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Tyler Kealey and the Nowhere Men will perform at Beatlefest. Photo by Terry Steeves.

Beatlefest at the Brylee Brings Back Good Day Sunshine

By Terry Steeves on August 1, 2016

Beatlefest At The Brylee will celebrate its second year with a one-day Beatles-themed festival next weekend, Sunday August 7, from 1pm until the sun goes down. Your $25 ticket includes admission, free parking, five bands, a Beatles memorabilia marketplace, and a thoroughly informative musical/storytelling segment by Liverpudlian, author, and Beatles aficionado, Phil Jenkins. It’s a day filled to the brim that will check off not only every Beatles fanatic’s wish list, but will delight music lovers of all kinds.

Beatles memorabilia, alongside the main barn. Photo by Terry Steeves.

Beatles memorabilia, alongside the main barn. Photo by Terry Steeves.

Beatlefest At The Brylee is the brainchild of Ottawa musician Paul Johanis, who, with a little help of some of his friends, came up with the idea of hosting an outdoor festival dedicated to everything Beatles. In 2013, he formed a new band to host a 50th anniversary tribute to Beatlemania, the first Beatles album released in North America (November 1963). The success of that performance, at The Rainbow, prompted subsequent gigs and later resulted in talks with Brylee Farm owners and friends, Brian Maloney and Lise Villeneuve, to use their property as the location for this ’Beatlestock’ idea. Paul Johanis recollects the germination of ideas:

“After the show we did at The Rainbow, we thought why don’t we do a tribute to the next Beatles album, and the next, etc. And then we took it one step further to coming up with the festival idea… I knew through a family connection, some people who owned the Brylee Farm, so I spoke to them. As it turned out, Brian had this idea that he’d like to have some music events on the farm, so when I told him of the festival idea, he said, “that’s sounds great, let’s do it!”.  

Photo by Terry Steeves.

Photo by Terry Steeves.

The Brylee Farm's shop. Photo by Terry Steeves.

The Brylee Farm’s shop. Photo by Terry Steeves.

The Brylee Farm, located just outside Thurso, Quebec, is a gorgeous stretch of land on which the main stage area sits at the base of a grassy slope, directly behind a beautiful rustic cookhouse. Inside the cookhouse, a variety of homemade items are prepared, including the farm’s own grass-fed meats, which are grilled on their famous parrilla – an Argentine outdoor barbecue built onto the side of the building. Brylee Farm co-owner, Lise Villeneuve, who is also a chef, has whopped up some Beatles-inspired dishes such as the Let It Beef burger, Glass Onion confit, Yellow Submarines, Wild Honey pie, Strawberry Field bites, and more. The site is licensed, so those that wish to bring-their-own coolers containing beverages of their choice may do so. Visitors are also encouraged to bring lawn chairs, as well as sun-protective items like umbrellas, hats, and plenty of sunscreen.

The five bands being featured were chosen to offer a more well-rounded retrospective of the music of the Beatles. Johanis gives a brief synopsis of each band:

“There’s a bit of a change in the line-up this year, where we decided to include folk and country angles. I find that many Beatles songs were really folky/rootsy in their sound, mood, and spirit, especially during their Rubber Soul period, and back when they discovered Bob Dylan. The first act are called The Capital Beatles, who are a real Beatles tribute band that just started up this year. Then our band, The Beatlefest House Band, will come on to play a variety of Beatles material. The next band, Gib and the Country Beatles, will do a whole country set, followed by the more folk-flavoured, KEWT, which is a duo keyboard-guitar-vocal act featuring Terry Tufts and Katherine Briggs. Tyler Kealey and the Nowhere Men, who gave an amazing show last year, will finish up with the final performance at 5:00pm. It’s also the same weekend the Beatles album, Revolver was released 50 years ago, so I’ve asked each band to include one or two songs from that album in their set. Phil Jenkins will give his show inside the barn to close off the day… everything should be wrapped up by sunset.” 

Photo by Terry Steeves.

Photo by Terry Steeves.

In the case of rain, activities will be moved inside the farm’s massive main barn, which houses receptions and catered events year round, and even includes a store where a vast selection of their fresh products can be purchased.

For more info on the Brylee Farm, head over to www.fermebrylee.ca. For complete details on Beatlefest At The Brylee, including ride sharing options, please visit www.beatlefestatthebrylee.com, or their Facebook page.