15th annual Michigan Irish Festival Sept. 12-14

August 22, 2014

Gaelic Storm

MUSKEGON — The Michigan Irish Music Festival, sponsored by Mercy Health, returns to Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon September 12 -14, with a weekend of live Irish entertainment, activities, and culture. The festival features Irish & Celtic music on four covered stages.  In addition to continuous live music, the Celtic Kitchen and the Pub serve up authentic Irish food and beverages including Irish Fest Stout, Irish Cream and Budweiser products. Other festival activities include the Irish Market and the Irish Store, children’s activities, a cultural center, and a session tent. The Tasting Tent, Tea Room, and the Highland Games will also return for 2014. The Whiskey Snug is a new addition this year for those 21 and over. This is the spot to purchase both James Irish Whiskey “on the rocks” as well as with a mix of ginger ale. A popular highlight on Saturday is the FEIS, an Irish dance competition.  Sunday morning, a Catholic mass will be held at 9am followed by a traditional Irish breakfast.

Advance tickets and a three-day pass are available online. Patrons can save $5 per ticket when they buy early versus the gate price. Take advantage of the buy early and save program. The festival offers an Early-In Free promotion on Friday only from 5-6 p.m. sponsored by Family Financial Credit Union.  Other major sponsors of the festival include G&L, Waddell & Reed, and Budweiser. The Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor and Shoreline Inn are the host hotels for the festival. For complete festival information, visit www.michiganirish.org.

The schedule this year will include the return of a few festival favorites, along with new artists.

Gaelic Storm, a festival favorite will return this year. With incomparable songwriting and soaring musicianship, Gaelic Storm has made their mark bringing fans to their feet for over two hundred days per year. Featured in the motion picture Titanic, the group’s ability to deftly incorporate a rock sensibility into their sound affords them rare crossover appeal. In recent years, the band has performed on the same bill with acts ranging from Zac Brown Band and the Goo Goo Dolls to Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett, at events as varied as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Milwaukee’s Summerfest. With their signature acoustic production, Gaelic Storm blends indie-folk and world grooves with Celtic tradition to serve up shows that have audiences on their feet, dancing and singing along.

La Bottine Souriante has developed an exceptionally tight, cohesive sound with their unique flavor of celebratory music. These two elements, music and celebration, characterized by pulsating rhythm, breathtaking sound, and exuberant spirit, have been inseparable. U.S. based Dirty Linen magazine has proclaimed La Bottine “The best band in the world”! They have sold over half a million albums, won dozens of awards, and have headlined festivals around the world. La Bottine Souriante is no longer simply a Québécois/Canadian musical phenomenon. The group and their explosive sound have crossed borders the world over and left countless enchanted audiences in their wake.

The festival’s Entertainment Director, Tom Schaub says, “La Bottine Souriante will undoubtedly be a rare treat for festival goers this year. Their French North American roots music is a first cousin to the festival’s Celtic music. The group brings an unbridled joyous and completely authentic brand of music that renders audiences unable to sit still or even to sit at all. With their horn section, compelling beats including a percussive dancer, and virtuosity, La Bottine brings the party with them wherever they go. For music lovers, this is a must-experience show!”

Moxie – When five young Irish musicians hibernate for two weeks to explore their music by the ever changing sky and the rhythmic movements and sounds of Ireland’s west coast Atlantic Sea, you get Moxie, a group who are inspiring audiences with their new palette of 21st century Irish music. Their music has a solid traditional backbone. Jazz, rock, bluegrass and world music rhythms and harmonies are creatively structured around this base, treating the listener to layers of rich and intricate sounds as the band delivers a punchy program of both their own compositions and old tunes with a new emerald vibe.

The Dave Curley Band – Galway’s Dave Curley is heralded as one of the most compelling musicians in contemporary Irish music. His engaging vocals have been a cornerstone of the prolific trad band Slide along with his instrumental virtuosity (playing guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bodhrán, among other instruments). Making their premiere at the Michigan Irish Music Festival, the Dave Curley Band brings Dave’s considerable talents together with an accomplished group of musicians to the forefront of Irish music.

