Beatlemania is about to invade Parksville.
The ultimate Tribute Artist Festival takes place May 22, 23, 24 at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre (PCCC) — it’s a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society — and for the first time there will be a Beatles act.
Now & Then is a Beatles revival tribute band that calls Buenos Aires, Argentina home. Along with Ben Klein as Elvis, Now & Then will be headlining the weekend -long Vancouver Island Tribute Festival which kicks off Friday night. (Now and Then plays Saturday night. For more information about the entire festival, including ticket information, visit:
The four musicians, who arrived in Parksville just after Mother’s Day, have never been out of Argentina before and are hoping their repertoire of Beatles hits will be the start of a successful tribute band career. They have Gayna Thompson, the owner of the Chuffin Café in Parksville to thank for bringing them here. Thompson said she is managing the band and has lined up a tour that will see them perform in British Columbia and Alberta before they head to England in August.
“Managing a Beatles tribute band is a bucket list thing for me. I have always wanted to do it. I have been dealing with tribute artists since 2002 but never any Beatles because it is four people,” she said.
Last fall, she was going to audition people and pick her own Beatles band to manage, but that all changed when she did some research online and discovered a group that won the battle of bands in the 14th Latin America Beatle week in Buenos Aires.
“I thought I would do some research on-line and see how many Beatles bands are on the Island, B.C. and Canada. I did it while I was working and before you know it you forget who you are listening to anymore and then their video came up and I paid attention.” Thompson had never heard about the prestigious contest which gathers the best South American Beatle tribute bands. She said the winners had the best harmonies she had ever heard in her life.
“I started listening some more and then I looked to see where they were from and when I saw Argentina I went oh oh. I couldn’t have picked a band further away if I tried to. I thought it ain’t going to work because they don’t know English,” she explained.
Thompson sent them a message and within 10 minutes they got back to her in English.
That was one hurdle over.
“I asked ‘do you have a manager’ and they said ‘no we don’t’. That was two hurdles over. I asked ‘would you like to come and tour Canada’ and they said they would love it.”
She admitted it took a lot of work processing paper work through immigration which started in the fall of 2014.
Thompson said not only do the guys look the part, the talented musicians also sound like the Fab Four.
Back in Argentina two of the band’s members had been awarded “Best Guitar player” for three consecutive years (2012, 2013, 2014) and “Best Drummer” in 2013, respectively.
She said they will do the Tribute show this weekend and on May 30 they will do a full concert at the PCCC with partial proceeds going to the Salvation Army building fund.
She said they will start with the Get Back set and then they will move into Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The group will do some touring in B.C. and Alberta before heading to Liverpool, England where they will perform several shows at Liverpool Beatle week.
It was the battle of the bands Beatles win that gave them their spot at Beatle Week and the foursome agree it will be one of the most important moments in their musical careers.
Performing on the most important stage any Beatle fan has ever known, playing Beatles music is a dream come true for the 20-something guys and they hope it will be reminiscent of what the original Beatles members experienced back in the 1960s.
“We want the women to go crazy just like they did for the original Beatles. We hope there is lots of screaming and shouting,” they all agreed.
Tickets for Now & Then May 30 at 7:30 p.m. are $25 and can be purchased at the PCCC or the Chuffin Café.