JEFFERSONVILLE — Organizers behind Abbey Road on the River, the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival, have announced a second event in Jeffersonville this year, this one hitting its traditional Memorial Day weekend.
“Penny Lane at the Park” will be staged Saturday and Sunday, May 29 and 30, at Big Four Station Park, according to a news release. The smaller event, which will be limited to 2,000 to 2,500 people per day, comes a few months ahead of the festival’s larger annual event, scheduled in September this year due to the pandemic.
Penny Lane will feature nonstop music on two stages from 10-12 bands, including The Newbees, Hard Day’s Night, The Rigby’s, Louisville’s School of Rock, and special guests from San Juan Puerto Rico — the Jukebox Beatles.
“Echoing the excitement of Abbey Road on the River, Penny Lane at The Park will honor and celebrate the music of The Beatles and the 1960s in a smaller, socially distanced setting with food trucks, vendors, art installations and more,” the release stated.
Tickets can be purchased at AROTR.com and cost $10 per person. Children 10 and younger are free.
“It’s been a long and winding road since we’ve been able to enjoy live music together in person, but things are finally turning around, so we can get back to where we once belonged,” event producer Gary Jacob stated in the release.
“Since 2005, Memorial Day weekend has been the weekend Beatles fans mark their year by both in Jeffersonville and Louisville. Even though we held a virtual event last May, it obviously wasn’t the same. We just couldn’t let this upcoming holiday weekend come and go without presenting the music we all love and giving our fans confidence that good times are coming back,” he said.
“While we’ve all faced challenges, especially the live music industry, we are ready for this new version of our world-famous festival, and we believe our fans are too.”
Jacob said organizers were focused on Abbey Road in September, but as COVID-19 vaccination efforts increased across the U.S., he wondered if they could do something sooner.
“The vaccination accelerated so much and it became obvious that everybody would be eligible for vaccinations and by the time we get to that weekend, hopefully the country is going to be healthy,” Jacob told the News and Tribune. “The visual in my own mind in having a beautiful weather weekend and having nothing going on in that park was a depressing thought.”
Jacob said he approached city leaders four or five weeks ago, and they came to the agreement to host the late May event, which he sees as a sort of preview to the main event in September. A close watch will be kept on crowd size and guests will be staggered in to not go over capacity.
“We want to bring back the magic and the harmony and the love that goes with Abbey Road on the River,” he said. “We want to bring back The Beatles and that joy.”
Jacob said he gets calls and emails all year from people across the world who say the weekend event is the most important of the year for them.
“I want to make sure that we live up to people’s expectations and we give them the great time they want,” he said. “It’s going to be a healing weekend for all of us.”
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said he is excited to see the new festival, which will be the first event of this size in the city since the pandemic started last year.
“We are thrilled our friends from Abbey Road chose Jeffersonville as the place for this special event,” Moore said, according to the release. “Penny Lane will be our first large-scale event in a long time. There are a lot of exciting things happening in Jeffersonville right now and we’re looking forward to seeing old friends, welcoming new friends and sharing the excitement of coming together for a weekend of music with them.”
According to the release, festival organizers are working closely with the city Parks Department to implement a full range of state regulations, safety measures and security systems. Attendance will be limited to between 2,000 and 2,500 fans per day. Masks will be required in lines, restrooms and congregated areas. Social distancing will be implemented inside the festival grounds.
The 2021 WAVE 3 News Abbey Road on the River is planned for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-6. The 2020 festival was originally scheduled for May 21-25 and was ultimately cancelled due to COVID-19.
Penny Lane at the Park is produced by Abbey Road on the River with support from the City of Jeffersonville Parks Department. Organizers thanked partners Wave 3 News, Southern Indiana Tourism, The Radisson Hotel, TownePlace Suites, Budweiser, WAKY radio and the News and Tribune for their commitment to supporting live music and events.
For updates and information, go to www.arotr.com.