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Historic Beatles Drummer at Delaware Festival: Ticket Info

Who is the “Best” drummer in Beatles history? It may come as a surprise, but it’s not Ringo Starr. The answer is quite literally Pete Best, the original drummer who gave The Beatles their initial rhythm.

At 82, this British rock legend is gearing up for another musical invasion, this time in Delaware. Pete Best will be headlining the opening day of the annual Weekend at Bertha’s festival at Firebase Lloyd in Townsend on Friday, July 26. This festival runs through Sunday, July 28.

For one day only, two general admission weekend passes will be available for $140 on Thursday, July 4. The sale begins at midnight and ends at 11:59 p.m.

Pete Best grew up in Liverpool, England, above his mother’s venue, the Casbah Coffee Club, which hosted bands like The Quarrymen (featuring George Harrison, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney). According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the band sometimes performed without a drummer.

In 1960, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison invited Best to become the drummer for The Beatles. They knew him from his time with the Black Jacks at the Coffee Club. That summer, Best and the group began a residency in Hamburg, Germany. According to Britannica, Best stood out from his bandmates as he didn’t sport the same mop-top haircut. His sultry looks garnered female attention, contributing to the band’s early popularity.

On a “Late Night” episode that aired July 14, 1982, Best recounted the day he was fired to David Letterman. He said Beatles manager Brian Epstein broke the news to him in 1962. “It just happened completely out of the blue,” Best recalled. “[Epstein] said, ‘Pete, I’ve got bad news for you. The boys want you out and they want Ringo Starr in.’ I was completely shell-shocked by this.”

Best revealed that he was friends with the Beatles and Ringo Starr prior to his replacement. He also mentioned that his bandmates didn’t speak to him directly about their decision. According to Best, The Beatles claimed he was not a good drummer out of “jealousy.”

Despite his departure, Best’s mother maintained a relationship with The Beatles. John Lennon even borrowed army medals from her to wear on his jacket for the cover of the iconic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album in 1967.

After leaving The Beatles, Pete Best joined Lee Curtis and the All Stars, which later became Pete Best & the All Stars and signed with Decca Records. They toured North America and Europe as the Pete Best Combo and released the album “Best of the Beatles” in 1965. Even in 2024, Best continues to rock the stage. He recently wished his former bandmate Sir Paul McCartney a happy 82nd birthday on X (formerly Twitter). On June 19, he tweeted: “Happy Belated Birthday. Not far behind you. Reach out if you’d like me to open for you in Manchester. Imagine. Now that would be something.”

Fans of psychedelic tunes, jam bands, and tie-dye will feel right at home at Weekend at Bertha’s, a counterculture festival in Townsend. The festival features well over a dozen performers, food trucks, and various vendors. The name “Weekend at Bertha’s” is a playful mix of the Grateful Dead’s skeleton character Bertha (and their song by the same name) and the comedic ‘80s film “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

When Pete Best headlines the festival on July 26, local fans who saw him at Kelly’s Logan House in Wilmington in 2005 and 2007 will have another chance to see this legendary drummer.

The confirmed performers for Weekend at Bertha’s can be found on the organizer’s EventBrite page:

Friday, July 26

  • 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Rainbow Full of Sound
  • 7-9 p.m. Pete Best Band
  • 5-6:30 p.m. King Plays Ho
  • 3-4:30 p.m. Black Mambas
  • 1-2:30 p.m. Psychedelic Elders
  • (Late night drum circle)

Saturday, July 27

  • 10:30-12:30 p.m. Juggling Suns
  • 8:30-10 p.m. One Eyed Jack
  • 7-8 p.m. Vermin Supreme
  • 4:30-6:30 p.m. Mums The Word
  • 3:15-4 p.m. Flowpoetry
  • 1-3 p.m. ? ? ? ?
  • 11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. The Might Dandelions
  • (Late night Saturday) After midnight Urban Shaman Attack: 2 a.m. – until? Mysterytrain

Sunday, July 28

  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sistar Workshops
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m. Pranksters
  • 4-4:30 p.m. guest speaker
  • 5-6 p.m. Bonnie Kane
  • 6:30-7 p.m. Natalie Brooke solo
  • 7-8 p.m. Brooke/May Duo
  • 8:30 -11(ish) p.m. Brown Eyed Women

The festival will be held at Firebase Lloyd (474 Fleming Landing Road, Townsend) from July 26 to 28. Single-Day tickets for Friday or Saturday, including camping, are $60 per night; Sunday only General Admission is $40. GA Camping is $90. VIP tickets for Friday and Saturday, with camping, are $125 per night; VIP Sunday is $80. VIP Weekend, with camping, is $200. For more info, visit

Source: Delaware News Journal, Encyclopedia Britannica, Setlist.Fm, EventBrite