Artists & Authors Symposium

FREE Admission – FREE Entertainment – FREE Parking

The Artists & Authors Symposium kicks off at noon (and all day on Saturday)

Our line-up for the Authors and Artists’ Symposium at Beatles at The Ridge this year is phenomenal!!!

Our authors include Featured Authors, Ivor Davis, who toured with The Beatles in 1964 and wrote the book “The Beatles and Me on Tour” and Jude Southerland Kessler of “The John Lennon Series.” We’re so fortunate to have authors Dr. Kit O’Toole who will be releasing her new book of Beatles’ music critique essays, “Songs We Were Singing”; Lanea Stagg of “The RecipeRecords Cookbook Series” and the wonderful kid-dult book, “Little Dog in the Sun”; Anthony Robustelli, popular Beatles Radio Show host and author of “I Want to Tell You: The Definitive Guide to the Music of The Beatles 1962-1963″; Robert Rodriguez, author of “Revolver: How The Beatles Re-imagined Rock’n’Roll” and “Solo in the 70′s” and “Beatles FAQ”; and Sara Schmidt, host/researcher for and author of the upcoming book on The Beatles in St. Louis!

Our artists include Featured Artist Seth Swirksy, film maker who created the movie, “Beatles Stories” and Rande Kessler who has created 4 mixed media sculptures depicting each of The Beatles for the fest, along with the “Doors of Liverpoool” art posters and hand-sketched Beatles t-shirts! What a line up!

Don’t miss their presentations (free of charge) on Friday night, 18 Sept. and all day Saturday, 19 Sept!

argentaThe Argenta Collection will be on display all day Friday and Saturday in The Studio.

The collection contains over 200 large format photos, including many rarely seen before. Originally composed and displayed for the Argenta Arts Foundation in North Little Rock, the entire collection was donated to Downtown Walnut Ridge last year.

FRIDAY, 18 September 2015

Starting at noon

Displays open for viewing at “The Studio”

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. at “The Studio”

“The Ten Strangest Events of The Beatles North American Tour!”

Kit (Dr. Kit O’Toole) and Kaboodle (Jude Southerland Kessler) will take you on a fast-paced countdown of the oddest and most exciting events that occurred on The Beatles North American Tour! One of them just might be a night landing (with flashlights) near Walnut Ridge! Hmmmm…. Join us for this fun presentation that kicks off the weekend!

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at “The Studio”

Ivor-and-Beatle-poster72Featured Author Ivor Davis will present “The Beatles and Elvis”

Ivor Davis was one of the few journalists with The Beatles when they met Elvis and spent the afternoon with him. What really happened? Was the meeting antagonistic? What did John say to Elvis about his music? Get the scoop tonight!

In 1964, Ivor Davis was hand-selected to accompany The Beatles on their North American Tour and was the only journalist with the group for all 34 action-packed days. Davis was also the only newspaper writer invited to accompany the Beatles for the amazing “Rock and Roll Summit” when the Beatles finally met Elvis Presley in Los Angeles on 27 August 1965 – 50 years ago this Summer. In 2014, Davis broke his long silence and shared the “rowdy and riotous” memories of that historical summer trek in a fast-paced book entitled The Beatles and Me on Tour.

Davis’s exciting volume, heralded as “a refreshing and entertaining look by a real insider who recorded the intimate happenings of The Beatles” recently won the coveted 2015 Independent Publishers’ Book Award for a Memoir. Over the last year, he has also thrilled Beatles aficionados as Guest Speaker for the Fest for Beatles Fans in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Having served as a journalist for the London Daily Express and Editor-at-Large for Los Angeles Magazine, Davis has lived all over the world and written about a myriad of subjects: earthquakes, wars, politics, and social upheaval. But nothing, Davis believes, equals his memories of the Summer of 1964, when rock’n’roll changed forever. And he will share those adventures with Beatles fans on Friday night, 18 September 2015 as the kick-off for “Beatles at the Ridge.”

6:30 p.m. – 8:50 p.m. at “The Studio”

seth-swirsky-ringo-starr“The Making Of ‘Beatles Stories’” Film-maker (and hit songwriter) Seth Swirsky will explain the intricate and often difficult (but exciting) path he followed to record the Beatle memories and stories of greats such as George Martin, Norman Smith, Sir Ben Kingsley, Henry Winkler, Jon Voight, Brian Wilson, and many, many others. How did he make this excellent movie? Find out here! And then he will show the film to fest-goers, free of charge.

Seth Swirsky, who has written songs for Elton John, Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Olivia Newton-John, and Michael MacDonald was primarily a music artist until 2004. He had hit songs such as Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It to My Heart” and “Prove Your Love” which soared to #1 on the international pop charts.