The Olllam – Belfast born uilleann piper John McSherry and Detroit natives, Tyler Duncan and Michael Shimmin, have been dreaming of The Olllam for the last decade. With a name inspired by the king’s own ollam bards of Irish lore, the trio wanted an ensemble that naturally represented their combined experience in a multiplicity of styles. McSherry, one of the best uilleann pipers in the world and a founding member of the legendary Irish group Lúnasa, has been dubbed “a true master” by Irish Music Magazine and is well known for his current work with his group At First Light as well as his 90s stint with Donal Lunny’s Coolfin. Duncan and Shimmin have also been busy in the United States performing and recording with their award-winning Irish-jazz crossover group Millish. Their first album recorded in February 2012, was composed and rehearsed live via Skype and recorded with tracks being sent across the Atlantic via the Internet. The resulting recording and live show are nothing short of remarkable.

Pogey –Since 2009, Pogey has been showcasing their unique take on Roots music at the largest Celtic Rock festivals across the US resulting in an increased fan base and industry nominations. The band has mastered how to captivate audiences with their crowd participation skills, original songs, and remarkable instrumentals. Their show combines electric guitar, fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, bodhran, and four-part vocal harmonies to produce a trademark sound. Pogey has headlined and participated at such events as the Grey Cup 100 Kick Off in Toronto, multiple appearances at the Kansas City Irish Fest, Taste of Edmonton, and the Chicago, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Colorado Irish Festivals – to name a few.

Socks in the Frying Pan – This young trad trio from County Clare blend Irish traditional melodies with and innovative rhythmic and melodic garnish. These socks are audibly palatable! As for the inevitable question of where the name originated, the answer is yet to be disclosed. Having gained a fan base from four years of gigging around the west of Ireland, this exciting group have recently started branching out and been well received for their modern traditional style and energetic approach to music. This, combined with an acoustic musical interplay, three-part harmony and an obvious love for live performance, compliments the traditional essence of both tune and songs in a fresh and entertaining way.

Seamus Kennedy – Seamus has taken his music from Alaska to Florida, Maryland to California, and a host of stops in between playing everything from the pubs to concert halls. Of course, he is also a favorite of the Michigan Irish Music Festival. Seamus’ trademark is his ongoing interaction with the audiences. From the moment he steps on stage, he starts talking to them – and encourages them to talk back! He is quick with a quip and likes nothing better than to discover someone in the audience who is similarly inclined. Fast-paced humor is very much a part of what Seamus does, whether he’s telling a series of rapid-fire jokes or launching into a lyrical parody. In fact, Seamus seems to be having such a grand time and makes it all looks so effortless that is easy not to notice what a superb musician he truly is.

Blackthorn – Traditional songs of emigration, sea shanties, lively jigs and reels, and ancient airs combine with some of Ireland’s best contemporary songs for a musical experience that captures the history and legend of Ireland and its people. What makes a Blackthorn show unique is the variety of tunes, tempos and textures. Each member of the band plays multiple instruments, including wooden flute, accordion, tin whistle, five string banjo, cittern, bones and more. These instruments complement the lead vocal of Belfast native Richard McMullan and the band’s tight blend of four-part harmony. Based in Detroit, Blackthorn has played throughout the Great Lakes region since 1984. They perform regularly at O’Mara’s Pub and Restaurant in Berkley as well as at concert halls, universities, and festivals.

Danny Burns – Hailing from Donegal, Danny Burns has been touring since the age of 17, learning his craft on the road, playing and living in New York, Nashville, New Orleans, and Chicago, and has extensive experience on the European &Scandinavian circuits. Burns’ influences not only come from his traditional upbringing, but also from legendary singer/songwriters such as John Martyn, Van Morrison, Richard Thompson, and Christy Moore. A favorite at the Michigan Irish Music Festival as a soloist, this appearance is his first with his recently-formed band. Danny is regarded as one of the most compelling male vocalists in the Irish music world.


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