Sunday, April 7, 2013
2-5 pm (arrive by 4)
$25 advance, $35 at the door
($25 for CHS members)
A casual and self-paced event, Blásta (pronounced BLAW-sta) Tasting aims to introduce regular folks to great-yet-affordable wines while raising funds for CelticFest Mississippi.
An array of whites, reds, and rosés will be available at several different "stations" and staffed by a wine expert. Participants can meander from station to station, sampling and learning about the wines. Scorecards are provided so that participants can keep track of their favorites. Fenian's caters a number of hors d' oeuvres will also be available to cleanse the palette. Read more...
High Praise for CelticFest
"TODAY I write from the air, en route to “CelticFest” in Jackson, Miss., for one of the American South’s great celebrations of traditional Irish music. Each year, festival organizers Don Penzien and Valerie Plested put together an admirable lineup, and stacked with groups like Téada and Bua this year again sets an impressive standard. Festivals like CelticFest are great, not just because they give folks an opportunity to see and hear top quality jigs and reels, but because they get musicians together for tunes and catching up, which is something so important in this music. "
- Daniel Neely, The Irish Echo.
Never content to leave well-enough alone, CelticFest Mississippi 2012 added new events for our twenty-first anniversary.
Bua. While they performed in Mississippi for the first time in February of 2011, this will be CelticFest's first time to present and host this great "trad" band from America's midwest.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Highland Games Competition. CelticFest has had Highland Games demonstrations in the past, but this is the real deal, with contenders and medals, and skirts and tree trunks flying.
Highland Solo Piping Competition. Father of Waters Pipe Band is organizing and hosting a solo piping competition at CelticFest. Since they are coated in wool, the competition will start early, before the gates open, but the pipers will still be blowing hard (and beautifully) into the morning, and perhaps as long as early afternoon. The competition will be held in the Pavillion behind
Highland Drumming Workshop. What do you need to make a pipe band? Pipes and drums! Scott Bable is teaching a free Highland drumming workshop open to any exoerienced percussionists. Saturday morning at 11.
A Celtic Tatting workshop. Tatting is the ancient art of knotting, using a shuttle and thread to create lace. While its origins remain a mystery, it is an art form that is particularly suited to Celtic design, with its spirals, rings, and arcs. Students will learn the basic concepts of tatting with an emphasis on the Celtic style, and will create an ornament during the class. Taught by Jane Millette. (venue to be determined soon, but we'll let you know when and where)
Celtic Sacred Music. (Sunday). Two sets of sacred music from the Celtic traditions will join the festivities for the first time. A collection of this year's performers will offer selections in two separate hours on Sunday. The first hour will take place immediately following the church service at 11:00 a.m. in the little white church on the Ag Museum grounds. The second hour will take place at 2:30 p.m. in the Education Center (the "Fenian's Taps" Pub Stage). A deep and abiding spirituality has long been expressed through music by the people of the Celtic lands—much of which has born the rich and lilting hymns we know and love today.
Kindred Spirits Whisky Tasting:
Big Changes in 14th Annual Whisky Tasting
The event formerly known as The Irish Whiskey & Scotch Tasting has been re-christened as The Kindred Spirits Whisky Tasting, complete with a new expansive format that will ensure this benefit will ever remain the largest whisky tasting in the South.
Shifting away from the sit-down format, Kindred Spirits will allow a taster to build his or her own self-paced whisky tasting. Each admission receives a whisky glass to keep and 20 coupons to redeem for half-ounce pours. With over 40 whiskies to choose from, pours are redeemed for one to six coupons, depending on the price of the bottle (not its rarity!). Knowledgeable experts will staff the pouring stations, and additional coupons are available for purchase at the event (cash only).
CelticFest MS will host a sanctioned solo piping competition for the very first time. (Hey, it only took twenty years.) Organized by the Father of Waters Pipe Band and Alabama Pipes and Drum, the competition will determine who has the Scottish chops in Mississippi. There will also be a non-sanctioned quartet piping competition, all judged by Jimmy Bell.
The various types of tunes outlined on the entry form are standard forms of piping tunes. Pipe tunes are classified as to structure, such as slow airs, marches, reels, jigs, strathspeys, and piobaireachd. Most people are familiar with slow airs such as Amazing Grace and Skye Boat Song. Also familiar are the many marches such as Scotland the Brave and Green Hills of Tyrol. The reels and jigs are faster tunes, and are used for such events as highland dancing. The strathspey is a unique form of music which is a tune in 4/4 time, and is similar to a hornpipe, but slower. It is often used in Scottish dancing, and is usually followed by a reel, which is in 2/2 time. Piobaioreachd is the ancient, classical form of pipe music. Often referred to as Ceòl Mór, which is Gaelic for "big music", piobaireachd is most often a lament-- a slow dirge that starts off with the basic theme of the tune, called the ground, or urlar, and is followed by variations on that theme.
Scottish Drumming Workshop
Additionally, Father of Waters Pipe Band is arranging a Scottish drumming workshop, free for all to attend. Mr. Scott Bable, Drum Sergeant of Alabama Pipes and Drums has volunteered his services to lead this workshop. The workshop will cover the basics of Scottish drumming, covering snare, tenor and bass drums. Any festival attendees who have played drums in high school or college and would like to pursue Scottish drumming would be interested in this workshop, along with anyone who may want to get started in Scottish drumming in order to join a band such as ours. Visit the event's Facebook page for more information.
CelticFest Receives Grants
The CelticFest family is delighted to announce that we have again been awarded matching grant funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission (a state agency) and South Arts, in association with the National Endowment for the Arts.
