Major authors headline "Beatles at the Ridge"

Press Release

“Beatles at the Ridge,” the award-winning festival that USA TODAY named as “One of the 10 Best Places in the World to Learn About the Beatles,” will return to Walnut Ridge, Arkansas this September 16 and 17. Topping the charts of “things to do” that weekend will be the Fourth Annual Beatles Authors and Artists Symposium – a free two-day event featuring Beatles experts from all over the country. Headlining the weekend’s activities will be two distinguished Beatles authors: Ivor Davis and Jude Southerland Kessler.

The Symposium will celebrate the lasting influence and impact of The Beatles with a weekend full of activities that explore The Beatles’ musical and cultural influence, including discussions with noted Beatles historians, live music, recipe classes, and a special screening of the film Good Ol’ Freda, which documents Freda Kelly, former head of the Beatles Fan Club.

Ivor Davis, author of The Beatles and Me on Tour, was the only journalist to complete the


entire North American Tour with The Beatles in 1964, and he was present when The Beatles met Elvis months later. He was also the ghost writer for George Harrison for the Daily Express. Davis also wrote Five to Die (the first book on the Charles Manson murders), was with Bobby Kennedy the night he was assassinated, and has interviewed countless celebrities including the late, great Muhammad Ali for the New York Times Syndicate. He’ll be sharing these influential ‘60s stories and more at Beatles at the Ridge.

Jude Southerland Kessler is the foremost expert on John Lennon and the author of The John Lennon Series – an outlined nine-volume work covering the life of the man who formed The Beatles. She has published the first three books in this series and is currently researching and writing Volume 4. She will be presenting “Lennon’s Liverpool: The Beginnings of The Beatles” at the Festival.

Jude at Symphony Gala

“A symposium – which attracts smaller, intimate crowds – is the ideal setting for really getting to know Beatles notables such as Ivor Davis,” says Kessler, chairperson of the event. “This is a rare and wonderful opportunity for any devoted Beatles fan. This Festival and the people of Walnut Ridge have always been dear to my heart.”

Other renowned Beatles authors and experts participating in the Symposium include Aaron Krerowicz, Sara Schmidt, and Lanea Stagg, and featured artists will include Rande Kessler, musician Cameron Hicks, antique button jewelry designer Lisa Harp, and collector Ken Orth. Live music will be provided Saturday by Liverpool Legends, a renowned Beatles tribute band whose members were hand-picked by George Harrison’s sister, Louise.

On Friday, 16 September, Davis and Kessler will kick off this two-day celebration in honor of The Beatles, who famously visited Walnut Ridge in 1964. For more information on the Festival, visit or contact Charles Snapp at

(Photos provided by Jude Southerland Kessler. Feature photo is Davis (left) seated behind Muhammad Ali, driving.)

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