A greatly expanded Beatles Author & Artist Symposium will kick off this year’s Beatles at the Ridge music festival, September 19-20 in Walnut Ridge. The symposium makes education a part of the festival experience, with nationally known authors, multi-media presentations, art and private collection displays.

The authors & artists symposium is presented by Black River Technical College Corporate and Community Education Department, and it opens with displays at 2 p.m. Friday, September 19th. On Friday evening authors Jude Southerland Kessler and Chuck Gunderson will team up to present a multi-media program that takes listeners through the year of 1964, right up to the moment that The Beatles landed in Walnut Ridge.

First, Kessler, author of The John Lennon Series, will present “You CAN Get There From Here!” Using rare photos and music, Kessler will trace the success of the Beatles in early 1964: the Ed Sullivan Show, Carnegie Hall, the Washington D.C. concert, “A Hard Day’s Night,” The Beatles World Tour and John Lennon’s successful first book, In His Own Write.

Then, author Chuck Gunderson, in a presentation based on his new book, Some Fun Tonight, will pick up with the Tour of America 1964, giving listeners an insider’s look at the fast-paced, thrilling time that the “lads from Liverpool” spent in the United States. In rare photos and memorabilia, Gunderson will bring the tour step-by-step from England to Walnut Ridge.

Displays and presentations continue on Saturday. Dr. Ken Womack will present a lunch-and-learn, and then from 1 – 3 p.m., Doyle Jeter will take visitors on a tour of his gallery show and answer questions.

Womack is author or editor of numerous works of nonfiction concerning the Beatles, including Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles(2007) and The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles(2009), which was named as The Independent’s “Music Book of the Year.” He has recently released The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four.

Jeter, artist in residence and an instructor in fine arts printmaking at the University Of Louisiana at Monroe, has produced a series of 14 original lithographs expressly for Jude Southerland Kessler’s 3rd book, She Loves You, on the life of John Lennon. Each print represents a song from the Beatles second album, With The Beatles.

Other authors who will have displays at the Beatles Symposium include Dr. Kit O’Toole, Anthony Robustelli, and Lanea Stagg.

O’Toole is a long-time contributing editor at “BeatleFan” magazine and for the website, Blinded by Sound. She will be releasing a collected work of her essays on The Beatles in 2015 as well as a book about Michael Jackson for BackBeat Books. She is a long-time presenter and panelist at the Fests for Beatles Fans.

Robustelli, a professional musician and producer, has recently released the first in a series of comprehensive books on the music of The Beatles. I Want to Tell You: The Definitive Guide to the Music of The Beatles :1962-63 came out in 2014. His books encompass all songs written and covered by The Beatles during their careers.

Stagg continues the Recipe Records series with her latest publications: Recipe Records: The ‘60s Edition and Recipe Records: A Culinary Tribute to The Beatles. She and the late Maggie McHugh published the first book, Recipe Records in 2010, combining a passion for music with her love for food and cooking.

Artists who will have displays at the symposium include Ken Orth and Rande Kessler. Orth is a collector of art and has created a unique exhibit called “Meet the Look Alikes,” a vast collection of artwork that parodies Beatles’ album covers.

Kessler was the cover artist for She Loves You and photography artist for “The Doors of Liverpool” poster. Kessler is primarily a pen-and-ink artist who was The Caroline Dorman Artist of the Year in 1983 and won first place at Melrose Arts Festival in 1986.

The Beatles at the Ridge music festival has expanded rapidly in its four years, featuring three stages of entertainment and a wide array of vendors and activities. This year’s festival will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ visit to the Walnut Ridge Airport.

For more information on the Beatles Author & Artist Symposium and other events planned at the Beatles at the Ridge music festival, go to www.beatlesattheridge.com/.