The nation’s leading Celtic musicians, artists and theatre-makers, along with high-profile special guests from the international Celtic scene, are setting their compasses south on a journey to Victoria’s coastal town of Portarlington for the National Celtic Festival.
Featuring musicians and performers from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Brittany, the festival takes place over the winter long weekend, from June 5 to 8.
This year the festival has attracted some of the highest quality Celtic acts from across Australia and overseas.
First announcements include world renowned Irish singer-songwriter Brian Kennedy; one of Scotland’s most exciting folk ensembles featuring graduates from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Cherry Grove and Scottish highlands harp duo The Duplets.
Local acts on the bill include A Rose and Thorns, Irish-born Áine Tyrell, The Barleyshakes, Borderline Kaylee, Charm of Finches, Ciaran O’Grady and Aifric Boylan, Classically Celtic, Co-Cheol, Eric Purdie, Fiona Ross Band, Full Swing, Kelly Family Band, Mandy Keating and Helen McLachlan, Mairéad Hurley and Ado Barker, Melbourne Comhaltas “Taste Of The Irish”, Melbourne Scottish Fiddlers, Moondance Van Morrison Tribute Band, Penny Larkins and Helen Begley, Sàsta, Tawny, Tolka, The Simpson Three, Working Dog Union and Zeon.
The festival also continues its cross-continental cultural partnership with Fèis Rois, the leading youth organisation of the Scottish Highlands and expands its theatre offerings, with creative director Stephen Kelly of Ireland’s C21 Theatre in town for a series of directors workshops and collaborations as part of the festival.
Now in its 13th year the festival has grown from a small coastal town event to becoming the largest and most diverse celebration of Celtic music and culture in the southern hemisphere.
For three full days and nights the packed program will offer something for all ages and musical tastes. The music ranges from traditional to contemporary with a huge variety of cross-over styles including Celtic rock, punk, jazz and much more.