Immerse in the Celtic Culture

The opening ceremony. Picture: Andrew Coates Salt Studio

By Pamela Clark-Dickson

Visitors to CelticFest Warwick on the October long weekend will be able to immerse themselves in the best of Scottish and Irish music.

The festival consists of a two-day ticketed event at the Warwick Showgrounds on Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October, and the CelticFringe from Friday 29 September to Monday 2 October.

The craic (fun) at the Warwick Showgrounds will kick off at 2pm on Saturday 30 September, with an outstanding line-up of bands set to entertain and entrance the CelticFest crowd on the main stage throughout the afternoon.

In the evening, The Gathering Irish band will have the audience dancing and singing along to traditional favourites, contemporary tunes, and cover songs.

The Saturday Main Stage afternoon line-up are: Rebecca Wright and Donald McKay, Auld Alliance, Australian Celtic Women, and Highlander.

But wait, there’s more! The Scotsman will lead a family ceilidh (like a bush dance) – hosted by the Darling Downs Irish Club – in The Pavilion at the Showgrounds from 5pm, with admission included in your CelticFest Saturday ticket.

You don’t even need to have any experience, as The Scotsman will call the dancing and you can learn the steps as you go.

And in case you don’t get the chance to tap your feet enough on the Saturday, there’s more music to come on Sunday 1 October, with the main stage again filled with acts from 9am-4pm. You’ll get a second chance to see all the performers from the Saturday afternoon session, plus The Outlanders, Lissa-Kathe Celtic Harp, Munsterbucks and The Scotsman.

It’s The Gathering’s second outing at CelticFest – the band headlined at CelticFest Warwick 2022 – and they are excited to be back, according to Mick McHugh, frontman and award-winning Irish musician.

“The Gathering are very excited to be returning to CelticFest Warwick,” McHugh said.

“Last year was our first visit to Warwick, we felt so honoured to be celebrating Celtic ancestry with people ten thousand miles from the place of their ancestors. It was a kick-arse Celtic weekend and we can’t wait to be back there again in 2023!“

The Gathering prides itself on getting their audiences up and having fun with high-energy Irish dancing traditional tunes and well-known rousing Irish sing-a-longs, blended with an array of popular and classic covers.

The band has recorded for ABC Music, toured internationally, and entertained at major festivals such as Port Fairy Folk Fest and the Australian Celtic Festival.

The Australian Celtic Women is another act to put high on your list of must-sees at CelticFest – and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to do so!

They will be performing short sets on both the Saturday and Sunday at CelticFest at the Warwick Showgrounds, and a full-length feature show at the Club Warwick RSL on Friday 29 September (this show is separately ticketed by the RSL).

Australian Celtic Women was created to showcase women in Celtic music.

The all-female ensemble seeks to transport its audiences back to the rolling hills of Ireland and the misty moors of Scotland, with heavenly voices, tantalising harmonies, dazzling costumes and whirlwind fiddle playing.

“We’re so excited to be going to CelticFest this year!,” said Miranda Starr, Australian Celtic Women director and vocalist.

“We are looking forward to performing our full two-hour show on Friday night at the Club Warwick RSL with special guests. Then we’ll be performing on the main stage during the festival on Saturday and Sunday. Looking forward to saying hi to old friends and making new ones – Slainte Mhath!”.

Meanwhile, Brisbane-based duo, Rebecca Wright and Donald McKay, are also looking forward to bringing their authentic Scottish music to CelticFest.

“This will be our first time performing in Warwick, and we can’t wait! We love having the opportunity to pop on our kilts and share our songs with an appreciative audience, and we know that CelticFest will be a wonderful celebration of Celtic culture.”

And The Scotsman (aka Graeme McColgan, who is also one half of the Auld Alliance duo) said: “Looking at the lineup for 2023, I cannot contain my excitement to share the stage with such incredible acts. This will be a crackin’ weekend of tunes, dancing and laughs. See you all there!”

CelticFest tickets are available online now from celticfestqld.com.au.

Pricing for an adult ticket is $20 for Saturday, $25 for Sunday, and $35 for a weekend ticket (Saturday and Sunday). Pensioner pricing is $15 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday and $30 for a weekend ticket. Children’s tickets (for school-aged children between 5-17), are $5 for Saturday, $5 for Sunday and $10 for a weekend ticket. Children under five are free.

CelticFest would like to acknowledge the support of the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF).

RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and the Southern Downs Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

CelticFest would also like to acknowledge the support of Tourism and Events Queensland’s Queensland Destination Events Program (QDEP).

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