By Ron Hayes
Ask how many acts will appear at his upcoming International Beatles on the Beach Festival and Daniel Hartwell hesitates.
“I have to count again,” he says. “We just keep adding acts and venues every day. Between all the acts and bands and musicians, probably about 100 performances, so I just say a boatload of bands, artists and musicians.”
Scheduled for April 25-28, this boatload of all things Beatle comes at the end of a year’s planning for Hartwell, an Ocean Ridge resident, concert promoter and author of the self-published novel, Saint John Lennon.
The weekend will kick off at 6 p.m. April 25, when Second Avenue is closed to traffic for “Pineapple Grove Forever,” a three-hour tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album. Presented in conjunction with the city’s Downtown Development Authority, the night will also feature a “Bark With The Beatles” contest, with dogs dressed as their human’s favorite Beatle to benefit the Tri-County Humane Society.
After that, the major events shift to Old School Square. On April 26, Edgar Winter, who has toured with Ringo Starr, will perform on the outdoor pavilion stage.
On April 27, it’s McCartney Mania, a five-piece tribute band backed by a full orchestra and featuring singer Patti Russo.
“They’re a Florida band, from Stuart,” Hartwell said, “and Patti Russo toured for years with Meat Loaf and sang with Queen after Freddie Mercury died.”
April 28’s schedule proves that any relationship to the Beatles, no matter how tenuous, is marketable.
In the Crest Theater, a “Celebrity Symposium” will welcome Tony Bramwell, Liverpool native, childhood friend and former CEO of Apple Records, along with Leslie Cavendish, a London hairdresser who cut the band’s moptops all those years ago.
“He also did Rod Stewart and James Taylor,” Hartwell notes.
At 9:30 a.m. April 28, PurLife Fitness Center will hold a “Beatles Bootcamp” in Veterans Park.
And wait, there’s much, much more.
According to Hartwell, the weekend will also feature a scavenger hunt, a children’s play area dubbed “Octopus’s Garden, a Beatles Bikini Contest, a Beatles Look-alike Contest, an Abbey Road Car Show and countless free drinks at numerous local restaurants and bars for ticketholders.
“My whole business model is to get the entire city involved,” Hartwell explained. “Most of the venues will have something in them, and a lot are doing Beatlecentric cocktails.
“We’re going to have Me And My Monkey margaritas and Strawberry Fields Forever daiquiris.”
If You Go
What: International Beatles on the Beach Festival
Where: Old School Square and multiples venues throughout downtown Delray Beach
When: April 25-28
Tickets: $29.50-$135.50; one free ticket if you buy three