14 September 2022

Take the high road to the Yass Irish and Celtic Music Festival for a good ol' knees up

| Katrina Condie
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Irish and Celtic Music Festival

The Irish and Celtic Music Festival features three days of traditional Irish and Celtic music. Photo: Yass Valley Council.

Musicians, poets, storytellers and dancers are warming up ahead of the revived Irish and Celtic Music Festival at Yass.

The three-day festival from 16 – 18 September will celebrate the town’s rich Celtic heritage following a two-year hiatus due to COVID.

Fiddlers, pipers, dancers and poets will fill venues in Yass during the highly anticipated celebration of all things Celtic and Australian.

Stroll around town end enjoy buskers on street corners and folk singers in cafes, a host of dance and musical workshops, displays, food and of course, the Celtic markets.

A huge line-up of free and ticketed entertainment is planned for the festival, with tickets now on sale for the premier events.

Taking the high road to Yass will be the popular Trippy Hippy band, Chloe and Jason Roweth, Kathryn Clements and festival favourites Tidal Moon featuring Barbara Jeffery and Jose Garcia as part of their southern tour.

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Festival-goers will enjoy the sweet sounds of folk singers Nerida Cuddy, Phil Lester, Lugh Damen and Jasmine Beth, along with the Mountain Dew band and Platform 9 3/4, well known for its Welsh music.

Tartin Around will have the crowd clapping along, as will guest artist Stephen Murray who has been playing the fiddle since he was seven years old.

Festival director Janno Scanes says it will be a fantastic “knees-up” weekend of Scottish and Irish folk music, traditional dancing and storytelling.

Irish and Celtic Music Festival

The Celtic markets are a family favourite. Photo: Yass Valley Council.

“We have a range of venues hosting ticketed events, including the Yass Soldiers’ Memorial Hall, and the Lovat Chapel, but there will be a lot of free events happening around town as well,” she says. “The chapel is an absolutely beautiful venue with great acoustics.”

There will be a strong focus on family events, including Circus McCabe’s Big Top with free classes and shows on Sunday. Be on the Main Street on Saturday at 10:30 am for a surprise event!

A highlight of the weekend will be the outdoor Celtic markets, with live performances on Saturday and Sunday in Banjo Paterson Park.

“There’ll be food, jewellery, fabulous arts and crafts and local products – a real mix of things at the markets. Families can wander freely, listen to music and watch traditional and modern dance exhibitions,” Janno says.

Young people will have an opportunity to learn traditional Celtic music and dancing with Junior Fleadh workshops at Mt Carmel School on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 am – 11:30 am.

The young ones can learn an instrument including the Irish whistle or ukulele plus some dancing, then on the Sunday they will show off what they’ve learned with a concert in the Lovat Chapel at 12:30 pm.

Irish and Celtic Music Festival

Musicians, including piper James Coombes, will fill the main street of Yass with Celtic music. Photo: Yass Valley Council.

Adults can also get into the spirit by taking part in Irish set dancing and Highland dancing workshops at the Saint Clements Anglican Hall or enjoy a few drams of whisky and a pint of Guinness while learning how to belt out a sea shanty led by members of the Canberra Shanty Club.

Poetry will spring into verse with a soiree on Friday evening, with poetry breakfasts at Saint Clements Hall and, in the Merino Room at the Clubhouse Hotel on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The winner of the Reciter of the Year competition will be announced by the 2019 winner on Sunday afternoon.

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Under 18s have the opportunity to enter the Virtual to Reality open mic poetry event at the Hartigan Centre from 11:30 am until 12:30 pm on Saturday.

Flags from all the Celtic nations will fly throughout the town and Yass business owners are encouraged to decorate their shopfronts for the weekend. Locals and visitors are invited to dress up for the occasion, donning their traditional Celtic dress.

The Yass Irish and Celtic Music Festival is a great day trip from Canberra or the coast, with tickets on sale via the event website.

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