Monday, August 6, 2012

Better Take It Easy, 'Cause The Fest Is On Fire


Art from Georgina Flood website. 

The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago returns to the Hyatt Regency O’Hara in suburban Rosemont this weekend, August 10-12th for its annual bonanza of Fab Four related celebrity guests, merchandise, live music, and art. This year’s lineup includes singer-guitarist Spencer Davis, best known for recording the hit “Gimme Some Lovin” and for introducing Steve Winwood to the world. The Spencer Davis Group had more hits in England than in the United States, including “Somebody Help Me” and “Keep On Running.” It should be a treat to hear Davis perform some of those songs at The Fest For Beatles Fans, backed by the band Liverpool.

Sax player Tom Scott was a frequent collaborator with folk rock icon Joni Mitchell, and he also played on George Harrison’s Dark Horse, Extra Texture, and 33 and 1/3 albums. Rob Shanahan has spent the past six years as Ringo Starr’s photographer, which has included going along on tour the Ringo’s All Starr Band Tour. He’ll be discussing his new book, Volume 1: Through The Lens Of Music Photographer Rob Shanahan, at the Fest.

Ken Scott served as Recording Engineer on The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour and The White Album, as well as on George Harrison's epic All Things Must Pass. His resume also includes time with Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones. All those musical adventures can be found in his new book, Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust. Producer/musician Mark Hudson has worked with Ringo Starr, along with several other highly successful musicians. His humor is occasionally over-the-top, but it’s always fascinating to hear him tapping into his vast knowledge of pop music.

As the secretary of the Official Beatles Fan Club from the earliest days of Beatlemania through 1972, Freda Kelly helped scores of people connect with their favorite band. She also became friends with John, Paul, George, and Ringo, who frequently called her Good Ol Freda. That’s the name of a documentary that's currently being filmed about her. As one of those who helped fund this project on Kickstarter, I’m particularly interested in seeing Freda at her first visit to The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago.

Georgina Flood will also be making her debut appearance at The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago, The  Dublin, Ireland based artist creates amazingly detailed portraits of The Beatles, as well as other celebrities. Judging from her posts on Facebook, she’s very excited to be making the trip, and a lot of people will be interested in seeing her art in person.

Long-time master of ceremonies Terri Hemmert, whose Breakfast With The Beatles show airs on WXRT in Chicago every Sunday morning, comes across as an avid fan as well as a skilled interviewer in her on-stage sessions with guests. British comedian Martin Lewis  is the quick-witted moderator of Musician’s Forum, a fun and informative free-form conversation and jam session. The previously mentioned Liverpool is one of the best Beatles tribute bands I’ve seen. They’re not interested in dressing up in costumes or putting on accents - - they just play letter-perfect renditions of Beatles songs. They usually perform a set on their own, before inviting some of the Fest’s guest musicians to come out and join them.

Organized by Mark and Carol Lapidos, The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago is an unabashed love-in for devoted followers as they wear t-shirts; meet face-to-face with people who have worked closely with John, Paul, George, and Ringo; join sing-alongs under the stairwell; participate in trivia contests; and vote for their favorites in a Beatles sound-alike competition. Tickets are $30 for Friday, $45 for Saturday or Sunday, and $96 for the entire weekend.

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