The Second Annual Beatles Festival featuring live entertainment by rock tribute bands, Beatles movies and other activities in celebration of the legendary band will be held on the Santa Monica Pier Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 26 through 28.

The free event includes merchandise vendors, Beatles karaoke, a kids zone, celebrity appearances and a special performance of tribute band Led Zepagain during the Twilight Dance Series concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26.

Headlining the festival is the Ticket to Ride Musical, a retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein and featuring the live music of tribute band, Abbey Road, at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at Barnum Hall on the Santa Monica High School campus. Tickets are $25 and available at Ticketmaster under “Abbey Road.”

The festival is open from noon to 10 p.m. Aug. 26, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 27 and 28. The event was held last year at the Queen Mary in Long Beach and drew more than 25,000 people.

“It’s a wonderful gathering of people who love the Beatles and their music,” said promoter Fred Zermeno, who anticipates in excess of 20,000 people will attend the festival. “The Beatles arrived in America 46 years ago and continue to be immensely popular today.”

On Friday evening, Aug. 27, a VIP reception and silent auction, benefiting the Bob Hope USO of the Greater Los Angeles area, will be held at the DoubleTree Guest Suite Resort. The doors for the VIP party will open at 7:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 8:30 p.m.

The Ticket to Ride Musical is a nationally touring musical biography show. In December, 2008 the La Habra Depot Theatre asked volunteer producer Andy Nagle to write a script which would give the audience a glimpse inside the world of the Beatles from their point of view, as well as hear some of the greatest songs ever written.

Nagle said he wrote a play which gives the audience a chance to “be there” at pivotal moments in the extraordinary career of the Beatles – from Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club, to the Ed Sullivan Show, a Shea Stadium show in New York and their final live performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corp. offices.

The four musician/actors cast to play John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were selected from 120 Beatles tribute musicians, most of whom showed up for auditions in costume and in character. The Abbey Road band features Benny Chadwick (Paul), Tyson Kelly (John), Robert Bielma (George) and Axel Clarke (Ringo).

Information on the Beatles Festival, (213) 219-1060, or www.tpclive.com/.

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