Celtic Festival Attracted Thousands with Outstanding Music and Entertainment

Two days highlighted the culture and talent of Celtic heritage

From Dave Kennard’s border collies herding

Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band Opening Ceremony
Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band opening ceremony
(Photo: Ernest Black - Enlarge)

ducks in the King Farm field to the amazing fiddling of Jennifer Roland on the Main Stage, there was something for everyone at this year’s Blackstone River Valley Celtic Festival! Three stages allowed for bands, individual entertainers and dance troupes and the spacious field was the perfect setting for each day’s opening with the Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band performing on Saturday and the Crann Tara Pipes & Drums performing on Sunday.

Aoife Clancy & Robbie O'Connell
Aoife Clancy & Robbie O'Connell lifting spirits with song
(Photo: Ernest Black - Enlarge)

The decision to move to a two-day event proved to be prophetic as a couple of unusual July downpours joined the festivities on Saturday. That was not enough to dampen the spirits of the serious Celtic music fan who came to enjoy the instrumental, dance and vocal talents of Robbie O'Connell and the Aoife Clancy Band (Robbie was quoted on stage saying, "This is the best wet you ever will get!"), Halali, Pendragon, Téada

The audience was enthralled despite the rain!
The audience was enthralled by Robbie O'Connell and Aoife Clancy despite the rain!
(Photo: Ernest Black - Enlarge)

and Enter the Haggis. Several of these performers also met at the Boston Milford Courtyard by Marriott in Milford Saturday evening to join Sunday’s upcoming performers at an informal session that was sold out! It was a very special assembly of entertainers who were all so very talented that one seamlessly picked up where another left off.

Sunday’s weather was brighter and brought crowds and children delighted to join the rough and tumble games provided by Connecticut’s Renaissance Faire,

Jodee James Band performing Welsh songs
Jodee James Band performed enchanting Welsh songs
(Photo: Ernest Black - Enlarge)

to brush up on their soccer technique or to learn about birds of prey. Festival goers were treated to another appearance by the Jodee James Band, the Jennifer Roland Band that arrived directly from Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Jerry O'Sullivan & Friends and Pendragon. The day closed with a final performance by Téada. Sunday’s program also offered festival-goers the very special treat of Solas An Lae, an incredibly talented

Solas An Lae dancer in flight
Solas An Lae dancer in flight above the Dance Stage
(Photo: Gardiner Design - Enlarge)

dance troupe from New York. These young women had the crowd around them in awe with their combination of traditional step dance and modern interpretation!

For those roaming the grounds the Blackstone Stage offered a stellar line up of talent as well. From the FiddleKids of Worcester to Charlie Zahm and his seafaring chants, Matt and Shannon Heaton, Flynn Cohen, Brian Conway and Felix Dolan, and the Riverbend Trio all offered a more intimate experience for Celtic music lovers at the festival’s second stage.

The Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival offered plenty of great food and lots to choose from with over twenty Celtic merchandise

There was fun for all, young and old
There was something for all, young and old alike
(Photos: Gardiner Design (r) & Susan Spencer (l) - Enlarge)

vendors participating. This signature festival is no longer complete, however, without a Men-in-Kilts contest so adeptly organized by Representative Jennifer Callahan and her staff. Not to be shy, her colleague, Representative George Peterson, appeared dressed in a kilt and handily won the prize for Most Authentic Dress over the other contestants. Rumor had it that he won in another category, too, but you’ll have to ask him about that when you see him yourself!

The lucky winner of the Celtica Tour ten-day trip to Ireland with

Saturday night Ceili session
Saturday night Ceili session at the Courtyard by Marriott
(Photo: Ernest Black - Enlarge)

entertainer Robbie O'Connell with a value of $5,400 was the very lucky Sue Rozell of Carmel, New York. Congratulations and enjoy your trip next May!

Thank yous are too numerous to detail here, but the Festival Committee would like to express its thanks to everyone – from those who came to King Farm to our friends, sponsors, vendors and entertainers -- and who supported the 4th annual Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival and made it all possible! Plans are already underway for next year and the Chamber of Commerce recommends that you call now at 508-234-9090 to plan on participating in the fifth anniversary of the Blackstone Valley’s signature Celtic Festival! See you then!

 Jennifer RolandMary McInerney DancerMary McInerney DancerWorcester Kiltie Pipe Band

Photos, left to right: Jennifer Roland (photo credit: Ernest Black); Mary McInerney Dancers (photo credit: Susan Spencer); Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band (photo credit: Ernest Black)