Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Why you need to come to Beatles at the Ridge
I try my best to keep my eyes and ears open to see what Beatle people are talking about on social media. One topic that has always been a big one that fans enjoy complaining about is Beatles festivals and conventions. It seems like more and more fans have jumped on this bandwagon over the past five years. What do I hear the most? "It is way too expensive!" "There isn't enough music." "There are too many bands and not enough speakers."
If you are looking for an alternative Beatles festival then you need to seriously consider attending Beatles at the Ridge in Walnut Ridge Arkansas this September 15 & 16. I really think this festival is the future of Beatles conventions and there is no better time to jump on board than this year.
Here are five top reasons why you need to get yourself to Arkansas next weekend and see for yourself what makes this Beatles festival stand out among the crowd.
5. The Music
Of course we who attend Beatles events are ultimately there for one reasons -- to celebrate the music of the Beatles! So what would a Beatles festival be without music? The featured musical attraction is Liverpool Legends -- straight from Branson, MO. They are a very professional Beatles tribute act and I would bet their Sgt. Pepper segment will be outstanding this year. But they aren't the only music act! On Friday night Alan Bernhoft will be performing a tribute to John Lennon that those of us who love John won't want to miss. Also on Friday night two bands will rock the outdoor side stage, so make sure to bring your lawn chairs. On Saturday Cameron Hicks will host a Beatles sing a long ala "All you need is love." Everyone is encouraged to wear their favorite hippie gear and sit on the floor like Mick Jagger! Meanwhile outside on Saturday there will a talnet show competition that everyone is welcome to watch as well as a variety of bands performing. One of the bands that I am familar with, Jeffery and the Pacemakers play a great set of 1960's British Invasion songs.
4. The Authors
"How many Beatles books does a person need?" Well I guess that depends on who you are! A vareity of Beatles authors will be on hand with their books for sale and giving presentations throughout Friday and Saturday. Authors will include: Lanea Stagg, Kit O'Toole, Terri Whitney, Kenneth Womack and yours truly, Sara Schmidt. Make sure you drop by and talk to the authors, even if you dont' want to buy a book. Nothing is worse to me than sitting at a table all alone all day while fun is happening around me. Please please come and drop by and chat Beatles with me. No pressure to buy a book, I promise!
3. Family Friendly and Fun for everyone!
Everyone is welcome at Beatles at the Ridge! It doesn't matter your age, gender, race, religion, political standings, or ablitiy. If you love the Beatles--- you need to be there! If listening to authors speak or bands perform isn't your thing because you have children, do not worry! There is plenty available for kids. The theme this year is the "summer of love" and there will be face painting and fun things happening all weekend. There is a special story and donut time early Saturday morning for the kids as well as an art happening with artist Enoch Jetter just for elementary school kids and a seperate one for middle and high school kids as well. There is a matatial arts demo and a dance troop that will perform. Saturday is an outdoor festival atmosphere with food trucks, crafts for sale and plenty of freebies to be had at various booths. Bring some sunscreen and the whole family!
2. The Experts
Beatles at the Ridge has some very impressive Beatles experts speaking this year. Jude Southerland Kessler will be interviewing to of the stewardesses that traveled with the Beatles during the 1964 North American tour. I can't wait to meet these ladies and hear their memories! She will also have a preview of her newest book in the John Lennon Series and you will have the opportunity to pre-order it (something I really need to do!). The featured guest for the weekend is Bruce Spizer who's new Sgt. Pepper book has really gotten people talking. There will be a party to celebrate this new book and Bruce will have a Sgt. Pepper presentation afterwards. Bruce is an amazing Beatles speaker and hearing him talk about the Beatles is always entertaining and educational.
1. It's FREE!
I have been telling fans about this festival for years and they always ask, "Alright---so how much are the tickets?" And I say, "It's free." They stand there with their mouth wide open in shock. There aren't any tickets to attend Beatles at the Ridge because everything I mentioned is completely and totally FREE. No one is paid to be there -- it is all volunteer. Just let that set in for a moment.
Now there is plenty of great things to spend your money on since there isn't a ticket to buy. Besides the Beatles books, there are vendors selling Beatles items and as well as crafts and non Beatles things. There is a great little store called "Imagine" that sells the cutest handmade Beatles stuff plus a variety of other Beatles collectables. (I bought a vintage Beatles autograph doll there last year---it is awesome!).
If food tucks aren't for you, I recommend the local Mexican resturant that is next to the small outdoor stage. And for dessert, you can't beat the "Dark Side" for frozen yogert.
I realize that I just spend my Wednesday Review space doing a commerical. However, I honestly would love for all of you readers to be able to come to Beatles at the Ridge. It is just such a nice, positive atmosphere that I know you all will appreciate and enjoy. Beatle fandom has gotten negative over the past few years and you just don't get that at this festival. I have met Beatles fans at any Beatles event I go to, but I can honestly say that the people I have met at this one are my friends.
I truly hope to see you there.