CURRENT ISSUE:  OCTOBER 2023

Festival Focus

17th Annual Festival Focus Issue Has Arrived!

Edited by John O’Brien 

29th Riverfront Irish Festival
June 9-11

Cleveland’s Marys Lane, Brigid’s Cross, The New Barleycorn and Westside Steve; Dulahan from Dayton; and Akron’s Callahan & O’Connor, Case & Cairde, and Celtic Rush take the stage. New for 2024 includes Toronto’s Michael Darcy and the Atlantic Tramps; Baltimore’s Celtic rockers Poehemia; Kalamazoo’s On The Lash; Pittsburgh’s The Low Kings; and Akron’s Minstrels Grēn and Emigrant’s Wake.

Irish step-dancers from MacConmara Academy will perform on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Those looking for bagpipers will be pleased to see both the Celtic Eagle Pipe Band and The Red Hackle Pipe and Drums.

In addition to the festival entertainment, vendors and food, the outdoor Mass in the amphitheater on Sunday morning is at 11:00 a.m. Reverend Thomas McCann, retired chaplain, will be the main celebrant. All are welcome.
Several area craft breweries will be on hand throughout the weekend, including Akronym, HiHo, Ignite, McArthur’s, Missing Falls, and Missing Mountain, as well as Forever Craft Urban Winery. There will also be a whiskey tasting station, featuring Jameson and Tullamore D.E.W. from Ireland, and local Towpath Distillery bourbon.

This annual family-friendly event will feature FREE admission and FREE parking in city decks. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, as well as Irish items and crafts from independent vendors. You need not be Irish to enjoy!

http://riverfrontirishfest.org/  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Riverfront-Irish-Festival-Cuyahoga-Falls-Ohio-89250107183/

Penn-Mar Irish Festival 
June 15

The Penn-Mar Irish Festival returns to the grassy grounds of The Markets at Shrewsbury on Saturday, June 15. This volunteer-run community celebration of Irish heritage features plenty of traditional and contemporary live Irish music, Irish dance groups, cultural talks and living history exhibits, non-profit organizations, Irish food, a children’s area, and a variety of vendors offering quality Irish goods including gifts, clothing, jewelry, music, books, pottery, photography, stained glass, and more.  

Eileen Ivers will once again headline with her amazing Universal Roots band. New for 2024, Eileen will also perform with The Brigideens, a fiery, female band that she formed in 2023 for a concert in Pittsburgh to honor Saint Brigid. 

The lineup also includes Screaming Orphans, Enda Reilly, Cas Ceol, Cormorant’s Fancy, The Emigsville Band, Hold Fast, Susquehanna Pipes & Drums, McGinley School of Irish Dance, Ni Riain School of Irish Dance, and Oh! Gills Irish Dancers.

The children’s area will again offer free crafts, games, face painting, and more.

Some festival seating is provided, but lawn chairs and blankets are welcome.  Please, no pets or outside food and beverages.

The Markets at Shrewsbury is located at 12025 Susquehanna Trail, Glen Rock, PA 17327 (in southern York County off I-83 between exits 4 and 8). Free parking and shuttle bus service will be provided at nearby locations (look for signs).

The Shrewsbury Hampton Inn, located a short drive from the festival, has a discounted room block and will provide two comp tickets when checking in on Friday. Use this link to book a room:  https://group.hamptoninn.com/q8o9d4

For discounted advance festival tickets and complete details, please visit PennMarIrishFestival.com.

You can also follow updates on Facebook and Instagram (#PennMarIrish).

Marketing and volunteer opportunities are available in support of the festival. 

For all inquiries, please email [email protected].

3rd Annual Holland Waterfront Celtic Festival & Highland Games
June 21-22

West Michigan Irish and Scottish (and others) will gather at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds on Ottawa Beach Road in Holland, Michigan for the 3rd Annual Holland Fest & Games, featuring 16 Irish and Celtic bands on two stages over two days.

The all-day festival is Saturday, June 22, 2024, preceded by a Friday evening, 21 & older “Ceilidh” (concert/party) under a huge “Irish Pub” Tent.

