16;MARCH ;;;; NJMONTHLY.COM
The Mania Continues
;;; ;;;; ;;;;;;;, it started the mo-
ment he heard “I Want To Hold Your
Hand” in the winter of ;;;;. “It grabbed
me the way that no song had ever
grabbed me before,” says Lapidos. “And
apparently it hasn’t let go yet. I’m still a
Lapidos, ;;, is no ordinary Beatles fan.
For more than ;; years, the Montvale
resident has made a vocation of what he
calls the world’s longest-running Beatles
convention, the Fest for Beatles Fans. The
event returns to New Jersey this month
for the first time in four years.
The seeds for the festival were sown
in ;;;;, while Lapidos was working at a
Sam Goody record store. He envisioned
an event to celebrate the ;;th anniver-
sary of the band’s arrival in America. But
first, he wanted the foursome’s bless-
ing. Lapidos contacted John Lennon in
Manhattan and explained his concept.
Lennon was all for it.
The initial event, called Beatlesfest,
attracted ;,;;; fans to the Commodore
Hotel in New York in September ;;;;.
This year’s ;;rd annual convention—
March ; to ; at the Hyatt Regency in
Jersey City—is expected to draw ;,;;;
to ;,;;; diehards.
Attending the Fest is like stepping
back in time. Music from the ;;;;s fills
the room, and vintage clothing abounds.
This year, Liverpool, the Fest’s house
tribute band since ;;;;, will play a full
rendition of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts
Club Band each night—marking the
;;th anniversary of the album’s release.
Other performers will include Laurence Juber, Denny Seiwell and Steve
Holley, all of Wings; Joey Molland of
Badfinger; and Mark Hudson, Ringo
Starr’s longtime music director. Guest
speakers will include George Harrison’s
sister, Louise, and Klaus Voormann, the
artist who designed the Revolver cover.
Attendees can also enjoy exhibits,
vendors, ra;es to raise funds for the
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and
name-that-tune competitions for kids.
Lapidos’s passion for the Fab Four
hasn’t diminished. “The Beatles were
the biggest thing since Elvis. Elvis was
bigger than Sinatra. Sinatra was bigger
than Bing Crosby,” says Lapidos. “But
no one’s gotten as big as the Beatles…. It
was magic.” —Jacqueline Klecak
● FES TIVALS
t: Mark Lapidos,
ator of The Fest,
Ringo Starr. Right,
p: Fans browse
te band Liverpool