Beatles Week and Convention 1998
Sunday 30th August

Today was the Strawberry Field Garden Fete. Our journey started outside the Adelphi hotel. My heart sank when I saw the length of the queue waiting for the bus to take us to Strawberry Field. But I needn't have worried, Cavern City Tours had laid on a convoy of Double Decker buses to take us to our destination. On leaving the bus we found ourselves in a queue of 5 bus loads deep and we slowly walked past those famous gates. As we walked into the grounds we were welcomed by the Salvation Army Band. It was promising to be a beautiful sunny afternoon.

There were various stalls and sideshows, many of which were manned by the groups taking part. Including the fire Engine from the 'Free as a Bird' video! The opening band 'Chattanooga', from Italy, were a strong vocal group with original vocal arrangements and they won the crowd with their version of 'The Night Before' blending with 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away'. The bands that followed were Tunel Du Tempo, from Brazil, Los Pasentes, from Spain, Johnny and the Silver Beatles, from Hamburg, Germany, The Betals from Norway, Sgt. Pepper from Brazil, The paperback Beatles from London, The ClubeBig Beatles from Brazil, The Flying Postmen from Moldova, The Overtures from Britain, The Beats then the Japanese group, Wishing to end the afternoon. All the acts were first class, but there were particular magic moments.

A superb extended guitar solo to 'Don't Let Me Down' by Los Pasentes, a change of direction by 'The Flying Postmen' who also performed songs by The Kinks and The Who. Johnny and the Silver Beatles sang the German version of 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand', Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand'. But the highlight of the show for me was Brazil's Sgt. Pepper. Firstly, their performance of Eleanor Rigby, for this the guitarist assisting on keyboard to reproduce the intricate string section. They ending with While My Guitar Gently Weeps played beautifully and effortlessly by their guitarist Marcus Gauguin. Top that with strawberries and cream in Strawberry Field listening to Beatle bands-What a perfect day!

Monday 31st August

Today was the annual Liverpool Beatles Convention at the Adelphi hotel. Like last year it was brilliant! The day started at noon and ended over 12 hours later. Throughout the time different bands were each performing a Beatles album. It began with Please Please Me with The Betals from Norway. Every band was great, but there were some memorable moments. Sgt. Pepper performed Rubber Soul. Yet again they live up to their previous shows. Everybody packed into the ballroom to watch.

Another group, 'Ringer' performed Help! They performed a very moving acoustic version of 'Yesterday'. They dedicated it to Paul McCartney. After they did a beautiful arrangement of 'Little Willow' for Linda. I heard most of the albums, but unfortunately couldn't stay till the end. Apart from the 'Album Convention' there was a Flea Market, which was PACKED! You could hardly get to anything.

Another part of the Convention was the interviews. I heard talks by Johnny Gentle, the singer who The Beatles worked with on a tour of Scotland.He played the guitar and played a song that he and John Lennon had written. I also listened to Julia Baird, John's half-sister. She had some really interesting stories to tell about John and herself. After her talk she was selling copies of an original photo of John outside Aunt Mimi's house in Menlove Avenue in 1964 and another of John at about age 9. On the back is an inscription by John in fountain pen. They were photos owned by Julia and I think, as yet unpublished. There was a huge queue to buy them, as she was signing. I have up twice, but luckily I went back later and no one was queuing. I got a copy of the photo of John, age 9. She was a lovely person and signed it on the back. When she gave me the photo, Julia said, "From one child to another". It was great to meet her. It was a brilliant two days and I can't wait till next year!