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Artists and Authors Symposium lineup at Beatles at the Ridge

Beatles at the Ridge, the award-winning festival that USA TODAY named as "One of the 10 Best Places in the World to Learn About The Beatles," will return to Walnut Ridge, Arkansas this September 18 and 19. Topping the charts of "things to do" that weekend will be the Third Annual Beatles Authors and Artists Symposium, a two-day event featuring Beatles experts from all over the globe. Headlining the weekend's activities will be two distinguished Beatles authors, Ivor Davis and Jude Southerland Kessler.

In 1964, Ivor Davis was hand-selected to accompany The Beatles on their North American Tour and was the only journalist with the group for all 34 action-packed days. Davis was also the only newspaper writer invited to join The Beatles for the amazing "Rock and Roll Summit" when The Beatles finally met Elvis Presley in Los Angeles on 27 August 1965, 50 years ago this summer. In 2014, Davis broke his long silence and shared the "rowdy and riotous" memories of that historical summer trek in a fast-paced book entitled "The Beatles and Me on Tour."

Ivor Davis Seth Swirsky

Another headliner is Beatles at the Ridge's Featured Artist, Seth Swirksy, award-winning filmmaker, author and recording artist. His movie, "Beatles Stories," was put together through extensive interviews with people, including noted musicians such as Graham Nash, Art Garfunkel, Davy Jones, Jackie DeShannon, and Smokey Robinson, all of whom had special "Beatles Stories" to share. Over 80 interviews make up this incredible film about The Beatles and their influence. Swirsky will show the film to festival-goers free of charge, and afterwards will answer questions and sign/sell the video.

Introducing Ivor Davis and setting the stage for his presentation by taking fans on a magical tour of "Liverpool: Off the Beatle-n Path, or Liverpool as You've Never Seen Her Before!" will be Jude Southerland Kessler. Kessler, foremost expert on John Lennon and the author of The John Lennon Series, an outlined nine-volume work covering the life of the man who formed The Beatles. Kessler has published the first three books in this series (Shoulda Been There, Shivering Inside, and She Loves You) and is currently researching and writing Vol. 4, Should Have Known Better. Each book is a detailed historical narrative, revealing John's biography as a story with in-depth and accurate documentation.

Kit O'Toole Anthony Robustelli

The other notable authors and artists who will be in attendance include Dr. Kit O'Toole, author of the new book of Beatles' music critique essays, "Songs We Were Singing", Anthony Robustelli, popular Beatles radio show host and author of "I Want to Tell You: The Definitive Guide to the Music of The Beatles," Lanea Stagg, author of the Recipe Records Cookbook series as well as the "kid-dult" book "Little Dog in the Sun."

Lanea Stagg Sara Schmidt

Also, Sara Schmidt, Host/researcher for and author of the upcoming book, "Happiness is Seeing The Beatles: The Beatles in St. Louis," and Rande Kessler, artist who created four mixed-media sculptures for the festival, depicting each of The Beatles, along with "Doors of Liverpool" art posters and hand-sketched Beatles T-shirts. He also drew the cover art for Jude Southerland Kessler's She Loves You book.

In addition, also appearing will be Robert Rodriguez, award-winning author of "Revolver: How The Beatles Re-imagined Rock 'n' Roll, Solo in the 70s and Fab Four FAQ," and Richard Buskin, New York Times bestselling author of more than 30 non-fiction books, and photographer and journalist who has interviewed hundreds of celebrities. Buskin and Rodriguez will be presenting a live version of their popular podcast, "Something About The Beatles," at the festival.

Robert Rodriguez Richard Buskin

For a complete list of presentation times, please visit

Beatles at the Ridge is a free event. For more information on the festival, contact Charles Snapp at

Published August 24, 2015

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