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Beatles Fest West 2009 Day 1: Something New
[Posted by Jude Kessler on Saturday, 10/10/09 12:03 pm] [Full Blog] [Related Posts] [Tweet] [Facebook]

A cool and cloudy morning gave way to brilliant sunshine as BeatlesFestWest kicked off at the Scottish Rite Center in San Francisco. Dr. Robert (aka Gareth) of and his staff of friendly, helpful, Beatles-nicknamed volunteers (Nowhere Man, Polythene Pam, Mr. Kite, etc.) were all on hand to welcome vendors, tribute bands, and authors, like me, to the Bay Area.

In the last few years, the East Coast and Midwest seem to have had a monopoly on Beatles Celebrations with The Fest for Beatles Fans in both the Meadowlands and Chicago, Abbey Road on the River in Louisville, and Stanford, Connecticut's upcoming BeatEXPO on 29 November. But BeatlesRadio was determined to rekindle the once-popular California-based Beatles celebrations, and their ingenue gathering was...great.

Of course, the standard ingredients were all there: 1) Beatles Rock Band set up for fans to participate in, 2) T-shirts and buttons and bags (oh my!), 3) Tribute Bands, and 4) Author Talks (yeah!).

But there were some new twists on the standard fare that made the day perfectly delightful:

1) Excellent stadium seating auditorium for band viewing, speeches, performances...great lighting, great acoustics/sound. The Fab Faux show that closed Day 1 was a performance worthy of the price of the ticket alone! Very professional.

2) Dining area set up in the marketplace so that people could sit and peruse the RockBand competitions, view the vendors in action, and sip a glass of wine. Nice touch.

3) British fare! Bangers and mash anyone?

4)Young, fresh performers...

In that #4 final category, I hasten to mention the artwork of Sean Ward, Beatles cartoon artist. Sean creates comic strips depicitng Beatles lyrics in clever and unusual ways. In one comic strip, an entire song comes to life, not by quoting every single word of the song, but by conveying those lyrics cleverly, through art. Ward's "Ballad of John and Yoko," a fantastic color work, has been made into prints that sell for only $20 each. And get this...they are signed and numbered. Wow!! Now, I know that to be PC, I must called Sean "extraordinary." He is. But I prefer to refer to him as truly gifted.

Tomorrow, I'm thrilled to be interviewing another young and creative Beatles inspired performer, Christina Trillo. More about that then.

Both Sean and Cristina were born long after the Beatles disbanded, but their passion for the Lads from Liverpool is as real as any Frist Gen Fan's...their art tells you that quite clearly.

You still have today and Sunday to come out and see amazing tribute bands, hear Bruce Spizer (who has written 8 books on the Beatles AND who composed the questions for the Beatles Trivia Game) speak in person, and hear yours truly discuss "Myths, Legends, and Controversies: The Early Beatles." The marketplace opens at noon today (Saturday) and performances begin at 12:15. There is a parking garage beneath the excuse not to come out and support the West Coast's attempt to rekindle that Beatle magic!

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