Port Macquarie Beatles Festival promises a magical mystery tour

Come together: Say hello to Beatle Magic and enjoy all the Fab Four's biggest hits performed at LUSC and Panthers as part of the Beatles Festival .

Come together: Say hello to Beatle Magic and enjoy all the Fab Four's biggest hits performed at LUSC and Panthers as part of the Beatles Festival .

Even if you didn’t grow up listening to The Beatles you know who they are and the influence they had on all musicians that followed them.

The King, as in Elvis Presley, was just as taken with the Fab Four as every other fan on the planet in the ‘60s.

Despite the fact we are now 50 years down the yellow brick road and find ourselves surrounded by electronica, house, and R&B that doesn’t resemble the original rhythm and blues, bands still sing covers of The Beatles’ music and dance floors still fill when strains of Yellow Submarine emanate from sub-woofers.

Here in the Hastings, the Baby Boomers have led a revival with their support of the annual Port Macquarie Beatles Festival, now in its fifth year.

To take us back to the halcyon days of the British invasion onto the pop music scene, Beatle Magic will perform The Beatles No.1 hits at Laurieton United Services Club on Friday night and the rock ‘n’ roll dance numbers at Panthers auditorium on Saturday night.

Founder of the tribute act, Bill Croft (John Lennon), says he has loved The Beatles since he was four years old.

“I used to love watching The Beatles cartoon show on television. I didn’t know they were real people. One day I told my mother I was going to start a band called The Beatles when I grew up, and she explained there already was one.” 

Appropriately, he did the next best thing. Croft says he was in a few bands over the years and always gravitated back to playing Beatles music. 

He originally I put together a show called Stars in Your Eyes which had tributes to American music of the ‘60s in the first half and British bands after interval.

It morphed into a show called British Invasion which covered everyone from The Hollies to Gerry and The Pacemakers and more, and naturally had a Beatles portion. 

“It was always the most popular, and it was the segment we played with the most passion, so I decided to develop a more extensive tribute just to The Beatles.”

Croft says he is kind of “obsessed” with Beatles music and has a strict ritual of training band members. “I’ve learnt every part from every song. I don’t play the drums, but I know if the band stray from the way The Beatles performed it.”

He says the music is not straight forward and not everyone can just play it and get the same sound.

“You have to understand the mechanics and really sink your teeth into it.”

Authentic costumes and personally fitted wigs add to the experience for the audience. John, Paul (Lance Link), George (John McFadden) and Ringo (Sam Vartuli), are ready to have you twist and shout to their music as they get back with about 40 Beatles hits at each venue. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.