Day Trip: Abbey Road on the River

Beatles event being held for first time at National Harbor

August 29, 2010|By Marriam Shah, The Baltimore Sun

As summer winds down, Marylanders can rev up for one more huzzah in the form of Abbey Road on the River, said to be the largest Beatles tribute festival in the world, which lands at National Harbor this week.

The five-day event, staged originally in Kentucky, is expected to draw large crowds to the Potomac riverfront from Thursday through Labor Day.

"We're going to have five stages and over 40 bands, and we'll be screening two movies," said event producer Gary Jacob, adding that the plan is to make the festival an annual event in the area.

"We expect it to be bigger here," he said. "This is the center of the universe … so we do have high expectations."

Among those expectations is that the festival will appeal to a broad range of people.

"The great thing about the Beatles is that their music reaches a wide audience," Jacob said, including "infants as well as grandma and grandpa."

In addition to tribute bands and shows, the festival will have guest speakers, including Pete Best, the band's original drummer.

"He's got a tremendous story to tell," said Jacob. "He holds a special place in history."

Amie Gorrell, director of public relations for Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, says the event has had "audiences upward of 30,000" in the past.

The resort offers a festival package with a room, two day passes for the event, VIP access and parking.

For those looking to take a break from the Fab Four's music, a new Beatles film will open at the festival.

"We are screening the world premiere of ' Paul McCartney Really is Dead,' which is all about the rumors about him being deceased, although he is very much alive," Jacob said.

The film addresses McCartney's alleged body double as well as clues that misled fans.

"A Hard Day's Night," a 1964 comedy in the form of a 'mockumentary' about Beatlemania also will be shown.

The first time the Abbey Road on the River festival was held in Kentucky, Jacob saw teenagers dancing with their parents.

"You just don't see 15-year-old boys hanging out with their moms," he said. "We've made a serious effort to make it comfortable for every age group."

If you go Abbey Road on the River

Single-day general admission is $30 in advance and $35 at the event. Admission with priority seating is $70 and includes late-night parties.

A "daytrippper" package is $80 and includes general admission for two and late-night tickets for two. The package is ideal for two people or for one person wanting to attend the festival for two days.

Getting there

The event will take place at Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., at National Harbor in Prince George's County. Take Interstate 95 south to I-495 (Capital Beltway). Take exit 2A to merge onto National Harbor Boulevard and turn right at Waterfront Street.


Besides the music festival, the area has lots of shopping and dining areas and also offers boat rentals and water transportation. The event venue is a short trip from Washington and offers shuttle service.


Gaylord National Resort will offer a package for the event including one-night room accommodations, two-day VIP tickets, a Beatles T-shirt, breakfast and parking for $146. Other hotels at National Harbor include the Hampton Inn, Residence Inn and Wyndham Resorts.


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