Beatles Fan Fest Invades Next Week
By MIRIAM FINDER ANNENBERG
Journal & Topics Reporter
Beatlemania will invade Rosemont this month when the Fest for Beatles Fans makes its annual return to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Aug. 11-13.
Now in its 32nd year in the village, the Fest celebrates all things Beatles, drawing fans from all over Chicagoland and beyond.
The Fest fire took place in Chicago for its first eight years in the Midwest. Founder Mark Lapidos eventually moved it to Rosemont, following the model of the original New York City Fest, which eventually moved to suburban New Jersey for easier access.
“We decided perhaps it’s better to do them out in the suburbs,” said Lapidos. “It was much more convenient for a lot of people.”
Lapidos said he likes the convenience factor of Rosemont. Situated by O’Hare, the village has easy access for out-of-towners and suburban residents alike.
Additionally, city residents can easily reach Rosemont using public transportation. Access throughout the area is important to Fest organizers.
“Chicago is a very big Beatles market,” said Fest publicist Rick Gieser. “[We have] many, many locals fans. That’s one of the reasons the Fest comes back to Chicago every year.”
Fest for Beatles Fans takes over 16 ballrooms at the Hyatt during the weekend, with continuous Beatles programming throughout. Programming includes the Giant Beatles Marketplace; live trivia; a
Beatles memorabilia exhibit; the annual Friday night ‘60s-themed dance party; and plenty of live music, including Beatles tribute band Liverpool playing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in its entirety in celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary.
Special guests also visit, such as George Harrison’s sister Louise Harrison, John Lennon’s immigration attorney Leon Wildes and Ringo Starr’s producer Mark Hudson.
Lapidos said about 3,000 and 4,000 attendees are expected at the Rosemont event.
Lapidos started The Fest for Beatles Fans in 1974 in celebration of the Beatles first coming to America 10 years prior. The inaugural event in Manhattan landed the Fest on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and Lapidos said the Fest exploded from there.
While the original New York Fest remained, he began receiving requests for events in cities across the country and gave Chicago a try.
“Chicago has been the best of the cities,” he said. “Chicago and New York are the two shows every single year.”
The Fest now boasts fans of all ages and generations, and Rosemont’s will have programming such as a parade, trivia, Beatles yoga and more geared specifically toward kids ages 12 years and under.
After more than 30 years in the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Lapidos feels a fondness for Rosemont and the hotel that makes the Fest possible.
“We love it there; it’s perfect for us,” he said. “It’s our home away from home.”
Tickets and more information about the Fest can be found at thefest.com. Tickets are also available at the door during the event.