John Lennon at piano

Athens Musicians Come Together for Annual Lennon Fest

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Ohio University students are leaving Athens en masse for winter break, but that doesn’t mean things are going to quiet down this weekend.

On the contrary, several Athens bands are planning to raise the volume–and funds for music education–with a little help from their friends.

This Saturday, The Union and Jackie O’s will be teeming with Beatles fans as Lennon Fest celebrates its 14th year.

What began as a cobbled-together affair back in 2000 has become one of the most popular music events in Athens.

Lennon Fest was created by local musician Eric Leighton as a way to honor the late John Lennon and raise money for the Johnny B Fund, set up to help young local musicians pay for music lessons. The fund was named after Leighton’s close friend John Bartlett, who passed away in 1994.

This year, 11 local acts will be performing the music of Lennon and The Beatles. This includes Leighton’s band, The Lennon Orchestra, which will be playing at both Jackie O’s and The Union.

“My Novembers and Decembers are spent learning Beatles songs,” he told WOUB in 2012. “The material is challenging, but rewarding. It’s a joy to play, and with so many other people around to help you sing the songs, it’s one of the most satisfying shows to play.”

The music gets underway at Jackie O’s Public House at 7 p.m. and The Union at 9 p.m. Donations will be collected at the door.

The schedule (subject to change):

Jackie O’s Public House

7-7:30 p.m. Tony Adami

7:30-8 p.m. Leah Nairn

8-9:20 p.m. Lennon Orchestra

9:40-10:15 p.m. Steve Zarate

10:30-11:30 p.m. Broken Ring

12 a.m. to 1 a.m. Controlled Folly

The Union

9 p.m. Hocking College Music School Students

9:20 p.m. Infinite Zero (Yoko Ono Band)

10 p.m. Nate Brite’s Plastic Zapple Band

10:50 p.m. Sport Fishing USA

11:40 p.m. Union Local 910 (Dropdead Sons)

12:45 a.m. Lennon Orchestra