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Australian Celtic Festival 2014

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by Anita Coia (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Melbourne, curious about everything, usually making a living via corporate communications. Visit my LinkedIn profile at
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When too much tartan is never enough

Apparently this year is the Year of Cornwall, and the Australian Celtic Festival is celebrating this with a panoply of Cornish-themed events in its 2014 line-up.

Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes, NSW

The festival runs from 1-4 May 2014, with some non-musical events scheduled on Wednesday 30 April. The kick-off music event is the "Ceud Mile Failte 100,000 Welcomes Concert" at 6pm on 1 May. Performers include Sophie & Fiachra, Mick McHugh, Jacaranda Ceilidh and the Glen Innes Pipe Band.

If that doesn't tickle your fancy, you could attend the Cornish Meal with Cornish Entertainment, which is on at the same time.

Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes, NSW
Welder's Dog

Over the course of the four days from 1-4 May, there is a wide range of authentic Celtic activities, including music and dance, storytelling and poetry, various workshops, clan gatherings, traditional kirking of the tartans, Celtic yard dog trials, a fun run, Celtic stalls, and of course lots of Celtic food. There's a big Celtic dinner on 1 May at the Glen Innes Showgrounds, with entertainment by Jacaranda Ceilidh. Or, for serious foodies, there's a haggis ceremony on the same night.

Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes, NSW
Spirit of the Glen

The last day, Saturday 4 May, features a strongman event and a massed bands event...not to be missed! There is plenty of music on offer, with performers including Claymore, The Likely Celts, Murphy's Pigs, Saoirse, Highlander, Zeptepi, Welders Dogs, the not-very-Celtic sounding Senor Cabrales, Raggeder Band, Mick McHugh & Spirit of the Glen. A full list is on the website.

Personally, I would want to pay a visit to the Land of the Beardies History House in Glen Innes, given my husband is a lavishly bearded Celt himself.

Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes, NSW
Pumpkin Juice

First, the good news - all school-aged children get FREE weekend and day passes to the festival; you do have to pay separately for some of the special events though. Adult ticket prices are very reasonable, with the most expensive ticket being the adult weekend pass at $55.

Then, the less good but not really bad news - if you cancel your ticket before 17 April, you'll lose half the ticket price. If you cancel after 17 April, you'll lose the whole thing. BUT they will consider requests for refunds, so if something serious happens that means you just can't get there, you might be in with a chance. Check the website for details on how to request a refund.

Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes, NSW
Murphy's Pigs

The website also has a helpful and amusing section on Celtic trivia, including the vexed issue of how exactly IS 'Celtic' pronounced? You'll have to click through to find out...

Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes, NSW
Mick McHugh

The full program is available on the website. Several events are held at the Australian Standing Stones, something I never knew existed; a Stonehenge-like group of, well, standing stones that was officially opened in 1992 to honour all Celtic people who helped found Australia.

Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes, NSW
The Australian Standing Stones in Glen Innes

Apparently accommodation can be pretty hard to come by during the festival, so it's probably a good idea to start looking and booking now if you're interested in going. Glen Innes is a little town, so you might find it hard to get hotel/motel type accommodation if you wait too long. However, if you're open to other options, you might be interested in staying with a local ("home hosting") or camping at the Showgrounds at a powered site. The website has some helpful information about finding accommodation.
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Why? Embrace the Celt in you or someone else
When: Daily - refer program
Phone: (02) 6730 2410
Where: Glen Innes, NSW
Cost: From kids passes (free) to adult day passes ($30) or weekend passes ($55). Also can pay for individual events
Your Comment
Neat; never heard of the Australian standing stones!
by Dayna Chu (score: 3|1497) 3266 days ago
Yeah, it was news to me too! Would love to see them.
by Anita Coia (score: 2|477) 3266 days ago
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