Beatlemania is coming back to where it started - Cheltenham
BEATLEMANIA is returning to Cheltenham – where it all began in 1963.
Paperback writers will be celebrating the work of the Fab Four at this year's Cheltenham Poetry Festival.
A series of poems by top writers will be featured, inspired by the band – complemented by a series of cover versions of their famous hits.
And there couldn't be a more fitting place to host such an event as it was on November 1, 1963, that The Beatles stormed the stage at Cheltenham's Odeon.
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The next day, the word Beatlemania was born.
The very first printed use of the word appeared in the Daily Mirror in an article describing the Cheltenham concert.
"Beatlemania! It's happening everywhere... even in sedate Cheltenham," screamed the Mirror.
The Liverpool lads played a short set of about half-an-hour to a screaming audience which threw jelly babies at the stage as George was said to be partial to them.
Beatles fan Jo Rees, from Winchcombe, fondly remembers that night when she was just 17.
The 66-year-old said: "We screamed through the first show and then went back in and screamed through the second as well."
The lucky pensioner even sneaked into the Savoy Hotel, in Montpellier, where the Liverpudlians were staying, and cheekily asked to speak with them. She and two friends ended up have a chat and a cup of tea with them all.
She said: "I still remember shaking like a leaf. We were so nervous." Now Beatlemania returns to the town with an event celebrating a new book of poetry inspired by the band.
Newspaper Taxis, by Liverpool poet and former Cheltenham resident Phil Bowen, takes place on Sunday, April 21 from 9.30pm until 10.30pm at Copa bar, on Regent Street.
Phil, who ran the Cotswold Inn, is now a celebrated poet and was the editor of Newspaper Taxis – Poetry After the Beatles, which includes work by a myriad of poets including Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Elaine Feinstein, Peter Finch, Adrian Henri and Philip Larkin.
Phil will be talking about the book at the event, which will also include cover versions of much-loved Beatles hits performed by Gloucestershire musicians.
Tickets to the event are £8 and £7 for concessions from Cheltenham Town Hall.
For more information on the festival, visit the website www.cheltenhampoetryfest.co.uk.