Thursday, 7 June 2012

Almonte Celtfest Celebrates Music, Song, and Dance Traditions of the Ottawa Valley

Almonte Celtfest 2012 (July 6-8) is thrilled to have The Elders return as main stage headliners for this year's festival. Since forming in 1998,  The Elders  ( from that Celtic hotbed, Kansas City, Missouri, but with original Irish connections ) have set the Celtic-rock world internationally on its ear thanks to a mix of stories of Irish history, traditional instrumentation fueled by creative energy and a superb stage presence, and a unique sound that "falls somewhere between Van Morrison and U2". The Elders have been called "One of the best, if not THE best Irish rock bands in America" (Joe Farrell on "Celtic Crossings" Hot Talk 1510 AM) Another reviewer states "Forget everything you think you know about Irish music. This isn't your father's version of "Danny Boy," and you don't have to dance a jig to keep time to every tune. This, as The Elders like to say, is "arse-kicking music from the heartland."

"People have a hard time putting us in a category," states Elders band member Steve Phillips, "It's got enough Irish to pass for Irish, but it's definitely rock 'n' roll and folk, too." Steve (guitar, mandolin, vocals)  is joined onstage by Ian Byrne – vocals, percussion, whistle, flute, Norm Dahlor – bass, guitar, banjo, vocals Brent Hoad – fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals, Joe Miquelon – accordion, keyboards, and  Kian Byrne – drums, bass. Bill Cameron wrote in The Humm in July 2005 that "The Elders' up tempo, high-energy presentation of almost all-original material has plenty to recommend it. Their songs are heavy on time-honoured themes ..(and) they are clever and delivered with passion and fire.." Almonte Celtfest 2012 truly looks forward to The Elders headlining the main stage July 7th Saturday night, and as closers of the festival, on, Sunday afternoon.

Celtfest commences on Friday night with music in area pubs and Saturday morning with Celtfest College instrument workshops (check for listings) Gemmill Park's Main Stage events commence on Saturday at 2:00 pm with Opening Ceremonies and run continuously until dusk with The Barley Shakers, Les mots dits Anglais, Elly Squared,  Cindy Thompson & Jake Butineau, Julie Fitzgerald & Friends, Brandy 'n' Port, and The Elders.

Celtfest Sunday begins at 10:30 am with an "everyone welcome" Fiddle Mass at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. The Main Stage festival commences at Noon in Gemmill Park and extends to 6pm with the Monday Night Fiddlers, Triple Trouble,Dai Bassett, Celtic Cross Dancers, Neil McDaniel with Kyle Felhaver, Salty Dog and  The Elders closing of  the weekend.

Almonte downtown, and Gemmill Park are about 2 blocks from each other and are wonderful settings for Celtfest 2012. The shops, pub/restaurants and The Riverwalk are great complements to the activities in Gemmill Park. The festival site features artisans, children's activities and an open "jam" session for all who bring instruments and great food and beverages for all. Come and celebrate the "unofficial" kick-off to summer in the Ottawa Valley. For more info see

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