More information about each of these grants can be found in the media release here.
2012 Headliners Announced
CelticFest Mississippi hosts a quintet of headliners for the second year, both new and familair. Festival organizers recently posted the 2012 lineup, including include three traditional Irish bands, Bua, Téada, and The Máirtín de Cógáin Project, singer/songwriter Brendan Nolan from Dublin, and dancemaster Éamonn de Cógáin from Cork.
If you haven't already, stop in to the CelticFest Mississippi page on Facebook and share your photos, videos, or thoughts about twenty years of CelticFest!
Photos and videos will be uploaded to share there, as well as announcements and information about the upcoming CelticFest Mississippi, coming to Jacktown this Sept. 7th-9th. The festival headliners will be announced soon, and there's lots of newness being cooked up to share, so keep an eye out!
The festival's main website, CelticFestMS.org (right here), is still the place to go for schedules, band info, and all other festival details, and our space on FaceBook will help us get the word out. In the meantime, tell your friends and upload your own CelticFest photos to share!
Mick Heffernan of the Fuchsia Band
conducts the crowd.
A big 'thank you' to all the volunteers, sponsors, and musicians who made our 20th Anniversary a spectacular event to remember. Thanks also to all who came to support the festival and share our weekend of culture, music, dance, and craic.
Preparations for 2012 are already underway, so watch this space!
CelticFest began as a way to introduce Mississippians to a genre of folk music and dance that we thought was pretty cool, but that also happens to be quite relevant to Mississippi's history.
What began as a humble labor of love has become a big labor of love, staffed 100% by volunteer workers and with an army of volunteer performers.
The secret is well out, with CelticFest garnering a national reputation amongst musicians and Celtic music fans: Mississippi has a gem of a traditional Celtic music festival (not to mention the largest céilí in the South, and in 2010 set the record for the largest Brush Dance in North America.)
The record was set in Jackson at CelticFest Mississippi 2010: 167 people performing the Brush Dance! If you don't believe it, watch the video below! (It doesn't show the dancers on the very fringe.)
Máirtín de Cógáin had it in his mind to set a world record --even a universe record-- in Jackson MS Saturday night during the Céilí Mór. He got the idea a week before the festival in 2009, so the organizers said, "Nah!" So he bided his time and waited until 3 weeks before the 2010 festival (hey, it's not last minute). The Jackson Irish Dancers got on board with the project, and scoured the city Jackson for 100 identical new wooden brooms. These brooms were 'personalized' and sold at CelticFest Mississippi for a paltry 8 bucks to cover the cost of broom, sticker, and Sharpie.
The Brush Dance (Rince an Scuaibe, or Broom Dance) is a dance associated with the south of Ireland, performed with an ordinary broom. There's foot battering, hopping over the broom, and passing it under ones' legs.
Here's a chance to help out the hard- working volunteers at CelticFest MS.
A special key fob has been handmade and is offered up for sale for the low price of $5.00 (tax included). And here's the good part for the volunteers: all proceeds from the sale of these key fobs will go toward purchasing fans to put in the CHS booth and beverage tent at CelticFest MS. A 24" fan suitable for this task sells for about $100 at Home Depot.
Each key ring has a hand-tied macramé knots on each end. THEN, in between those knots you will find one slightly used wine cork (no wine was abused in the making of these key fobs). Various corks from various vintages of various wines have been collected and turned into these works of art.
"I recently lost my keys for a week, and they turned up in the front yard," admitted a new CelticFest supporter. "I thought to myself, 'If I had bought one of those special, brightly-colored CelticFest cork-fobs, I would have spotted it in two seconds. I suppose a GPS bug on them would have worked better, but who wants to plug their keys in at night?"
One Sunday a month (mostly), 2-5pm
Fenian's Irish Pub,
901 E Fortification
Set Dance at Fenian's, Photo by Josh Hailey
What is this céilí thing, anyway? Céilí (pronounced "KAY-lee") means "gathering", especially with music and dancing – but our definition is that it's good old-fashioned fun. The Mostly Monthly Ceili offers opportunities to learn Irish set and céilí dancing in an informal, relaxed setting. Sometimes our friendly local musicians join in to play live music or sing a song or three, and other times we get along with recorded music. Either way, we've never known a céilí not to be a great time!
All are welcome, regardless of age (young or young-at-heart) or experience level -- we'll walk through the dances before doing them. So bring the kids, grandma, your dancing shoes, your fiddle or whistle. Fenian's is a pub, but these are family-friendly and non-smoking events; and best of all, they're FREE (donations welcome). Fenian's kitchen and bar are open for business, so there's music, food, drink, and dancing -- all the important things in life!
The Mostly Monthly Céilí Series takes place (usually) one Sunday afternoon a month from 2-5pm. Check the CHS calendar for when the next Mostly Monthly is due.
CelticFest Mississippi receives grant funding from these institutions and agencies:
Benefit Events for CelticFest Mississippi
You can read the F.A.Q., or try searching the CelticFest site here.
Cad 'ta tharla? What's Happening?
Afraid you might be left out? There's always the CHS email list, which announces Celtic event reminders periodically. A new feature of the CelticFest website is a Google Calendar specifically for CHS events. Check the calendar here, or add it to your own Google Calendar!
Regional Celtic Calendars
Want to know what's up in Memphis, Little Rock, New Orleans, or other Southern states? The Celtic Heritage Society is cooperating with other individials and organizations to create inclusive Regional Calendars of Celtic events.