Organizers of one of the world’s largest Beatles tribute festivals are bringing a new music event to Jeffersonville this Memorial Day weekend.
Abbey Road on the River usually takes place over five days in May, but organizers pushed it to September due to COVID-19. However, widespread vaccinations prompted founder Gary Jacob and his team to plan a fresh, scaled-down event — Penny Lane at the Park — in advance of the larger festival.
“We kept looking at Memorial Day weekend and thinking if indeed 200 million people are going to be vaccinated, couldn’t we put on a small version of Abbey Road on the River… and bring a little bit of joy and happiness to people who want to get outside and listen to music and dance with their own families?”
Though more people are getting vaccinated, Jacob said it’s still important to take precautions and that “huge events” won’t be safe for another few months. That’s why he’s implementing several restrictions at Penny Lane.
Capacity for the event at Big Four Station Park in Jeffersonville will be limited to about 2,000 people each day. Masks and social distancing will also be required.
One band will play at a time, alternating between two stages. Instead of stretching from the early morning to late at night, bands will play from 1-9 p.m.
“The music rotates,” Jacob said. “Nobody has to move. Everybody will be in that area on the southern part of the park where they’ll be able to see both stages at the same time. One plays, one gets cleaned up.”
At least 10 bands, including festival-favorite The Jukebox Beatles and several local groups, are scheduled to take the stage during the two-day festival. Jacob said his team completed the bookings over the last week.
He said the ability to maneuver quickly is just one reason he thinks Abbey Road and Penny Lane can be “unicorns” of the music festival scene.
“We’ve often been called a small but mighty festival, but this is going to be an even smaller but mightier festival, maybe, in terms of the results and what it does for getting people out and happy,” Jacob said. “…I’m thinking this is something people want. I think people are going to be really respectful of what we’re doing.”
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said it’s the perfect time for a smaller event like Penny Lane. Many other events have been cancelled over the past year, which has disappointed Moore.
He said Penny Lane could mark the beginning of a strong year that sees the local economy bounce back from the hardships caused by COVID-19.
“I’m very excited about it,” Moore said. “I know all the businesses in downtown Jeff are excited about it. The hotels are very excited about it. People have been itching to get out.”
Penny Lane at the Park is scheduled for May 29-30. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.
Abbey Road on the River will be held Labor Day weekend, from Sept. 2-6.