With 20,000 expected fans and 66 scheduled acts, there'll be a lot of Dizzy Miss Lizzies at Abbey Road on the River
at Belvedere Festival Park May 21-25.
"It's the coolest, most fun weekend in the city, not counting, Derby," said Roy Martin, an instructor on The Beatles at Bellarmine University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies
"You get an eclectic crowd from every demographic," Martin said, recalling young girls dancing with their grandfathers to music from neither of their generations at past Abbey Road on the River festivals.
"Beatles music transcends genres and applies to every age group," Martin said, adding that Abbey Road on the River draws fans from Canada, Europe, Japan and, of course, The Beatles hometown of Liverpool, England.
While Martin said, "Any band that plays the Beatles I respect and appreciate," here are a few highlights this three-time Abbey Road attendee singled out:
- The Rigbys--"They're just great people and great musicians," Martin said of this Louisville-based quintet.
- All You Need Is Love--This group from Ontario, Canada, is co-headlining the festival, along with Hal Bruce.
- Lucy in the Sky--Martin said this German band follows the advice it seems Simon Cowell gives to every American Idol contestant: make the song your own. "They take Beatles songs and really do them with different arrangements."
- The Beatrips--"They taught themselves to sing and play in English, but they don't speak English," Martin said of this Japanese group. Nevertheless, the lead singer bears a physical resemblance to John Lennon--and plays up their not speaking English in a pitch to sell t-shirts. "They sing and play beautifully," Martin said.
- Steve Sizemore Group--From Lexington, Ky., this group resembles an eighties hair band, putting a hard rock spin on The Beatles.
Despite the name of the festival, The Beatles aren't the only band being covered. Memorial Day will feature music from artists including Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Phish, Motown acts and the group that every Beatles fan secretly knows is the best band out of England, The Who (my sentiment; assuredly not Martin's).
Tickets range from $10 to $180 (although there'll be a free show on the roof of the Visitors Center Thursday at noon) and can be purchased ahead of time at the Abbey Road website
, Louisville Visitors Center
(intersection of 4th and Jefferson Streets), ear X-tacy
(1534 Bardstown Road) or by calling (216) 378-1980.
This fall Martin and his co-instructor, John Logsdon, will offer their third class on the Beatles at Bellarmine, focusing on 1966 and 1967, a time Martin calls "arguably their greatest songwriting period."
Their previous two classes were
- The Early Years: From when John and Paul met in 1957 to the band's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964
- Your Ticket to Ride: Beatlemania 1964-1965
(Photo: Flickr/Tiago Celestino