Beatlemania Hits D.C. Labor Day Weekend Festival

Annual “Abbey Road on the River” in nation’s capitol once again celebrates Fab Four

Gretsch Guitars is co-sponsoring the annual “Abbey Road on the River” festival, once again celebrating all things Beatles over the Labor Day weekend at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., on the shores of the Potomac River.

Just as thousands gathered in Washington, D.C., in February 1964 to see the Beatles’ first U.S. concert, thousands of fans, musicians and historians from all over the world will come together in the nation’s capitol on Sept. 1-5 to celebrate the group’s music and legacy at the largest Fab Four tribute festival in the United States, as they have since 2002.

Live music is a staple of the event, and more than 50 bands will perform on eight stages throughout the festival. An indoor showcase display will present thousands of historical and collectible items, including seldom-seen photos, volumes of books documenting every step of the band’s evolution, and Gretsch’s meticulous replica of George Harrison’s 1957 Duo Jet guitar, which he played early in the band’s career, including the Cavern days.

Other features will include the festival’s popular all-night sing-along sessions, displays of one-of-a-kind items created by Beatles fanatics (such as a 2002 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide motorcycle custom-painted with Beatlemania imagery), merchandise, lectures and screenings of 2009 John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy.

Attending this year’s festival will be longtime Beatles memorabilia collector Russ Lease, who will exhibit the famous “drop-T” Beatles-logo kick drum head used during the band’s first U.S. visit in February 1964. That visit included, of course, the Beatles’ monumental Feb. 9 debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and first two U.S. concerts, at Washington Coliseum in the nation’s capitol and at Carnegie Hall in New York; the drumhead was on the front of Ringo Starr’s kick drum at all of those famous performances. It is the most famous and most valuable of the seven hand-painted logo kick drum heads used by Starr with the Beatles, and Lease will speak on its creation and history.

Also on hand will be acclaimed Beatles expert and author Bruce Spizer, who will speak on the finer points of the fascinating and often complex story of Beatles recordings as released in the United States. Spizer will go into meticulous detail on all U.S. versions of Beatles recordings, from the very first one (single “Please Please Me”/”Ask Me Why,” Vee-Jay Records, Feb. 7, 1963) to the very last released by their own company, Apple, while they were still together and on through phenomenally successful 2000 greatest hits compilation 1.

Visit for ticket sales, reservations, and further information. A portion of ticket revenues will be donated to the American Red Cross.