Thursday, August 10, 2017

Step Right Up

Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago runs tomorrow, August 11 through Sunday. Founded by Mark and Carol Lapidos back in the late 1970s, the annual celebration brings a wide range of fans together at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont to relive Beatlemania via concerts, celebrity interviews; sing-along sessions; trivia contests; art exhibits; video presentations, and more. There are also unique Beatles and rock items for sale in the marketplace.

The 2017 lineup of celebrity guests features four musicians who performed at various times with Paul McCartney in Wings: Denny Laine, Laurence Juber, Denny Seiwell, and Steve Holley. Returning favorites include George Harrison’s sister Louise; Neil Innes, the comedian/musician behind The Rutles parody and a cohort of the Monty Python; and sax player-vocalist Mark Rivera. Mark Hudson, a musician and producer who has worked with Ringo Starr and Cher, remains a longtime Fest participant with an unbridled sense humor and an extensive knowledge of rock and roll. Bruce Spizer, Jude Southerland Kessler, Jorie Gracen, and Robert Rodriguez are among the numerous authors who’ll be on hand.

The Apple Jam Stage, a well-received recent addition to The Fest, offers performances by Laurence Juber, Phil Angotti, Jay Goeppner, Scott Erickson, and other music or comedy acts on a small stage all weekend. The superb Beatles tribute band Liverpool performs in the Ballroom each night, and will cover Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on Saturday and Sunday night. They will also cover other Beatles songs and then likely jam with the members of Wings; Hudson; and Riveria. The Weeklings, a quartet that includes Glen Burtnik and John Merjave from Liverpool, will perform on Sunday.

There will be designated signing times for most of the guests, and many will be interviewed by master of ceremonies Terri Hemmert, whose Breakfast With The Beatles show airs on WXRT in Chicago every Sunday morning. Wally Podrazik, Tom Frangione, Susan Ryan, and Byrd will also serve as hosts and announcers. Tickets are $52 for Friday, $78 for Saturday or Sunday, and $190 for the entire weekend. Various two-day combinations are also available. Check Fest For Beatles Fans-Chicago online for a list of the celebrity guests and an extensive rundown on all the activities going on all weekend.

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