BY CELIA ALMEIDA
Celebrations are taking place year-round at Beatle fan landmarks all over the globe, and this Friday, September 21st Gainesville will join the Beatlemania by hosting its own celebration as part of the Free Fridays Concert Series at the Downtown Bo Diddley Community Plaza.
Local Beatles cover band The Impostors will play two sets of classics by the Fab Four. The Impostors’ annual Free Fridays concerts are among the most highly attended every summer, and fans will not want to miss this year’s installment, as the Golden Anniversary show will feature musical surprises and fan activities as part of the celebration. Michael Derry, band member in The Impostors, promises an acoustic performance of “Strawberry Fields” among other surprises. “We’ve never done that one before.”
Derry has been playing in the band for almost three decades, but with a catalog as rich as that of the biggest band in the world, the songs are still fun to play and new fans come along every year. He recalls playing to a group of overjoyed tweens in the Nineties, who screamed as they were able to hear “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “Help!” live decades after the Beatles’ breakup.
Those tweens are perfect examples of the universal fan demographics that the Beatles’ music has touched. Some Beatles fans are in diapers watching “Yellow Submarine” while others only rock in rocking chairs nowadays, singing “When I’m 64” to their sweethearts.
Free Fridays concerts are made for acts with this breadth of community appeal. The Impostors keep coming back, according to Derry, because “It’s a communal music space that includes everyone from the homeless to the most wealthy members of our community… and the hours are great for families.”
In addition to music for the whole family, Friday’s event will be this summer’s second fundraiser for United Way of North Central Florida at the Downtown Plaza. The event will include a free kids’ area hosted by O2B Kids with a bounce house and other fun kids’ activities. This is the second year that the organization has partnered with Free Fridays for a fundraiser.
Debbie Mason, President and CEO of United Way of North Central Florida also believes that the Downtown Plaza is a fitting setting for her organization’s fundraising event. “Downtown Gainesville is filled with interesting shops, great restaurants and bars. We bring our family-friendly event, with additional food, shopping, beer and soft drinks (proceeds to United Way) and a giant kids area with games, learning, and reading.”
Mason also notes that concert attendees who feel motivated to further serve their community beyond this event can sign up to be a Reading Pal to second and third graders at the United Way information tent.
Volunteers are also needed for the next two fundraising dates on October 5 and 19, the latter date which will be a battle of the bands at the Bo Diddley Plaza. Anyone who is interested in volunteering at these events is encouraged to contact Anne Schwagerl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes it seems as if Beatlemania never died, but rather it comes and goes in waves. So bring the family on a Day Trip down memory lane and rejoice in the giving spirit of the Sixties as you dance and sing along while supporting a great cause. Lennon’s Love Revolution starts with us.