Scheduled to appear are Acoustic Vagabondi, Toby Bresnahan, Selkie, Uneven Ground, Belfast Gin, Enda Reilly, The Barley Saints, The Chelsea House Orchestra, Kennedy’s Kitchen, The Conklin Ceili Band, Whorled, The Leprecons, Ironwood, and CrossBow.

Friday night’s “Ceilidh” features Canada’s favorites, The Mudmen. Saturday evening’s grand finale features The Devil’s Brigade (formerly The American Rogues).

Scottish Pipe and Drum bands will perform throughout the event; area dance companies will perform Irish and Highland dance demonstrations; and the kids’ area has games, coloring, temporary tattoos, and more.

Highland Games begin at 9:30 am, featuring more than 70 men and women athletes competing in nine events, including caber-tossing, hammer-throwing and other feats of strength. A dozen ethnic food tents/trucks will assure no one goes hungry, while 20 vendors of Celtic clothing and other merchandise will please shoppers.

A cash bar is available both Friday and Saturday, featuring Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s, Magners and other beers, plus wines, seltzers and more.

Friday tickets are $22.50 and include free return admission on Saturday; Saturday tickets are $12 p/ person, 15 & younger admitted free on Saturday.

Friday, June 21, 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM – “21 and older” Ceilidh. Saturday, June 22, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Ottawa County Fairgrounds 1286 Ottawa Beach Road Holland, MI 49424

[email protected]   www.Facebook.com/HollandCelticFestival

47th Ohio Scottish Games & Celtic Festival 
June 21 – 23

From Friday’s Calling of the Clans Event to Saturday’s Grande Parade and Twilight Tattoo, this is one of Cleveland’s must unique and fun festivals. Competitive Jousting, featuring the Knights of Valour Jousting Troup features knights competing by scoring points with lance strikes.
(7:30 PM Friday evening; 3 PM & 7:30 PM Saturday Grandstands).

The renaissance period is represented by the Barony of the Cleftlands, Cleveland’s Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). The SCA is devoted to the research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century skills, arts, combat, culture, and employing knowledge of history to enrich the lives of participants through events, demonstrations, and other educational presentations and activities.

Music and dance: Father, Son & Friends; The Prodigals, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, The Low Kings, On the Lash, Andrew McManus Trio, McNamara & Custy, and the Brass Band of the Western Reserve, the Leneghan School of Irish Dance, the Brady Campbell School of Irish Dance and the Cleveland Heights chapter of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

Reenactments by the 42nd Highland Regiment of Foot, a Revolutionary War period reenactment group based out of Marion, OH. New in 2024: Birds of Prey demonstration & exhibit; darts, held in the Tavern.

Plus: Highland athletics: Caber Toss (telephone pole), pipe band competitions, border collie demonstrations, highland dance competitions, harp & fiddle competition, British Cars, genealogy, clan exhibits, workshops, whiskey tasting, kilted mile and over fifty food and merchandise vendors.

Friday: Gates open 4:45 PM – including the “Calling of the Clans” torch lighting at 9:45; Saturday at 8 AM for early morning Highland Games competitions. The Grand Parade begins at noon. Twilight Tattoo is at 6:00 PM and includes the massed pipes and drums, as well as performances by harp, fiddle, highland dancers and the Brass Band of the Western Reserve. 
Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, Middleburgh Hts, Ohio. See ohioscottishgames.com for updates and info.

39th Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
July 19-21

Featuring: Gaelic Storm, Scythian, Eileen Ivers, Rory Makem, The Byrne Brothers, Crawley & Sofranko, Ian Gould, Ballinloch, New Barleycorn, The Low Kings, Seven Nations, The Narrowbacks, Ally the Piper, The Fitzgeralds, Andrew McManus Trio, Brother Crowe, Brigid’s Cross & More.

John O’Brien Sr. started the festival in 1982 to celebrate Irish music, dancing, sports, and theater among Clevelanders. Currently, an estimated population of 1.6 million Irish people live in Ohio, with over 13% residing in the Greater Cleveland Metropolitan area alone.

“We didn’t know it would become an annual thing,” said O’Brien Sr. “We had nearly 4,000 people at the first one and they kept asking about the next one, so we kept it going.”

