National Celtic Festival 2017

Posted 11 May 2017

National Celtic Festival

Australasia’s Leading Celtic Gathering

Newcombe Street, Portarlington, Vic

9 – 12 June 2017 (June Long Weekend)

Tickets: Weekend Adult $165 / Weekend Youth $70 Single Day Adult $90 / Single Day Youth $45

Links: Website | Video

New Announcements: Adam Sutherland & Marc Clement (Scotland), Feis Rois (Scotland), Daire Mulhern (Ireland), Ports (Ireland), The BordererS, Rich Davies & The Low Road, The Good Girl Song Project, ‘All that Fall’ by Vessel Theatre, ‘The Gathering’ Ceremony, Anna & Jordan, Barleyshakes, Saoirse.

National Celtic Festival showcases some of the world’s most culturally rich performers and today announces another round of acts to join the 2017 festival line up.

Adding to an impressive international contingent including Welsh five-piece Calan, Irish/US combo Kevin Crawford, Patrick Doocey and Colin Farrell and Scottish singer-songwriter Paul McKenna, is award-winning Irish composer and button-accordion player Daire Mulhern. Also just announced are Adam Sutherland (Treacherous Orchestra) & Marc Clement who will join forces for a great highland craic. Traditional singer Fiona Ross will collaborate with master of Celtic guitar Tony McManus to launch new album ‘Clyde’s Water’. In what has become an annual pilgrimage by Feis Rois, in 2017 this leading Scottish cultural organisation will bring four new emerging talents from the highlands of Scotland. Also joining the lineup are Ports, a four piece folk indie band from Northern Ireland who have been described as “the next U2”.

Australian acts to join the line up are the high energy band The BordererS and Rich Davies & The Low Road with their mix of Scottish heritage and rousing boot stomping folk. The Good Girl Song Project will see history meet art in the exquisite sounds of Penny Larkins and Helen Begley, who’ve created a powerful musical and spoken word account of the journeys that brave young women voluntarily took to Australian in the 1830’s. These acts and more join previously announced Australian performers including folk storytelling icon Eric Bogle, much loved all-Australian ensemble The Bushwackers, Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club and Claymore.

Further announcements come to the 2017 Theatre program, including an outstanding cast undertake Samuel Beckett’s radio play, All that Fall, under the direction of Vessel’s Creative Director Jim Lawson. This production will use live actors to give voice to the complex characters drawn from Beckett’s younger life in the outer Dublin ‘suburb’ of Foxrock in what has been described as a murder/mystery filled with graveyard wit and heart wrenching pathos.

Countless dance, theatre, comedy, literature readings, collaborative sessions and instrumental workshops are included in the diverse range of activities on offer. Family friendly program elements include walking tour ‘Trail of Celtic Tales’ featuring story telling of enchanted Celtic legends for children, presented alongside many concerts and participatory workshops geared toward young and old alike. Competitions held on the weekend include the National Celtic Festival Piping Competition, the Scottish Highland Contemporary Dance Competition for Choreographers and the Portarlington Limerick Competition. Local community groups such as the Portarlington Harmonica Band and the Geelong Scottish Dance group will showcase the talent of the region alongside other groups visiting from across the country.

Once again the festival will host a mass ‘Ceili’, and the 2017 Bush Dance will be led by the legendary Bushwackers. ‘The Rambling House’ session will see storytellers gather together to share their passion for the spoken word, hosted by masters of poetry, language, theatre and story, and singers sessions will include ‘The House of Song’. On Festival opening Wadawurrung elder Uncle Bryon Powell will Welcome to Country and light the Festival hearth-fire. Festival goers will tie ‘clooties’ (cloths) imbued with hopes to a metal sculpture in the festival grounds. On Sunday night, the festival will stage inaugural event ‘The Gathering’ which includes a special performance of community arts project ‘Lantunda’, with its mix of shadow puppetry, stories and music. The Gathering is a cross-form, participatory, ritual-artwork bringing festival goers and locals together as climax to the National Celtic Festival.

The Celtic Market features stalls selling an array of goods and crafts profiling local designers and a variety of local produce and beverages plus of course the infamous Guinness. The festival hosts clans and associations from across Australia with displays including Celtic martial arts and the resident Vikings who settle in for the weekend to present traditional Vikings practices of wrestling, animal hide curing and iron mongering.   Events are staged within the festival arena and at venues though out the township, as well as on The Enterprize, a historic replica Tall Ship that sets sail daily from Portarlington Jetty and features festival musicians to entertain travellers on their journey between Melbourne and Portarlingon.

From young blood to veteran artists, bagpipes to bodhrans, there’s something for everyone in 2017. 

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