Then in 2004, Swirsky was invited to perform at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England where The Beatles had spent their formative years, and he was inspired to tell a new side of The Beatles’ story. Over the next six years, he set off on many long journeys across the United States and England, interviewing people who had met The Beatles and knew them first-hand. Swirsky focused his research on people who had never before told their Beatles Stories. And that became the name of his in-depth film: “Beatles Stories.”

Using techniques from his master’s degree in psychology, Swirsky interviewed a diverse group of celebrities, Beatles musical technicians, sports figures, and international personalities. He chatted with Beatles music producer George Martin (who rarely gives interviews) and EMI Engineer, Norman “Hurricane” Smith (who wrote the hit song “Oh Babe”). Swirsky visited with actors Jon Voight and Sir Ben Kingsley.

Also, Swirsky talked with noted musicians such as Graham Nash, Art Garfunkel, Davy Jones, Jackie DeShannon, and Smokey Robinson – all of whom had special “Beatles Stories” to share. Over 80 interviews were stitched together seamlessly to make this outstanding film about The Beatles and their influence on people from every walk of life.

In 2012, Swirsky’s artistic and informative film was released at Los Angeles’ famed Egyptian Theater. Immediately after, it was premiered at the Grammy Museum to a sold-out audience. And in the years since, “Beatles Stories” has become an Best Seller with a flawless 5-star review from Rolling Stone magazine.

SATURDAY, 19 September, 2015

All Authors will have their books for sale in the MarketPlace throughout the day

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at “The Studio”

Panel Discussion: “We Met the Beatles For Real!”

Hosted by Sara Schmidt of
Kick off Beatles at the Ridge right! Come meet the “girls and boys” who went to the airport and actually met The Beatles (for real!) in Walnut Ridge, 1964!!! Coffee will be served.

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at “The Studio”

“Something About The Beatles” LIVE podcast!!!

Hosted by Robert Rodriguez, author of Fab Four FAQ, Fab Four FAQ 2.0. Revolver: How The Beatles Re-Imagined Rock’n’Roll, and Solo in The 70’s…and by Richard Buskin, New York Times best-selling author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide To The Beatles, John Lennon: His Life and Times, and Beatles 101. Be a part of music history as Robert and Richard go live on air with another shrewd discussion of The Beatles and their music. You’ll be part of the show!

noon – 1:00 p.m. at “The Studio”

“Beatles Lunch and Learn”

Hosted by Lanea Stagg of The Recipe Records Series
Bring your own lunch and enjoy while Lanea Stagg creates sumptuous “Savoy Truffles.” (One yummy flavor for each Beatle!) She’ll talk about the creation of the song, and Cameron Hicks will perform the song for you! You’ll get to sample this yummy delicacy along with “Trippy Pink Punch.” Sweet! As an added treat, while you munch, Lanea will read aloud her lovely new book, “Little Dog in the Sun!”

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. at “The Studio”

Beatles Multi-Track Meltdown!

Hosted by famed musician Anthony Robustelli, author of “I Want to Tell You, The Definitive History of the Music of The Beatles 1962-63″ AND Host of “Beatles Multi-track Meltdown” on BeatlesARama Radio each Sunday night at 7p.m. CT. In his famed, “MultiTrack Meltdown,” Anthony will deconstruct your favorite Beatles’ songs, letting you hear the various and complex component parts. Sit back and enjoy the magic! Hear The Beatles as you never have before!

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at “The Studio”

Book Release Party Honoring Dr. Kit O’Toole!

For years, Kit O’Toole has been a Contributing Editor for Beatlefan magazine, a freelance essayist for and Blinded by But now she is releasing her first book on The Beatles: “Songs We Were Singing”. Come and get a First Edition of this fantastic book, and enjoy Kit’s presentation of:
“More Beatles Sounds that Changed the World!”
This show got a standing ovation last year. Don’t miss this NEW edition. New songs, new info!
Tea and Cake will be served!

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. at “The Studio”

Off the Beatle-N Path: Liverpool As You’ve Never Seen Her Before!

Symposium Grand Finale
Symposium Chair, Jude Southerland Kessler, author of The John Lennon Series and host of “The John Lennon Hour Radio Show” on BlogTalkRadio will take you on a multi-media tour of seldom seen Liverpool places and spaces. Touching stories, great photos, and beautiful music! If you’ve never been to Liverpool, home of The Beatles, this will take you there!


