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NYC Fest for Beatles Fans highest attendance ever

by Katie Hickox
at the NYC Fest for Beatles Fans

Over 8,000 Beatles fans attended the NYC Fest for Beatles Fans at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan on Saturday, February 8. It was the highest attendance of any Fest for Beatles Fans, according to several Fest for Beatles Fans, staffers breaking all attendance records in spite of increased premium ticket prices for The Fest because of the change in venue, the previous year's Fest being held at a more affordable New Jersey venue.

This past weekend, Feb 7 thru 9, the NYC Fest for Beatles celebrated its 40th anniversary and also the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first visit to the US Feb 7, 1964 and the first appearance on the historic Ed Sullivan show Feb 9, 1964. The NYC Fest was also the largest of any held with 4 floors of exhibits, ballrooms, ongoing videos, speakers, special guests, multiple marketplaces, Beatles authors and more.

It was an amazing sight to behold as one walked into the main foyer at the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central to be greeted by a huge 30 foot high marquis announcing the NYC Fest for Beatles Fans, accompanied by real Beatles songs being played instead of muzak for the foyer, reception, and lobby.

Many of the scheduled events in the huge ballroom on the 4th floor and the speaker events on the 3rd room filled to capacity and were standing room only. For example, those wanting to get a good seat within the first 20 rows at the Sunday 12:50pm Mark Lewisohn event had to attend the earlier 12:00 concert performance given by the Smithereens which recreated the Beatles Washington Coliseum Feb 11, 1964 concert. The panel discussions with Pattie Boyd Harrison were also standing room only.

Mark Lewisohn and Fest Emcee Martin Lewis

The Saturday night 10pm Liverpool concert featuring Peter Asher, Mark Hudson, Billy J. Kramer, and surprise special guest Denny Laine was again so packed in the main ballroom on the 4th floor that there were few empty seats and standing room only, and there was no space to dance except at the very back of the concert hall. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 crowded into the main ballroom for the Saturday night concert.

The NYC Fest for Beatles Fans saw long lines for the many book signings and many authors sold out of all their books on hand, such as John Lennon's half-sister Julia Baird, who made an appearance at the NYC Fest for the very first time. Julia traveled all the way from the UK and published in 2007 "Imagine This," a new book containing new information about John and their Aunt Mimi.

The Fest events were so popular, it was difficult to walk from one room to another. Navigating from one event to another took patience to navigate the big crowds and long lines on Saturday and Sunday, with small groups on the lower levels spontaneously breaking out into singing Beatles songs during the day and night.

It was truly an amazing weekend. Congratulations Fest for Beatles Fans, and Happy 40th Anniversary!

For more information on this past event and upcoming Fest for Beatles festivals, go to

Related articles:

• Guides agree London ties Liverpool for Beatles sightseeing (2/10/14)

Published February 12, 2014

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