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Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans - Day 1: Beatlemania vs. the economy

by Jude Southerland Kessler
Author of Shoulda Been There and the upcoming book on John Lennon, Shivering Inside

What Beatles fans won't do for the Fab Four! We left Alabama yesterday at 1:00 p.m. and have just arrived in Chicago for Mark and Carol Lapidos' 36 Annual Fest For Beatles Fans...just as the sun is coming up on another day. It's 6 a.m.!

Starting with the first coffee break yesterday, I rapidly scanned an article in the New York Times about foreclosures and failing mortgages a-plenty, and without permission, the very real presence of America's threatened economy intruded on my fun weekend. Things are not good, are they?

Even The Beatles community is beginning to feel the pinch (despite our "Brave Faces" and "Good Morning! Good Morning!" attitudes).

Just before we left Alabama, I received an e-mail from Beatles-A-Rama owner and programmer, Pat Matthews, talking with me about his new subscription service for Beatles-A-Rama radio. The station, which has been free of charge for years, is now seeking subscription members to stay afloat, and I can't endorse strongly enough the need to support such a wonderful aspect of The Beatles world.

What does Beatles-A-Rama offer?

First and foremost, a sense of history. The station has been in business since the day before 9/11, 2001. Matthews said, "I began Beatles-A-Rama with a real sense of joy and anticipation on September 10, 2011. But obviously, the very next one listened." However, ever since then, the internet station has been a source of joy and encouragement for Beatles fans everywhere.

Pat kicks the fun off each morning off at 5 a.m. with "The Early Beatles." Rain or shine, he's there. And Dennis Mitchell's respected "Breakfast With the Beatles" airs every Saturday morning at 11 a.m. On Sunday mornings, Ray Whitaker's popular "Just 4 Guys" includes interviews, panel discussions, rare Beatles information and controversy...great listening!!...while Gillian Lomax (from Liverpool) hosts Beatles News for the station - in her gorgeous Scouse accent.

And then, there's the music. We can't forget the music! John...Paul...George...and Ringo...together and a group and solo.

And Beatles-inspired groups (yes, Badfinger et al) are there as well...along with our British Invasion favs.

For 9 (yes John, NINE) years, Beatles-A-Rama has been operating 24/7, 365 days a year. But if we Beatles fans don't rally and subscribe, we could be the ones talking about "the day the music died."

If we lose Beatles-A-Rama, we lose not only those great shows on the internet...but we lose the music vehicle for BEATLES FREAK DAY...a 24-hour celebration of "the lads from Liverpool" each year on 14 January! Featuring rare Beatles interviews, BEATLES ONLY music, sound bites from the lads, and prizes galore, BEATLES FREAK DAY has become an institution on the station. And the last thing America needs right now is another failed institution.

Matthews is really offering our Beatles family a great deal...$19.95 per YEAR for a high-quality (160k bit rate) subscription. I think we can do that, don't you? If you divide 19.95 by 365 days, you can easily see that it costs...uh...nothing. That's something even I can afford!

I'm hoping the rest of my time at the Fest won't remind me of the grim state of things in the world around me. I hope to get lost in the music, fellowship, concerts, speakers, friends, and fun. I hope my next blog will be about laughter and good times.

But part of enjoying "the good times" is doing what you need to do to keep the party rolling. Let's do this, wacks! Go to and give Beatles-A-Rama your support. Then, sit back and enjoy.


Related articles:

• Chicago Beatles Fest Day 3: Beatles art and Beatles music (8/15/10)
• Chicago Beatles Fest Day 1: New releases from familiar faces (8/14/10)

Published August 13, 2010

This article is Copyright © 2010, The Author, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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