Ivor Ivor Davis

Featured Author
Through thirty-four days and twenty-four cities in 1964, Ivor Davis traveled with the Beatles watching them make rock history. He enjoyed unrestricted access to the four boys—from their hotel suites to backstage at concert arenas to their private jet—as reporter for The London Daily Express. The Beatles were in limousine number one — Davis in limousine number two. Ivor played all night games of Monopoly with John Lennon, ghostwrote a newspaper column for George Harrison, and witnessed the night Bob Dylan “deflowered” the young marijuana Beatle virgins. He was asked to travel with the band again for the 1965 tour where he was the only daily newspaper journalist invited to the meeting with Elvis on August 27th. Fifty years later after an extensive career as a journalist, Davis collected his memories and notes into The Beatles and Me On Tour.

jude-thumbJude Southerland Kessler

Featured Author
Author of three books (of what is to be a nine book series) on the life of John Lennon: “Shoulda Been There”, “Shivering Inside”, and “She Loves You”. She is currently working on Volume 4, “Should’ve Known Better”. Jude is the radio host for “The John Lennon Hour” on BeatlesARama radio.

otoole-thumb Dr. Kit O’Toole

Kit O’Toole, a fixture on Chicago’s Fest for Beatles Fans panels over the years, began the Deep Beatles series for Something Else! in June of 2012 with a personal memory on “Eight Days a Week”. She has also delved into the closing medley on Abbey Road and, most recently, their reunion effort “Free as a Bird.” O’Toole is a long-time contributing editor at BeatleFan magazine and the website Blinded by Sound, as well.

lanea-thumb Lanea Stagg

Author Lanea Stagg continues the Recipe Records series with her latest publications: Recipe Records the 60′s Edition and Recipe Records – a Culinary Tribute to The Beatles. Maggie McHugh (1967 – 2011) and Lanea published Recipe Records in 2010.

anthony-robustelli Anthony Robustelli

Anthony Robustelli is a producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and author of “I Want To Tell You – The Definitive Guide To The Music Of The Beatles Volume 1: 1962/1963″. He has successfully run his own recording studio, Shady Bear Productions, since 1996, with studios in Brooklyn and The Catskill Mountains.

RobRodriguez Robert Rodriguez

Beatles scholar Robert Rodriguez is the award-winning author of five books on the Beatles and their solo years, including Revolver: How The Beatles Re-imagined Rock ‘n’ Roll. He’s also a highly-regarded speaker, frequent interviewee and the co-host of the Something About The Beatles podcast with British journalist Richard Buskin. Currently, he is at work on his sixth – and possibly final – Beatles book.

Richard Buskin

A New York Times bestselling author, Richard Buskin is also a full-time freelance journalist, specializing in pop culture, music, film, television, and sociopolitical affairs. Since the early-Eighties, he has conducted interviews and written regular feature articles for a wide variety of publications in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan and Australia, dealing with all aspects of the entertainment business: the artistic, the technical and the entrepreneurial. A native of London, England, who relocated to America in 1995, Richard has had his work published in newspapers ranging from the New York Post and the Sydney Morning Herald to Britain’s Observer, Independent and Daily Mail, as well as magazines such as Playboy (US, Brazilian, Czech, French, Japanese and Polish editions), Stern (Germany) and Paris Match (France). He has also written for numerous music publications around the world, including Billboard, Spin, Musician, Mix, Musik Express, Melody Maker, Sound On Sound and Performance (for which he was a senior editor and UK bureau chief), and movie journals such as Film Review and Films & Filming, in addition to authoring/co-authoring more than 20 non-fiction books.

saraschmidt Sara Schmidt

Sara Schmidt has been actively involved online with Beatles communities for the past 20 years. She has ran the popular blog, “Meet the Beatles…for Real” since 2009. The idea behind her blog was to be the 21st Century version of a Beatles fanzine, similar to those from the 1970′s. She posts rare Beatles photos and stories of people who met one or more of the Beatles. The blog has been featured several times in Beatlefan magazine and was listed on Beatles’ historian Mark Lewisohn’s website as one of the top five best Beatles site online. She is writing a book about the Beatles’ in St. Louis called “Happiness is Seeing The Beatles: The Beatles in St. Louis” that will be published by Bluebird Publishing next summer. Sara is a Title 1 reading teacher for kindergarten through fifth grade students in Alton, Illinois.


Seth_fb_pubSeth Swirsky

Featured Artist
Swirsky, who has written songs for Elton John, Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Olivia Newton-John, and Michael MacDonald, was primarily a music artist until 2004. He had hit songs such as Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It to My Heart” and “Prove Your Love” which soared to #1 on the international pop charts.

Rande-thumbRande Kessler

Cover artist for She Loves You and photography artist for “The Doors of Liverpool” poster. Kessler is primarily a pen and ink artist who was The Caroline Dorman artist of the year in 1983 and won first place at Melrose Arts Festival in 1986.