhere overseas. The local economic impact was estimated at about $3 million, according to the Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. The two extra days are expected to increase both those numbers by 25 percent.

“We think the event is reaching a critical mass in Louisville, and more and more people now know about it,” Jacobs said.

Beatles fanatic Dan Pieschel, 57, who lives in Edgewood and is a member of the Cincinnati-based Beatles Boosters Club, is ready to attend with his kids and his six grandchildren, all of whom are Fab Four fans.

Abbey Road on the River “is dedicated to the greatest band of all time,” he said. “They have an absolutely awesome selection of music, and it falls into two different categories. There are soundalike bands … like British Export from Chicago, who dress up like the Beatles, and there are also bands like the Steve Sizemore group. The beauty of that band is they’re a rock-and-roll band who don’t pretend to be the Beatles, but they are an excellent tribute band in that they specialize in (Paul) McCartney music. They lend a different dimension to Abbey Road on the River.”

More than 60 bands will play classic tunes in all kinds of styles.

“We’ll have bluegrass Beatles, blues Beatles, rhythm-and-blues Beatles, classical Beatles,” Jacobs said. “We look at the Beatles’ music as a gigantic art form and art force, just like Shakespeare and Beethoven and Mozart.

“It’s meant to be interpreted by different artists different ways. We think their music is going to be celebrated for 500 years, and we want to do the best we can in our time to encourage people to perform it other ways, including dance, or lyrically as a poetry slam.”

Other additions to this year’s festival include the first-ever live performance of the “Love” album, and a celebration on Memorial Day, May 28, of the Summer of Love.

“In addition to Beatles music, (we’ll have) the music of the Mamas and the Papas, the Doors, the Who, the Kinks, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix. We expect it to be an incredible day,” Jacobs said. “It’s going to have a real flowers-in-your-hair feel.”

Source: Courier-Journal


One Response

  1. Yeah, what are the odds. I release my title “The Beatles In Cleveland” and the fest gets moved to Louisville. Go figure.
    Dave, author The Beatles in Cleveland

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