Author: Frank Matys
Date: Sep 18, 2008
Fans of the world's greatest band will gather in the city's core this
weekend for a three-day tribute to the lads from Liverpool, during
the second-annual Orillia Beatles Celebration.
With visitors travelling from as far away as California, the event is
sure to parallel, if not surpass, the success of an inaugural
festival that drew more than 12,000 Beatles devotees, said chair Ralph Cipolla.
"People just love the music," Cipolla said this week. "It is amazing
how many young people – people who are 12 or 13 years old – like The
The Orillia Opera House is serving as the home base for much of the
celebration, with a roster that includes a pair of highly anticipated
performances by the renowned tribute band Help!
The Montreal-based quartet will offer up note-for-note renditions of
classic Beatles tunes on Friday and Saturday evening beginning at 8 p.m.
The FabFour, a favourite of last year's festival, performs on Sunday
at 2:30 p.m.
"We are Beatles central," said opera house manager Michael Martyn.
Fans bearing Beatles memorabilia are invited to bring their items to
the opera house Green Room for a free appraisal by expert Andrew
Croft on Saturday between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., while Trevor
Hosier presents his acclaimed Beatles Museum at the Studio Theatre on
Saturday and Sunday.
Photographer and former companion of Ringo Starr, Nancy Lee Andrews
takes to the stage in the Studio Theatre at noon on Saturday.
Andrews struck up a relationship with the diminutive drummer in 1974,
and has since produced A Dose of Rock 'n' Roll, a photographic essay
of their time together.
Organizers are also anticipating significant interest in an
appearance by May Pang at noon on Sunday at the Studio Theatre.
Pang, who enjoyed an 18-month relationship with John Lennon during
the 1970s, offers a unique insight into the artist and the man.
Pang has produced the book Instamatic Karma, a collection of candid
photographs she had taken of Lennon over the course of their relationship.
"They will be doing book signings and selling their books," Martyn
added. "We are certainly getting a lot of interest in these two
people. It was a bit of a coup to get them."
Meanwhile, ticket sales for both tribute bands are "solid," Martyn said.
"It is a good sized room, so we do have some space," he added.
Mississaga Street is home to a Friday night street dance with the
Savoy Truffles beginning at 9 p.m., followed by two days of live
music on two outdoor stages – located across from Brewery Bay Food
Co. and the opera house.
Beer tents are conveniently located adjacent to the stages, while
vendors will be on hand throughout the downtown.
At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Kings of Marigold will perform The
White Album in honour of the record's 40th anniversary, followed by
karaoke on the Rock 95 stage (also on Sunday).
A Saturday night street dance with music by Let's Get Back takes
place on the CHAY stage beginning at 9 p.m.
Street performers lined up for the weekend include Wildsmith, Madoo,
Chris Clause, Tom Heyfron, the Patio Cats, Stan Sturgeon, and the Pedestrians.
A souvenir magazine produced by Orillia Today will be available,
along with weekend wristbands, at several Beatles Celebration tables
stationed in the downtown.
The wristbands grant entry to the museum and seminars at the opera
house, as well as to all outdoor stage performances.