The long and winding roads that all lead to Mathew Street Aug 22 2003
Chris Brown Daily Post
AUGUST Bank Holiday: It is the biggest weekend of the year in Liverpool, and this weekend there is every chance it will get even bigger
More than 500,000 people are likely to descend on Liverpool from tomorrow for the 10th Mathew Street Festival.
And as has become the tradition, bands have come from all over the world to play in pubs and outdoor stages throughout the centre of the city. This year, groups from as far afield as Argentina, Australia and Moldova will be taking part.
Highlights include a gig in Chavasse Park when two historic concerts by John Lennon and George Harrison will be repeated.
On the Monday, on the same stage, there will be a day of music from Liverpudlians including The Corrds, the Mersey Beatles and Led Zed.
The festival is the culmination of International Beatles Week and features some the the best Fab Four tribute bands from around the world including Clube Big Beatles from Brazil, the Australian Beatals and Lenny Pane from Sweden.
Many other musical tastes will be catered for with sound-alike bands including The Jamm, The Bryan Adams Experience and the Stereo-tonics.
For one couple it will be even more special.
They will be kick-starting the Bank Holiday festivities by marrying.
Paul Shedden from Halifax and Gill Westbrook from the West Midlands met at the Mathew Street Festival in 2001 and will be tying the knot at the Town Hall on Monday morning.
In America, radio listeners broke station records as they clamoured to enter a competition to come to Liverpool for the festival.
Chicago-based radio station 93XRT was flooded with listeners desperate to win VIP prize packages including return flights and three nights accommodation in Liverpool.
The same contest was open to listeners of Washington DC's 94.7 The Arrow.
A group of 16 winners from the two cities will arrive in the city this morning.
A spokesman for Chicago's 93XRT station said: "The competition to win a trip to the home of the Beatles broke our record for audience participation. We're sure the winners will have a wonderful time."
Colleagues at Washington DC's 94.7 The Arrow said: "We had an unusually high response to the Liverpool promotion; it generated a lot of listener interest."
Executive member for leisure Coun Warren Bradley said: "This is Europe's biggest free city centre music festival and I am proud to say it is being held in Liverpool.
"As well as being great entertainment, it shows how cultural events can provide a massive boost to the city's economy, with bars, restaurants and hotels all benefiting from the extra trade."
As well as the main shows, pubs also put on shows - Labinsky's on Mathew Street have Echo & the Icicle Eaters among others.