Festival’s call to inner Celt

Bernadette Rae of the Claymore Dancers. 154814

A LITTLE bit of Celtic is in everyone, whether or not it runs through the veins.
This year’s National Celtic Festival, widely regarded as the Southern Hemisphere’s largest, will again allow patrons to express their inner-Celt with an impressive array of entertainment and activities at Portarlington on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Not only does the festival stimulate the local economy during a traditionally quiet time of year, it brings people together.
“We try to promote the region,” festival director Una McAlinden said.
“We bring people to the region who are only here because of us. Portarlington and the coastal areas are full in summer and we are a welcome relief to lots of the businesses in winter.”
Organisers are expecting a crowd of 15,000 over the duration of the festival.
“We expect the same, if not bit more, than last year but we’re conservative with our counting,” Ms McAlinden said.
Included in this year’s musical acts are former Australian Idol favourite Damien Leith and popular band Talisk, which is fresh from its 2015 BBC Radio Two Young Folk Award.
“They’re the big thing in Scotland and Europe at the moment,” Ms McAlinden said.
Acclaimed singer Marcia Howard will also perform.
Ms McAlinden said that the festival also aimed to get people to connect with any Celtic roots they may have.
“It does have a deep connection to the history and roots of a lot of people,” she said.
“We want people to be inspired to connect to their Celtic history and we ignite this.”
The festival’s large array of free workshops will cover everything from limerick writing to bagpipe playing.
Patrons won’t need to buy a ticket to browse the market stalls. Full of Celtic crafts and goodies, the stalls will also offer a variety of foods and fresh Bellarine produce.
Set among the market will be the festival’s Village Stage which will give a taste of the event’s musical program for free.
The world renowned National Celtic Festival will take patrons on a journey to honour the ancestors, soak up the Celtic sounds, and be serenaded by the stories of Irish myths and legends.
For further information and to book tickets head to www.nationalcelticfestival.com
The festival runs from 10 to 13 June, with all venues under cover and heated.

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