A Beatles festival in Birmingham is returning for a second time after proving a hit with fans of the Fab Four first time around
It will mark the 51st anniversary of the band’s famous Ritz Ballroom concert, in Kings Heath.
Last year’s 50th anniversary was so spectacular that Fab Four fans from all around the country are expected to descend on Kings Heath for a repeat event next month.
Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker, organisers of King’s Heath Walk Of Fame, have already lined up local musicians to take part.
And they have been asking for people to join them in tribute to the mop tops by dusting off their favourite Beatles records and taking part in a Come Vinyl With Me session at Fletchers Bar in York Road.
“We already have a great line-up of top local musicians who will be performing but we still want to include some more young musicians wanting to play their favourite Beatles' songs”, said Bob.
“When the band originally appeared at the Ritz Ballroom they were just starting out and mainly performed covers of other musicians’ songs.”
The festival commemorates the date of The Beatles' first-ever appearance in Birmingham on February 15, 1963.
They were actually due to arrive a month earlier but a blizzard stopped them from making the 11-mile journey to Kings Heath from The Plaza in Old Hill. Both venues were owned by the legendary Pa and Ma Regan.
At around that time the Beatles had been the fourth support band on a tour by Helen Shapiro who is most famous for the sixties UK chart toppers, You Don’t Know and Walkin’ Back to Happiness.
But that all changed after Please, Please Me reached number one.
When the boys did finally make it to Kings Heath, Beatlemania was really taking off and legend has it that Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr were only able to enter the ballroom by climbing up a ladder from Milford Place.
George Harrison apparently arrived late by taxi, ended up surrounded by screaming fans and had to be rescued from the cab.
It is also rumoured that Irishman Pa Regan, who ran four venues run in the 1950s and 60s, told The Beatles to ‘turn that racket down’ while they were rehearsing.
Pa was also notorious for getting the names of musicians wrong and is said to have introduced John and Paul as Sean and Peter.
Bob said: “There aren’t going to be any tribute bands for a number of reasons, mainly because when most of the groups like The Beatles played at the Ritz, they were up-and-coming and did covers.
“And it was only later on that they introduced their own songs. We don’t want people impersonating The Beatles.”
Beatles Fest takes place on Sunday, February 16, from 3pm to 6pm, at Fletchers Bar.
- Tickets cost £3 (£4 on the day )from the Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road or www.wegottickets.com