Orillia's Beatles Celebration a big draw
The Stink Beatles — Tim McDonald, 9, Ben Heffernan, 10, Daniel Rattray, 11, and Kendal Rattray, 13 — celebrate their well-received performance at last year’s Orillia Beatles Celebration. Packet & Times file photo
John, Paul, George and Ringo will be making an appearance in the Sunshine City.
The Orillia Beatles Celebration, which features tribute bands and recreationists of the British rock legends, will rock ’n’ roll into town Sept. 14 and 15.
The event, now in its sixth year, will see a few changes as it moves to the library’s Market Square.
Darcy Hoover, manager of marketing for the city’s culture and heritage department, said the idea was to make it easier for people to get around the event, which will be gated and fully licensed.
“We’re trying to make it a lot more convenient,” said Hoover.
Event chair Jo-anne Pyke said this will make the festival much more intimate.
“It’s going to be nice for the people attending to have everything in one location and, because everybody’s so familiar with the street, I think people are still going to wander out and take in a lot of the stores in the downtown core,” said Pyke.
Hoover said around 10,000 Beatles fans come from all over North America, since this is the only Beatles celebration in Canada.
“We’ve got a lot of returning bands, which are brilliant,” Pyke said, adding the organizers are excited about new bands joining the celebration as well.
Pyke said she is looking forward to Marc Stacyer’s performance.
“He’s fabulous. When you see him, it looks like you’re seeing John Lennon standing on stage,” she said. “He’s got the whole spirit we’re trying to develop with this festival.”
This year’s festival will honour the 50th anniversary of the foursome’s first single, Love Me Do.
Pyke said the headliners, The Kings of Marigold, will pay tribute to the occasion.
The festival schedule is available at orilliabeatlescelebration.com. Cost for entry is $5 for the day and advanced $20 wristbands include access to all Friday and Saturday events, including the theatrical production of the Canadian play Beatlemania Revisited at the Orillia Opera House on Sept. 15 at 11:30 a.m. or 5 p.m. Wristbands are available in advance at orilliaoperahouse.ca.
“We’re trying to schedule so people can see as much as possible and take in as much as possible,” Pyke said, adding the younger, up-and-coming performers are wonderful.
She said Beatles fans are “hardcore, for lack of a better term,” and there is a variance in what they are looking for.
“I think we’ve covered a bit of a spectrum in that way, because we’re offering something for the collectors, and we’re also offering something for people who want to come out and enjoy just good Beatles songs… (but we’ve also got) a pretty stellar recreation of the Beatles,” she said.
Pyke points to innovative chord progressions and the message of their music as part of what makes the band appealing.
“I think they’re unique and their musicianship has been a backdrop for so many lives.”