The only remaining family-run festival in the area, which was originally two days, moved to the fairgrounds in 1993, making way for more space to introduce new exhibits and activities. The event is known for its musical entertainment and draws national and international Irish bands.

The festival is thrilled to welcome internationally renowned artists Gaelic Storm, Eileen Ivers, and Rory Makem to this year’s lineup, as well as several other regional and national acts.

There are a variety of activities for the whole family including a children’s area with activities and crafts, camogie games, and lots of Irish history and culture to round out the whole weekend.

The festival will continue to be cashless for on-site admission, food, beverages, and festival merchandise. Parente said the progressive move is to help improve the guest experience and offer secure transactions. Other vendors may choose to accept cash payments for their merchandise.

Plus: Cultural and Children’s areas, Pipers, Dancers, Sports, Great food, beverage and treats. FREE Parking.

Berea Fairgrounds: Friday 5-11, Saturday 1 to 11, Sunday 1-10. Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. on the 20th. General admission is $20.00 per day, weekend passes are $50.00. Wristbands are $10 for the Children’s Area or $35 for a family-pack.

For more information: clevelandirish.org and on Facebook.

37th Dublin Irish Fes
August 2 – 4

Explore one of the top Irish festivals in the U.S., drawing over 100,000 guests to Dublin, Ohio each year with 7 music stages, 60 acts, and more than 800 performers. The Dublin Irish Festival was voted in the top three for “Best Cultural Festival of 2023” by USA Today Readers.

This year’s headliners include The High Kings, Socks in the Frying Pan, Teada, Gaelic Storm, Skerryvore, Talisk, Goitse, GADAN with Enda Scahill of We Banjo 3, JigJam, Ispíní na hÉireann, O’Jizo, The Fitzgeralds, Ally the Piper, PoulaPhuca, Drowsy Lads, Bastard Bearded Irishmen and John Whelan with his All Star Ceili Band.

Kick off your weekend with the Dublin Irish Festival 5K and end it with the Festival Finale, in-between there is something for everyone. There are a variety of learning experiences available for every guest that attends. Learn about Irish history, genealogy, instruments or Irish language. Animal lovers can meet Irish breeds and their owners at the Celtic Canine area. Bring your own instrument and find the sessions tent to play a jig with other aspiring musicians. Children have their own area at the Festival featuring crafts, games and entertainment. The festival is complete with over 90 shopping vendors and 30 food vendors.

Save some green and buy your tickets before the price increase on July 20.

For more      Info: DublinIrishFestival.org, and follow the Festival on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Iowa Irish Fest
August 2 – 4

Featuring: Scythian, Enter the Haggis, The High Kings, Elephant Sessions, The Screaming Orphans, The Bow Tides, Onóir, Dublin City Ramblers, Seo Linn, The Byrne Brothers, The Peelers, Colm & Laura Keegan, Ally the Piper, Blame Not the Bard, Enda Reilly, Ian Gould, Trinity Irish Dancers, Wylde Nept, Dan Vaughn, Cedar Glen Pipes & Drums, Kellen O’Cullom, Des Moines Irish Session, Stu Ryan O’Brien, Hannah Flowers on the Harp and More on seven stages.

The Battle of the Iowa Irish Bands which takes place on Thursday, August 1st, 6:30pm. Cheer on your favorite and see who will win $500 and a spot on an Iowa Irish fest stage Saturday, August 3rd!

Visit www.IowaIrishFest.com, get the Iowa Irish Fest Ap at the Apple App and Google Play stores to view schedule of events, map, manage your classes/workshops and much more. Follow Iowa Irish Fest on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IowaIrishFest to stay up to date. Tickets are on sale NOW!
Iowa Irish Fest is held in the Lincoln Park area of downtown Waterloo.

Lakewood Arts Festival
August 3

Lakewood Arts Festival closes Detroit Avenue, between Belle to Arthur Avenues, to bring artists of all disciplines together, along with 15,000 collectors and art lovers. The juried festival hosts over 170 regional and national artists and makers displaying paintings, prints, photography, art glass, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, fiber and more.
EAT ON THE STREET food court in front of the Lakewood Library on Detroit will offer a selection of the region’s best food trucks.

