Monday, April 28, 2014

40 years ago today: Mark Lapidos met John Lennon

I know for many of you, it will be hard to believe that this year is the 40th anniversary Beatlefest, which is the longest running consecutive Beatles fan convention.      This year marks my 20th anniversary of going to the Fest, so I have been there for half of the time (not bad for a 37 year old!).    I know that quit a few of you have been to Beatlefests over the past 40 years and have great memories of speakers, music, videos and friends.   While I have a lot of complaints about Beatlefest, overall I have to say that it is my favorite thing that I do every summer.   I look forward to the Fest in Chicago all year round because it simply is fun.   It is the one time of the year that I can be around other people who love the Fab 4 as much as I do (or maybe even more if that is possible).   I can listen to geeky speakers and talk to friends in person and sing all the Beatles songs until my hearts content.     I will be going to the Chicago Beatlefest again this year, although I will have to leave early on Sunday before it is over because I have my first day of the school year that Monday.   So I hope to see many of you there again!

Carol and Mark Lapidos at the 2014 New York Fest

All of this Beatles fun is due to one person.   Mark Lapidos not only created Beatlefest, but he has ran it with very little bumps for the past 40 years.   I can't say enough how much I appreciate Mark Lapidos and all of the work he has done to not only start a Beatles convention but to keep it going.   Many, many other Beatle fan conventions have came and gone over the years and yet Beatlefest is the only one that remains for the longest amount of time.  Mark has to be doing something right.    Do I agree with everything he does?  Heck no!  Do I complain about it every single year when I return?   Heck yeah!   I still think that the Fest needs a make-over of sorts if it is going to continue on after Paul and Ringo are gone, but that is a discussion for another day.     One of the reasons why I believe that the Fest has lasted so long is because Mark Lapidos as always been a true Beatle fan.   I know that some people might not believe this because they have the impression that Mark is just into it to make money off the Beatles name.    But I have seen Mark bid on things with excitement during the auction, I heard him speak about seeing George Harrison at the Bangladesh concert, about going to England in 1969 and hanging around EMI and seeing the Beatles, about seeing Wings over America, etc etc.    He still has passion and love for the Beatles and that is what I think is the most important thing if you are running a fan convention.

Mark with Paul and Linda

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Beatlefest, Mark Lapidos gave a talk about how he came up with the idea for the Fest and how he asked John Lennon "permission" before he went ahead with his plans.   It was exactly 40 years ago today that Mark went to John Lennon's hotel room and talked to him about his idea of having a Beatle fan convention.      And during that talk this past February, I sat right in the front on the floor and recorded the entire time (18 minutes long).   It is really interesting.  I think my favorite part is how John donated a guitar to be raffled off for a charity and how he almost came to Beatlefest to pick the raffle ticket.    You just have to hear the story.   It is pretty amazing.

1 comment:

  1. I attended the very first Fest, and like you, I was thrilled to be among so many other fans! It was a very exciting weekend, with constant rumors about John being there. It used to be so much fun watching the films in the Ballroom with everyone, something to look forward to every year, as it was the only time you could see the films back then, pre-internet, pre-VCR/DVD, etc. I attended faithfully every year, until Summer 1980 (my only time at the Chicago Fest: went to meet up with some Beatles pen-friends). After John's murder, it just wasn't the same for me, somehow. Then, 5 years ago, I started going again! Amazing it was still there for me to return to, after 29 years! I now attend with my young nieces, 2 new fans carrying on the legacy.