Fifty years after The Beatles made their North American debut, their music continues to attract young audiences. “They are one of my favourite bands. They are really inspiring for people to play musical instruments,” said Alex Wyant, 11, of Wasaga Beach. “When I started drumming, I only played Beatles songs. Ringo (Starr) is my favourite Beatle and drummer.” Wyant, who won the Ringo Starr lookalike contest Saturday at the Orillia Beatles Celebration, stayed in the stage area to hear Beatles music being performed by local musician Kayla Elizabeth, followed by The Beagles, a band of four young men who play only Beatles music. Carson Merkley, 15, of Orillia, also loves The Beatles and comes to the city’s Beatles festival annually. “They are timeless. I grew up listening to them,” said Merkley, who also attended to watch The Beagles perform. Beagles band member Tyler Chute, 19, of St. Thomas, grew up surrounded by Beatles music. “I grew up on it. How do you not like it?” said Chute, the George Harrison of The Beagles.
The Beagles tour all over Ontario, but Orillia is the only community with a Beatles festival. It’s the fourth consecutive year they have performed at the festival. “We can make jokes that Beatles fans get. People know The Beatles and it’s nice to interact and have them come up and say, ‘I liked when you made that joke because that’s what John (Lennon) did,’” Chute said. Chute and his bandmates have studied The Beatles with a mentor as well as through books and movies. He supports the festival moving to the July date for the first time and combining with the annual sidewalk sale, where Mississaga Street was closed to vehicle traffic. “I like that the streets are closed. That’s a brilliant idea. When it was just the square around the opera house, it was condensed. I think it’s brilliant that the street is open. It makes people walk around,” he said. Ralph Cipolla, chair of the Downtown Orillia Management Board, was working the bar at the main stage.
Source: Packet & Times, Orilla Canda