The island across the Channel might be small, but it offers a kaleidoscope of fascinating attractions and delights: charming villages set amidst rolling green hills, the peaceful serenity of the lake district, the gentle civilized pleasures of the seaside towns and the never-ending bustle and vibrancy of London, one of the great capitals of the world.
Between 22nd August to 28th August, the streets of Liverpool came alive with Beatles songs, memorabilia and impersonators!
You could say that Liverpudlians owe four mop tops for placing their city on the global map. For it was their music that inspired one of the greatest musical cultures, Beatlemania, burning bright throughout the 60s taking over not just the country but the whole world.
A break-up, death and many awards later have not diminished their stars. In fact, throngs of fans embark on a pilgrimage to Liverpool every year since 1981 to celebrate, pay tribute and simply to meet and share their own Beatle experiences with other fans – their first Beatles albums, the meaning of Yellow Submarine and even their best Beatles impersonations.
Started out as a straightforward convention, the very first Annual Beatle Convention took place on the 29th of August 1981 with local bands that brought back not just Beatles music but the music era of the 60s. Over the years, the event has evolved from a fourteen hour convention to a two day musical feast and now to a week’s mayhem of live bands, talks, flea markets and Beatles tours.
Organised by Cavern City tours (www.cavern-liverpool.co.uk), the week long event kick-started on the 22nd of August with a free gig at the Cavern Pub. Opened in August 1994, the pub was built to commemorate stars who have played on the most famous stage in the world, Cavern Club, from the Beatles to The Who to Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. Look out for the “Wall of Fame” with each brick – over 1,800 – bearing names of bands who have played in the Cavern since 1957. The jewel in the crown is the glass cabinet protecting John’s Rickenbacker, Paul’s autographed Hofner Bass, George’s Gretsch and Richard’s Ludwig drumkit from any overzealous Beatles fan or collector!
Not to be forgotten, international fans had the chance to sing tributes to the Beatles over the few days. Highlights included International performances from Sir Frankie Crisp from Italy, Cloud 9 from Argentina and Instant Karma USA. Throughout the event, fans can expect gigs by UK bands paying tribute not only to the Fab Four but to those who have created their own histories and who have inspired and paved the way for today’s UK musicians. One to look out for is The Prellies (www.theprellies.co.uk), a young high-energy Beatles band reputably known as being one of the best ‘Beatles band’ in the world.
25th of August called on all fanatics and collectors, with an auction by The Beatles Shop to start the day. Whether it be a print advertising of a Beatles concert or original handbills from 1962, these and many other memorabilia are sent to the shop from all over the world and can fetch an affordable £70 for a Beatles Thermos flask to an astronomical £100,000 for John Lennon’s ornate jacket worn for a cover shoot in Life magazine.
Steeped in Beatles history, Penny Lane was integrated into the programme this year with its very own Penny Lane festival. There were gigs and events with bars and restaurants getting into the theme serving up an audio treat to accompany their cuisine! There were also tours organized by The Cavern City Tours where fans enjoyed Beatles growing-up stories via visits to significant places from the barber shop, St. Barnabas Church, Dovedale School and lots more.
The International Beatles Week fittingly closed with Liverpool’s celebration of its 800th birthday. The August Bank holiday was more than just the Beatles though. Beatles tribute bands and original local acts, Beatles themed flea market and the Mathew Street Music Festival, together Liverpool put up a showcase of its rich cultural and musical diversity that culminated in an extravagant display of fireworks on the 28th of August.
This is the 27th year of the International Beatles Week signifying the success of the event. It has grown tremendously and evolved to celebrate every aspect of the Fab Four. Its reach to fans as far as Argentina and Malaysia has made it a truly international event and in the spirit of the Fab Four ensures that Liverpool is always on the global music map!
For more information about UK bands, event programme and travelling in Britain, log on to www.visitbritain.com.my and www.cavern-liverpool.co.uk/beatleweek.
About Visit Britain
Visit Britain markets Britain to the rest of the world and England to the British, building the value of tourism throughout Britain and throughout the year by creating world-class destination brands and marketing campaigns. It also builds partnerships with – and provides insights to – other organizations that have a stake in English and British tourism.
Visit Britain works in partnership with the national tourist boards in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to promote an attractive image of Britain. It provides impartial tourism information and gathers essential market intelligence for the UK tourism industry.
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