Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Report from the Fest for Beatle fans Chicago 2012

Hello to new views of this blog who I met at Beatlefest or who picked up one of my cards that I left laying around and decided to check this blog out!   We are glad to have you join the family!

Also hello to the regular viewer of this blog that I met at the Fest.  It was great to see each and every one of you.   Thank you for coming up and saying hi.   Sitting here alone in my house working on this blog in the evenings, it sometimes gets difficult to remember that there are other fans sitting at their homes looking at the work I did.  It was nice to see the faces of the people who appreciate what I do.

So here is my annual report on the Fest.   I am going to keep this positive.  I could easily write about everything that I dislike about the Fest for Beatle fans.   And there are a lot of things that I have issues with.  However, overall I love going to the Fest.   I always make sure I have fun.   I always do what I need to do so that certain things don't ruin my fun.    I wish all of you could have been there.

Here I am at the Fest in Chicago 2012!  photo:  Coral Schmidt

Friday:  My mom and I left our home in southern Illinois and headed north towards Chicago on the train.   Six long hours of riding in a train. From there we caught the "el" to Rosemont and then walked to the Hyatt Regency O'Hare.    Once the Fest officially started at 5:00pm, we went down to the marketplace to do some Beatle shopping!  Here is where I could complain that there were nearly as many venders as previous years.   But let's stick to positives.   I bought the world cutest and softest plush Blue Meanie.    I also bought a large stack of magazines and photographs for this blog.   My mom and I tried out Beatles Yoga and decided that Yoga is not for us.   It was then time for the Beatles dance party and look-alike / dress up contest.    For the first time ever I dressed up for this event.  I told you that my costume had to do with this blog.   It was a Beatlemaniac from 1965 waiting for the Beatles at the airport.   I might go into details about the costume later.

In my Beatle fan costume.  Photo:  Coral Schmidt
Needless to say, I didn't come even close to winning.   But I had fun!    We listened to Liverpool's (which were pretty good this year) set.  Then we watched a new film called "Beatles stories" which I will be reviewing in an upcoming blog post.

Saturday:   Our Beatlefest adventures began by watching the rest of "Beatles Stories."   I was very happy to see Cathy Sarvers interviewed on it.    Next was time to sit in the freezing cold ballroom and listen to the speakers.  We heard David Bedford (Liddypool) and Bruce Spizer both give wonderful talks.  After a little lunch and a bit of checking out the art contest, we went back into the freeze box of the ballroom and heard most of Ken Scott's talk and then we heard Freda Kelly.   I love Freda.  I think she is a doll.  To keep this as positive as I can, I just wish she was asked different questions.  She has a load of stories to share, and I hate that she wasn't being lead in the direction to share the ones that most of us would have liked to hear.   But her photos were great.  After that was the Beatle auction where I won 3 scrapbooks full of newspaper clippings (more things to scan for the blog!).  I overspent on it, but I think I got carried away in the excitement of the moment.  Oh well. 

Tom Frangione and Mark Lapidos during the auction.  photo:  Sara Schmidt

Next up was watching some of the "Name that Tune" contest (I don't participate because I have learned just how bad I am at that game.).   Then there was a discussion on a new book called Essential Songs of the Beatles Solo Careers (By Andrew Grant Jackson).   It was a great discussion and I am looking forward to reading his book.   Next was time for the panel that I was on!  I mentioned the Write Thing and Barbara Fenick, Lizzie and Gayleen, the Apple Scruffs and all of the wonderful things that female fans have done in the world of the Beatles.   It thought it went over really well.   I would love to be on a panel again sometime.

Talking about this blog at the Fest.  Photo:  Coral Schmidt

Shortly after this I got to meet Freda Kelly in person and have her sign some things for me.  And the rest of the night is a blur.   Did some shopping, some singing, some talking with people.

Sunday:   The only thing to do on Sunday morning is watch the Beatles puppet show.   So that is what I did.  Wanted to hear Bruce again, but my hunger got the best of me and went back to hear David Bedford talk about the Fab 76.    I made sure to stick around to hear Freda again.   Once again I was not happy with the interview.  When someone says that they do not want to talk about something, you should not continue to ask that person questions about it.   Just sayin'.

Freda Kelly at the Fest.  Photo:  Sara Schmidt
I missed out on my chance to enter the Sunday Trivia contest because I was listening to Freda's talk.  I got to watch it and I knew 95% of the answers.   Oh well.  The guy I beat last year won.  I will have to re-gain my title in 2013.    The next topic was photographing the Beatles, which as a Beatles photo blogger interested me a lot.   Then I heard the best discussion about the album, Revolver.   Everyone must get Robert Rodriguez's new book!  I am half way finished with it and think it is great.

The battle of the Beatle Bands was extremely good this year.   In the past there were a lot of "clunker" bands.  But there were some really top notch bands playing.   I didn't even have a favorite. 

Overall I had a great time and I am anxious to go back in 2013. 


  1. Sounds like the Fest is a mixed affair but still one that should not be missed - would have loved to hear you on the panel - we are all very proud of you, I am sure you were aware that you are representing us, your loyal fan-base and fellow photo researchers in a way too! ;-)

  2. What kind of Beatles trivia questions are there? Can you give an example?

  3. The Fests are cool. I usually attend the NJ one. I met: Pete Best at one years ago; Norman Smith, the Beatles' engineer (before he died) in 2007; Sid Bernstein in 2011; and Peter Asher this year. The authors are very approachable, especially Jude Kessler.

  4. I won the Saturday Trivia Contest

  5. @John Leary: Jude Kessler was on the panel with me. She was very nice. I had never met her before. I have never been to the New Jersey fest, but I hope to! My favorite guests have been: the Rutles, Klaus Voorman, Victor Spinetti, Astrid, Pattie Boyd and Freda Kelly.

    @Anon: I guess I need to challenge you. :) Did you get a good prize? I usually enter the Sunday contest, but the contest had just started when I got into the room. oh well.

  6. It was one of those days when every question he asked, I just happened to know. There were a lot of Paul questions. I am up for a challenge from you anytime you want!!

  7. Welcome back Sara!!! I didn't even check the blog till today!!! Your report and pics were great, I'm looking forward to the review of Beatle Stories, I'm dying to see it! (or am I? You will tell!) I haven't been to a Fest since 1984 (my band won the Battle of the Bands!). I went to four, all in New Jersey/New York. I had some fantastic, special times but there were things that did bother me, which eventually got the better of me! So, without going into the details I totally understand, but am happy about the positive things!

    I can't believe The Rutles and Klaus Voorman did Beatlefests, ugh, I'm so upset I missed those!

    On a separate note, I finally mailed those fanzines to you, they should arrive on Monday. (I emailed you some stuff from the fanzines that I typed out, hopefully save you some time, unless you have them already!!)

    Great to see you back, going to go check out all the latest stuff you've been posting!