Celtic festival: ‘it’s going to be big’

Sean Cook winning the 70Kg caber toss at last year's NCFF heavy games. (Ivan Kemp) 341011_16

The National Celtic Folk Festival (NCFF) is gearing up for a special edition this year, celebrating its 20th year in Portarlington.

Held over the King’s Birthday weekend in June, the three-day festival is one of Australia’s premier events focused on Celtic culture, with festival organisers promising this year’s NCFF is “going to be big”.

Festival director Una McAlinden said the 20th running of the event in Portarlington was a “significant milestone and achievement”..

“The 20th edition in Portarlington is definitely going to be a huge celebration,” Ms McAlinden said.

“There’s a big history with this event. It’s had a life of over 40 years, and was in Geelong for about 20 years.

“Building from nothing 20 years ago, we went to Portarlington with $2000 which we got from a fundraiser. Basically we went there with nothing, just a whole lot of passion and commitment and hope.

Ms McAlinden said this year’s NCFF would both pay tribute to the event’s past as well as celebrate its present and future.

“What we’ve done with this program is look at people’s highlights and favourite acts over the 20 years and we’re bringing some of them back,” she said.

“As well, we’re supporting some of the young bands who actually started coming to our festival as small children and are now so passionate about the music and the culture that they’re on our stages in amazing bands.”

Such acts will include renowned traditional Irish music exponents such as Dylan Carlos, John McCartin and Orlaith McAuliffe, younger acts such as the Lumber Jills (Canada), Apolline and Oceanique and well-known artists including Shane Howard and Claymore.

In addition to music, the festival will include workshops, theatre, dancing, heavy games, markets, Irish hurling and a range of food and drink across over 10 venues. Visit nationalcelticfestival.com for more information.