Festival proceeds fund an annual scholarship for Lakewood seniors continuing to art school. The event also funds grants for arts education and programming in the city. Recent awardees include H2O (Help to Others, middle-school students), The Barton Center (senior arts activities), The Beck Center for the Arts (Saturday programs) and Lakewood High School Art, Theater and Photography programs.

For more info: www.lakewoodartsfest.org.

Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest
August 23 – 25

Irish Fest 2024 features three stages of music and dance, a performing arts stage, a traditional Irish tea tent, wine tent, and the Leprechaun Tent with kid friendly activities and entertainment, as well as shop and food vendors.

The music lineup includes first-time CGP Irish Fest performers: Uillean piper/whistle player/composer, Conor Mallon from Keady, Co. Armagh; the Co. Donegal-based modern folk group, Onóir; and the German born, Irish-based multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter, Sina Theil. The Byrne Brothers, JigJam, Gaelic Brew, plus local musicians The Larkin & Moran Brothers, Liam Durkin, and The Dirty Wellies.

The inclusion of the rock cover band 4Cast and three tribute bands—One of These Nights (A Tribute to the Eagles and their Solo Work), Dancing Queen: An ABBA Salute, and An Irish

Heartbeat: A Musical Tribute to Van Morrison plus The Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society and The Shannon Rovers.

Visit chicagogaelicparkirishfest.org/irish-fest/ for information / to purchase admission tickets in advance at the best pricing. Parking is free and plentiful.
Chicago Gaelic Park, 6119 West 147th Street Oak Forest, Illinois.

33rd Annual Pittsburgh Irish Festival
September 6 – 8

The Pittsburgh Irish Festival welcomes Gaelic Storm, The Screaming Orphans, The Drowsy Lads, Morgan Bullock, Eileen Ivers and The Brigideens, Ally the Piper, Reverie Road, Bastard Bearded Irishman, Colm & Laura Keegan, The Low Kings, Donnie Irish, Shane Cook & The Woodchippers, Dennis Doyle, and Fiddle Frenzy,

Local performers: Abbots Cross, Alan Irvine, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, Bealtaine, Bell School of Irish Dance, County Mayo, Devilish Merry, Fitzpatrick School of Irish Dance PGH, Mark Guiser, Mike Flaherty, Mike Gallagher, Pittsburgh Ceili Club, Pittsburgh Irish Festival Ceili Band, Rust Town Rounders, Sean Patrick Regan, Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance, Weekend at Blarney’s.

Returning this year, a fifth stage presented by Five Farms Irish Cream where visitors can watch both professional and amateur bakers and chefs demonstrate the process of cooking and baking some delightful treats, most of which will feature Five Farms!

Located at The Carrie Blast Furnaces National Historic Landmark. Tickets are available now.

About the Pittsburgh Irish Festival: The Irish Partnership of Pittsburgh d.b.a Pittsburgh Irish Festival, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation created to contribute to the rich cultural awareness of Irish history and tradition that exists in Pittsburgh. In addition to our three-day Celtic Celebration, the Pittsburgh Irish Festival has expanded into a year-round resource for education and cultural programs through the creation of the Irish Education Outreach Program. For more information, visit pghirishfest.org.

25th Michigan Irish Music Festival
September 12 -15

Featuring Gaelic Storm, Kíla, Talisk, Aoife Scott, Seamus Kennedy, JigJam, Dave Curley & Colin Farrell, Síomha, The Friel Sisters, The Irish Music All Stars, Shane Hennessy, Cathal Ó Curráin & Marty Barry, Blackthorn, The Wee Heavies, Ally the Piper, On the Lash, Kennedy’s Kitchen, Conklin Céilí Band, Enda Reilly, Ian Gould, Ironwood, Ardan Academy of Irish Dance, and The Mona Shores Fiddlers.

Tickets and complete festival and performer information can be found at www.michiganirish.org . Children 12 & under are free but need a ticket, which can be ordered at the time of purchase.
Stay tuned to the website and Michigan Irish Music Festival social media pages for additional updates.

Held at Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon, Michigan!

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