McCartney Times

Mark Lapidos – The Fest for Beatles Fans

Ruth McCartney and Mark Lapidos

Ruth McCartney and Mark Lapidos

Mark Lapidos – The Fest for Beatles Fans (previously known as Beatlefest) is a twice-annual, three-day festival that honors the lasting legacy of the Beatles. The festival takes place in the New York metropolitan area, ordinarily in March or April, and in Chicago, Illinois, each August. Running Friday through Sunday, the Fest features special guests, live concerts, exhibits, art contests, a Beatles marketplace, a sound-alike contest, a Battle of the Beatles Bands, and more.

The Fest for Beatles Fans began in 1974 after founder Mark Lapidos[1] ran the idea by John Lennon during an encounter at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. Lapidos asked Lennon for permission, to which Lennon replied, “I’m all for it! I’m a Beatles fan too!”[2][3]

The first Fest took place in September 1974 at the Commodore Hotel in New York City.[2] Over 8,000 Beatles fans attended. Each Beatle donated a musical instrument that was auctioned off for charity.[2][4] Lennon considered attending, but decided not to because he was nervous about the crowd.[5] The event was recognized on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.[6]

Since its inception in 1974, the Fest has taken place every year in the New York Metropolitan area. It has taken place in Chicago, Illinois, every year since 1977. The Fest has also taken place in Boston,[7] Houston, Las Vegas,[8] Los Angeles,[9] Orlando,[10] Philadelphia[11] and San Francisco.[12]

Among the events and activities at the Fest for Beatles Fans are nightly concerts by Beatles tribute band Liverpool, appearances and performances by various musical guests, photo exhibits, a Beatles museum and art contest, a Beatles sound-alike contest, the Battle of the Beatles Bands, panels and discussions with authors and Beatles experts, movie screenings, live auctions, puppet shows, and a Beatles marketplace. In 2014, the Fest included a bus trip to JFK Airport to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles arrival in America.[13]