JEFFERSONVILLE — Phillip Rodriguez saw an ad for Abbey Road on the River in his hometown Chicago Tribune and knew right then that his family would be heading south Memorial Day weekend for the annual festival.

Sure enough there he was Monday, sipping a beer and enjoying the sights and sounds at Big Four Station park in Jeffersonville during the event's sweltering finale.

"My son plays the drums, and he's going through a Beatles phase," said Rodriquez, whose son, Phillip G., 10, was drenched from running through a misting tent as the heat and humidity bore down Monday afternoon. "It's a phase that I haven't grown out of, so I figured he'd get a kick out of it."

As the world's largest Beatles-inspired music festival wound down Monday families flocked to Big Four Station, the park providing an ideal setting for the kids to frolic and the adults to wax nostalgic.

Despite the heat and rain over the weekend it was a record-breaking event for Abbey Road. Saturday was the event's largest single-day attendance ever, with about 10,000 people descending on Jeffersonville, according to festival spokeswoman Ali Hawthorne. Estimated attendance for the weekend was 20,000.

The Pressnell clan from Cleveland did plenty of roaming around the area. Larry and Meredith, both 29, along with son Sirius, 2 1/2, were attending their third Abbey Road on the River, their second in Jeffersonville.

"To be able to bring [Sirius] and not feel like we have to 24-7 kind of keep him on a leash, it's just been fantastic," said Meredith, as her family also sought relief from the heat at the misting tent. "He has a little guitar and just jams out. It's just been fantastic."

The family stayed at an Airbnb in Jeffersonville last year. Unable to find one in the city this year, they opted for an Airbnb in Louisville near the Big Four Bridge, where they parked and walked across to Jeffersonville — affording exposure to both sides of the river.

"There's so much to do," Larry said. "We'll take a break and go walk around, it's just been really nice."

The festival, in its 18th year, is also for the young at heart, including Kay Foley, 61, who was visiting from Lexington, Ky., for the sixth time.

She's a big fan of the event's setting at Big Four Station.

"I love the ability to walk around," said Foley, an amateur photographer who enjoys taking snapshots of the bands. "I love the outdoor park atmosphere. I think they've just done a fabulous job. They couldn't be more accommodating if they tried."

Foley, a native of Los Angeles, saw the Beatles in concert at Dodger Stadium in 1966 — an event fondly remembered at each visit to Abbey Road on the River.

"I guess we were really lucky, those of us old enough to have seen them live," said Foley, who works in an accounting office for a manufacturing firm. "I come from a musical family, and I just wanted to see them play. It was so amazing."

Foley's mom and dad took her and her sister to that Dodger Stadium concert. Foley lost her mom in January, so this year's Abbey Road on the River carried special meaning.

"This is the one thing I look forward to all year long," Foley said. "My mom has been here, dancing around. She's been here in spirit."

New memories were made this weekend, too. Rodriquez, his wife, Julia, their son and daughter, Penelope, 4, soaked in what Rodriquez fondly called "Small Town U.S.A."

"It's in the middle of a park. You can definitely feel the great, family-friendly environment," Rodriquez said, noting the welcome escape from big-city life. "It was nice to come and relax, and not worry about all the hustle and bustle."

Jason Thomas is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at or by phone at 812-206-2127. Follow him on Twitter: @ScoopThomas.

Assistant Editor | Editor of SoIn, a weekly entertainment, culture and lifestyle section that publishes every Thursday | Editor of Southern Indiana Fitness Source magazine, a monthly glossy focusing on fitness, health, nutrition and wellness

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