On Feb. 22, the city of Kent will once again be filled with the music of the Fab Four during the Kent BeatleFest presented by Wayside Furniture. The sixth annual installment of the event will offer everything from popular tribute bands to innovative takes of the classic music of the Beatles. Eighteen venues will showcase the work of 21 bands and artists.
On Feb. 7, 1964, the Beatles arrived in the United States. Two days later, their televised performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" was viewed by about 73 million people. Music and popular culture were never the same.
"February is filled with important Beatle anniversaries, so it’s a natural for Kent BeatleFest to be held this month," said Mike Beder of the Crooked River Arts Council, the organization that produces the event. "Plus, winter in Northeastern Ohio can lead to cabin fever, so it’s a great time for folks to venture out."
Despite the weather, crowds do flock to the Kent BeatleFest. In a previous year, the temperature was 9 degrees in Kent, and the venues were packed.
Tribute bands the Liverpool Lads and Abbey Road return with the sounds, the gear and the look of the Beatles. But the Kent BeatleFest is also known for presenting unique takes on this iconic music. A few examples: The Cleveland-based ensemble OPUS 216 return for their fourth year of acoustic-classical stylings of Beatles tunes; Across the Universe specialize in the music of John Lennon, from his pre-Beatle days to his last studio album; The acclaimed local outfit the Colin Dussault Blues Project becomes the Colin Dussault Beatles Project just for one night; and the female duo Babies in Black play early Beatles on stand-up bass and guitar.
The complete schedule, artist bios, a venue map and much more are available at www.kentbeatlefest.com/.
"Thanks to our faithful patrons, the participating venues and our generous sponsors – we’re able to continue this fun tradition that showcases not only the Beatles – but the great city of Kent," said Marty Student, director for development for Crooked River.
The Kent BeatleFest is presented by Wayside Furniture, and the official beer sponsor is North Coast IPA. Additional support comes from Acorn Alley, Apollo Heating & Cooling, Apple Growth Partners, Holiday Inn Express, the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority, Sarchione Ford, and Seven Seventeen Credit Union.
Media support is provided by iHeartMedia, 91.3 The Summit, The Scene, WONE 97.5 FM, the Record-Courier, and WNIR 100.1 FM.
The Crooked River Arts Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting music, arts and culture, community support services and education in Kent. The council also produces American Roots - Kent’s Americana, Bluegrass and Country Music Festival, the Kent Blues Fest, and the ‘Round Town Music Festival.