Has it been a hard day’s night? Have you been workin’ like a dog? Instead of sleepin’ like a log, take one of six opportunities to check out BeatleFest 2018 at the Wilmington Drama League from Monday, July 16 through Saturday, July 21. It’s not exactly eight days a week, but it’ll feel like eight days of music, with a total of 215 songs being performed.
The festival is the brainchild of well-known local musicians Joe Trainor and Matt Urban, both of whom played in the now-defunct In The Light tribute group and have since formed The Rock Orchestra. After a two-hour Beatles-centric show last September, Trainor knew they had the local musical chops to cover every Beatles album from Please Please Me to Let It Be, as well as every single in between.
“We’re basically taking from the same model as the Wilmington Drama League or the Delaware Symphony: we do three major productions a year and cast them accordingly,” says Trainor. “We find the right musicians for the artists we’re covering to get the right people for the right style and keep it fresh each night.”
To accommodate BeatleFest and the library of 12 albums on the slate, more than 20 musicians will put their heads and hands together on nearly as many instruments, including eight string, eight brass, one harp, several Indian instruments (including the sitar and tabla), piano and percussion.
While 12 albums might not seemingly add up to 215 songs, Trainor and company are also including every single released between the 12 albums released from 1963 to 1970. He explained that way back in the 1960s, when pretty much everything was recorded on vinyl (or 8-track), the music industry was naturally a bit different than today.
“Today, you write a song, record it, and it can be on YouTube instantaneously,” says Trainor. “Back in the ‘60s, it was a different model. The Beatles recorded plenty of singles they released between full albums, and a lot of those singles never appeared on albums. We’re performing all of them.”
Tickets to all six nights are available via BrownPaperTickets.com, and go for as little as $25 for a single night pass and $120 for all six, as well as $50 for a single VIP evening or $250 for a VIP festival pass. The latter includes preferred seating, a T-shirt, drink tickets and access to the after party Saturday night. Beer and wine will be sold at each show. Tickets will also be sold at the door (10 West Lea Blvd., Wilmington), but if you plan on purchasing day-of, check The Rock Orchestra’s Facebook page for announcements, or send an email to email@example.com in order to confirm ticket availability.