Abbey Road on the River
|Abbey Road on the River|
|Location(s)||Jeffersonville, Indiana (2017–present)
Louisville, Kentucky (2005–2016)
Cleveland, Ohio (2002–2004)
Abbey Road on the River (AROTR) is a five-day, multi-staged music festival which was initially created to honor the music and spirit of The Beatles. The festival took place in Louisville, Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend but moved across the river to Jeffersonville, Indiana starting in 2017. Tribute bands, as well as internationally recognized bands, perform over the course of the festival, playing the music of The Beatles, as well as the music of other artists. Abbey Road on the River is a four-time winner of the Kentucky Travel Industry Association's Top 10 Spring Festivals.
Abbey Road on the River began with three events in Cleveland in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Following the 2004 event, Abbey Road on the River moved its main location to Louisville where it continues to be held annually over Memorial Day weekend. Staging for the event takes place primarily on the city's Belvedere, within and around the Muhammad Ali Center and within the event's host hotel. In 2017 it was moved across the river to Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Event activities and attendees
The types of tribute bands that perform at Abbey Road on the River vary greatly. Some bands look, sound and act like The Beatles, while others simply play Beatles' music or the solo music of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison.
The festival also features other Beatles-related activities, ranging from speakers, discussion panels, and film screenings, to the annual parade complete with costumes and yellow submarine, as well as Beatles merchandise for sale, along with food and drink options on the Belvedere grounds.
Speakers, musicians and guests
Among the speakers and noted guests over the years:
- 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.
- Julia Baird, John Lennon's half-sister, was a featured guest in 2015 to celebrate John's 75th birthday.
- Georgina Flood  a portrait artist from Ireland, was named resident artist of the festival in 2014 and her artwork adorns much of the festival's merchandise, posters and advertising.
Among the noted musicians over the years:
- Denny Laine, former Paul McCartney & Wings band member, was a featured guest in 2007. Laine also appeared in October 2014 at special festival called "To Sir With Love" to celebrate Paul McCartney's first concert in Louisville, performing hits by Wings and his former band The Moody Blues.
- Terry Sylvester, member of The Hollies, was a featured guest in Louisville in 2010. Sylvester also appeared at "To Sir with Love" in October 2014.
- Jefferson Starship was the headliner in Washington DC in September 2012.
- Tony Bramwell, former Apple Records CEO, appeared in May 2013.
- The Beach Boys, Ambrosia, John Sebastian, and Laurence Juber appeared in May 2014. Juber also appeared at "To Sir With Love" in October 2014.
- Former ELO members Mik Kaminski and Louis Clark appeared with The Orchestra in May 2015.
- Felix Cavaliere's Rascals and The Zombies in 2016.
- Leon Russell, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Musician/Singer/Pianist/Songwriter
- Peter Asher
- Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits
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Since its beginnings as a small tribute festival, Abbey Road on the River has evolved into mixed genre and mixed media event, with some concerts targeting full albums of The Beatles and various artists such as The Who, to entire concerts devoted to the music of artists of the era, such as Bruce Springsteen. In recent years, other top bands of the era have joined Abbey Road and have performed their own music. These include Jefferson Starship, Peter Noone & Hermans Hermits, Leon Russell, The Beach Boys, Ambrosia, ELO's The Orchestra, with Felix Cavaliere's Rascals and The Zombies joining in 2016.
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