John Vezmar, owner of Hammond's Blue Room Café, hopes his annual Beatles Fest serve as a foundation for new generations to start magical mystery tours of their own.
"We're really making this a family friendly, all ages experience," he said. "It's anchored in music, and the parents love the Beatles and love the music and want to bring the kids out and raise them on the Beatles. That's what happened to me. I was raised on the Beatles."
Vezmar's tribute to the Fab Four runs July 28 next to Blue Room on Hohman and Rimback streets. It's the seventh year of the fest. In light of this, Vezmar's musical lineup finds him both getting back to its origins and looking toward its future.
Region songsmith Josh McCormack and area rockers Nomad Planets, both of whom lent their talents to Vezmar's festival when it had its initial run all those years ago, are slated to perform this year. At the same time, long–running Fab Four tribute band American English is making their Blue Room "Beatle Fest" debut.
"We've been around the block with this a few times, and in my mind, it's go big or go home this year," Vezmar said. "I just want this to be great this year, and arguably, the biggest Beatle band in Chicagoland is American English ... we've never pulled out the stops like this before."
Another highlight of the festival will be sets by Chicago–based DJ Rhythm Scholar, who is scheduled to spin his own interpretations of Beatles favorites in between sets as well as perform a rooftop set of his own.
Although Blue Room's "Beatles Fest" is slated to wrap up at 11 p.m. July 28, the festivities will resume for those 21 and older at Hammond's AquaVor Nightclub. At press time, limited tickets remain available for the after-party, which will include additional spins from Rhythm Scholar.
"(Rhythm Scholar's) set is going to be remixes of songs from the year the Beatles released their first album through the next 20 years," Vezmar said.