Abbey Road on the River
|Location(s)||Louisville, Kentucky, US
Washington, D.C., US
|Years active||2002 - present|
|Date(s)||Memorial Day weekend|
Abbey Road on the River (AROTR) is a five-day, multi-stage music festival honoring the music and spirit of The Beatles. The festival takes place in Louisville, Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend, and in the Washington, D.C. area over Labor Day weekend. Over the course of the festival, multiple tribute bands play the music of the Beatles.
Abbey Road on the River is produced by Gary Jacob, a Cleveland resident who has produced numerous events including the National Rib Cook-off, Millennium events for Kodak in 2000 and Easter at the White House for eight years during the Clinton Administration.
The first three events were held in Cleveland, OH in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
In 2005 the event moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where it is currently held annually over the Memorial Day weekend.
A second annual East Coast version of the event (AROTR DC) takes place Labor Day weekend, just outside of the Nation's capital in National Harbor, Maryland.
The venue for Abbey Road on the River in Louisville consists of the Belvedere and Galt House Hotel & Suites in downtown Louisville, KY. The festival utilizes more than 9 stages simultaneously, both indoor and outdoor. The Galt House Hotel & Suites provides indoor venues, mostly for smaller concerts, speakers and film screenings. Outdoor stages are located on the Belvedere, including the Lawn Stage, which is used for featured shows.
The venue for Abbey Road on the River in Washington, D.C. is the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. The D.C. festival includes two indoor stages and four outdoor stages, as well as additional rooms for speakers and film screenings.
Event activities and attendees
Abbey Road on the River presents many types of tribute bands. Some bands look, sound and act like The Beatles. Others simply play the music of The Beatles. Additionally, some acts focus only on recreating the solo music of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
The festival also features Beatles-related speakers, discussion panels, film screenings and the sale of Beatles merchandise.
Among the noted musicians and speakers over the past six years have been:
- Pete Best, the Beatles' drummer prior to Ringo Starr, was a special guest at Abbey Road on the River in Louisville (2006) and in Washington, D.C. (2010).
- Louise Harrison, George Harrison’s sister, was a featured guest at Abbey Road on the River 2002, 2003 and 2005. Harrison judged Beatle-themed singing competitions and spoke to an audience about her experiences with her brother and The Beatles.
- Denny Laine, former Paul McCartney & Wings band member, was a featured guest in 2007. Laine performed hits by Wings, and his former band the Moody Blues.
- Terry Sylvester, member of The Hollies, was a featured guest in Louisville in 2010.
- Leon Russell, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Musician/Singer/Pianist/Songwriter
- Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits
- Tony Bramell, former Apple CEO
In 2010, the first year that there were two festivals in one year, the organizers claimed a cumulative audience of 40,000 attendees for the two events.