The third edition of FabFest, a total tribute to the Beatles, featured musicians, memorabilia, speaker vendors, art, and more.
CHARLOTTE, NC – All you need is love…and the Beatles.
This was the recurring theme around the FabFest, a tribute to the Fab Four organized each year in Charlotte.
On Friday and Saturday, fans from around the world gathered at Central Piedmont Community College’s Parr Center and the Knight Theater to celebrate the music made famous by these four Liverpool lads.
Now in its third year, FabFest 2022 featured performances by touring Beatles tribute bands, a concert by Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, an art contest, vendors selling Beatles merchandise, a Beatles cover song contest , movie theaters, guest speakers and an activity board.
The entire event was organized by Tosco Music, a non-profit organization focused on hosting music events in the Charlotte area.
“There’s a lot of good music out there, but music will only live hundreds of years from now. Just as we listen to and talk about Beethoven, Mozart and Bach, I believe that’s going to happen hundreds of years from now. years with the Beatles,” said John Tosco, the founder of Tosco Music. “The Beatles cover more than just [rock music]it’s in their writing more than anything else [that makes them timeless].”
Tosco started hosting music nights around 30 years ago and eventually held Beatles tribute events from the mid-2000s. As his events grew he knew he had to throw a celebration Complete Beatles.
“I was inviting friends over to my house to do song circles and jam sessions. It was growing every month, so we needed to have bigger places to accommodate them,” Tosco said. “Beatles music has always been a part of it. We decided 18 years ago to do a whole show for The Beatles. It was a dream of mine to have a festival like this.”
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This year’s FabFest kicked off Friday at the Knight Theater with a concert by The Fab Four, a Los Angeles-based group dedicated to playing all eras of Beatles music while dressing the part.
The Fab Four set featured early hits like “Love Me Do” and “Twist and Shout” before moving on to later tracks like “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “A Day in the Life” while still being draped in replica Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band uniforms.
The group closed performance material for later Beatles albums such as “Revolution” and “Get Back”.
Between songs, the band joked with each other, much like the Beatles did during their concerts in the 1960s.
While some tribute bands claim they are in fact the band they are reproducing, the Fab Four have openly chatted with the Beatles crowd and paid tribute to the original creators of the music they perform.
FabFest continued Saturday at the Parr Center for a full day of Beatles action. Thousands of people filled the square throughout the day.
Vendors selling Beatles albums, books and all sorts of memorabilia filled the center’s first room. More memorabilia was kept in a showroom where Beatles-themed board games, figurines, posters, lunch boxes and all sorts of new and old trinkets were seen.
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A Beatles cover contest was also held with artists of all ages doing their best to wow the judges.
Three authors gave stage presentations at the event to talk about the books they have written about the Beatles. These included Bruce Spizer, Candy Leonard and Sean Gaillard.
An art contest was held and the winners took home cash prizes.
Concerts were also given by musicians around the Beatles during their tenure in the 1960s.
The Cyrkle performed at FabFest on Saturday and performed music they composed around that time, like “Red Rubber Ball” and “Turn Down Day.” The Cyrkles were managed by Brian Epstein, who also managed the Beatles, and were actually named by John Lennon.
Micky Dolenz headlined the FabFest lineup. He played music from his era with The Monkees as well as some covers of Beatles songs.
After the festivities ended at the Parr Center, FabFest returned for an encore performance at the Knight Theater for the Tosco Music Beatles Tribue where an array of artists performed a Beatles song each in a different style.
The crowd heard a wide range of covers of Beatles songs such as Spanish renditions of “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Till There Was You” to an acoustic version of “Help” and even an adaptation of the Appalachian dulcimer from “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Tosco also chimed in with a cover of “When I’m Sixty-Four”, which he dedicated to his late mother.
A total of 22 Beatles songs were performed in an evening that would surely put a smile on John, Paul, George and Ringo.
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FabFest 2022 was a smash hit that emulates the camaraderie and brotherhood captured in music by The Beatles.
Fans of all ages were thrilled to have taken part in FabFest and are excited about what awaits them for the event.
“I’ve been a Beatles fan for as long as I’ve wanted to attend a Beatles convention,” said 23-year-old Lupita Mendoza, who recently moved to Charlotte. “It was like a dream come true to be surrounded by so many people who love the same things I do.”
According to Tosco, it’s the only such festival in the Southeast, which hosts large-scale Beatles tribute events in Chicago and New York each year. Tosco says Charlotte is the perfect place for a celebration like this.
“Charlotte decades ago was what Nashville is now,” Tosco said. “I think it’s going to come back out there at some point, another Nashville, another Austin. There’s a lot of musical talent and music lovers here.”
Charlotte’s FabFest will return in 2023 for its fourth edition. For more information, visit their website.