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A fan's tale of five days in Beatles heaven at Abbey Road on the River, part 1

Bob Gannon, who readers know well for his superb photos of Paul McCartney on tour, just spent the last few days in what he calls “Beatle heaven” at Abbey Road on the River, which ran from May 22 to 26 in Louisville, Ky., he told Beatles Examiner. He says the festival brought together an international mix of music and fans of the Beatles paying tribute to the Fab Four.

The Beach Boys, John Sebastian, Laurence Juber and Freda Kelly at Abbey Road on the River.
Bob Gannon -- used by permission
Mike Love of the Beach Boys
Bob Gannon - used by permission

“Bands from the United States, England, Canada, Puerto Rico, Holland, Argentina, Colombia, Japan, Germany, Brazil, Scotland, Norway and Sweden traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for this year's Abbey Road on the River music festival inspired by the lives and music of the Beatles. It was truly a music lover's experience and although predominantly Beatles music, there were other artists infused into the band's sets,” he said.

He said there were numerous incredible musical moments during this week, starting with the headlining acts. “The Beach Boys rocked the Belvedere on Sunday night with almost an three hour set of their music and a tribute to the Beatles that left the fans speechless,” he said. “John Sebastian, who opened for the Beach Boys on the lawn stage also did smaller storyteller shows in the ballroom to smaller audiences. Nothing better than hearing the stories behind the songs.

“Ambrosia entertained with a Beatles set. The always great Lawrence Juber did shows all weekend showing his skills as a guitarist and musician.”

And there were other attractions, too. “Freda Kelly was also on hand for screenings of her movie "Good Ol' Freda," which every Beatle fan should see,” he said. “One of my favorite moments of the weekend included the question-and-answer session with Freda and Bruce Spizer. To hear Freda telling the stories of her interactions with the Beatles was just pure fun.”

Gannon said there was another reason for him to enjoy seeing Freda Kelly. “A Freda highlight was I got to do the 'Cavern Stomp' with Freda during the Blue Meanies and Itchycoo Park late set on Friday. Beyond being an exceptional guest, she has become a good friend as well.”

(More of Bob's memories in part 2.)

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