Abbey Road on the River

Abbey Road on the River

At first glance, it’s fair to wonder if it’s all just an elaborate scheme to film a sequel to Spinal Tap. But, alas, it’s actually the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival—and yes, there are many—that takes place just downriver in Louisville.
This Memorial Day weekend marks the festival’s 10th year in Louisville, and 2014 is also the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion. So for those counting, this is a big year: They’re expecting 25,000 people from 40 states and 10 countries to attend. It of course can’t hurt the numbers that The Beach Boys are headlining this year (here’s the full line-up).

According to event planners, there are some other musical highlights too: An appearance by Steve Holley (former drummer for Paul McCartney & Wings); the first 100 Beatles songs performed by BritBeat, The Return, and The Jukebox; the Beatles’ top 100 hits performed by Hal Bruce; a Queen tribute concert; and a Bruce Springsteen tribute concert.
If you’re looking for Beatles lovin’ outside of the bands, you can check out the Give Peace A Chance photography exhibit at the Muhammad Ali Center (a retrospective of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “bed-in for peace”), plus Q&A time with Freda Kelly—“history notes that The Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11”—following screenings of Good Ol’ Freda, a new documentary that goes behind the scenes with the band and their longtime secretary.

It’s 60 Beatles-inspired bands playing for 5 days. And, it’s Louisville. Oh! Darling.

May 22–26; ticket entry levels and prices vary, Beach Boys tickets are separate admission; Galt House Hotel & Suites, Belvedere Festival Park; Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, Kentucky;

Photographs courtesy Abbey Road on the River.

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