The Maine Celtic Celebration on the waterfront in Belfast

Posted July 09, 2014, at 2:03 p.m.
Last modified July 15, 2014, at 11:59 a.m.

Friday, July 18, 2014 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 19, 2014 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, July 20, 2014 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: Belfast Common & Steamboat Landing, Front St., Belfast , Maine

For more information: 207-338-2692;

BELFAST, Maine — The all volunteer Maine Celtic Celebration Committee proudly invites you to the eighth annual Maine Celtic Celebration, taking place on the weekend of July 18 – 20 on Belfast Common and Steamboat Landing! Whether you are an old or new Celebration visitor, you will find lots of music and other attractions to keep you entertained, exercised, and educated about all things Celtic. Of course the centerpiece of the Celebration is the music. The Celtic Celebration has developed a reputation for presenting outstanding examples of traditional Celtic music from near and far. This year it starts in earnest at 6:00 PM Friday evening on the Main Stage with music and dancing from three groups. Food and craft vendors will also open, along with the Front St. Pub’s Beer Tent. What better way is there to end your work week and start the weekend Celebration? Music will continue through Saturday and Sunday on two stages, with both new sounds and old favorites. Open the Door for Three, a trio consisting of fiddler extraordinaire Liz Knowles, piper Kieran O’Hare, and singer Pat Broaders, is a new addition to the Celebration. “Though the trio is brand new, its members are mainstays of the Irish music scene. These three have distinguished themselves over the last two decades, having played with Riverdance, Cherish the Ladies, Secret Garden, Anúna, Celtic Legends, and The New York Pops.” Folk Ragoût is another new sound for this year. This duet of Leslie Anne Harrison on flute and Frédéric Pouille on guitar will bring us “music inspired by an Irish traditional touch, focusing particularly on their French Breton and French Canadian heritage. The French-American pair has been enjoying critical acclaim since the release of their 2011 self-titled album. While performing in Scotland with New Time Ensemble, their arrangement of “Da Bride’s a Boannie Ting” was selected for the Edinburgh Folk Club’s Best of 2011 Album.” Four fifths of Còig (Scots Gaelic for five) have been to the Celtic Celebration before. This electrifying band consists of five great soloist who are all major players on the Cape Breton traditional music scene. Colin Grant returns along with Darren McMullen, and Jason Roach, all members of Sprag Session. They’re joined by brilliant fiddlers Chrissy Crowley and Rachel Davis, who round out this power house quintet. Michael Black, of Dublin’s world renowned Black Family, will be a familiar favorite from the past two years. Michael’s music is rooted in a generations old family tradition of singing. With a repertoire that draws from contemporary, as well as traditional and music hall sources, Michael’s performances are always entertaining and not to be missed. This year, Michael will be joined by Chris Brinn on piano accordion. And that’s just a small sampling of the diverse music at this year’s Celebration. Other performers include: Ryan McGiver and Cillian Vallely, Stanley and Grimm, William Coulter and Brian Finnegan, The High Ground, Velocipede, The Galley Rats, Chuck Donnelly and Emma Walsh, and Heather Morris’s Celtic Dance Company. Many groups will perform twice during the weekend at different times on different stages. Depending on your preferences, you can get a double dose of your favorites or sample almost every musical offering. For complete schedule information, be sure to visit the MCC website at If you are a lover of competitive sports, the Celebration is also the place for you, either as a participant or a spectator! You can register for the Kilted Canter 5K Road Race/Walk and start your Saturday morning with a tour through historic sections of Belfast. Those more interested in short distance running can chase a wheel of cheese down a hill in the New World Cheese Roll Championship on Sunday afternoon. Or, you can grab a partner and race up the same hill in the brand new Manx Three Legged Uphill Race on Saturday. Dress in traditional Celtic garb and participate in the newly restored Kilt Kompetition, which will now be a family friendly event, no longer just “men in kilts.” The Highland Heavy Games, including events such as the Caber Toss and the Scottish Hammer Throw, will again be a centerpiece event on Sunday. Amateurs are welcome to participate or you can watch and cheer for your favorites. It has been described as “like watching the Olympic Games firsthand, but in Celtic cultural form and tradition.” For the younger members of your group, there are even “Not So Heavy Games” like the Wellington Boot Toss and the Wheelbarrow Race in the Children’s Area on Steamboat Landing. This year the Celebration is happy to introduce an expanded focus on educational offerings. Most of these will take place on the new Bay Stage, located behind the Boathouse, right on the bank of Belfast Bay. Saturday will start off with the traditional Celtic dog parade and show. Owners of Celtic dog breeds will introduce their dogs and discuss history and characteristics of the breed. Later that day, Bob McCormick will invite audience participation in his performance of traditional Cape Breton step-dancing. Sunday’s line-up will start with a presentation on Cornish gig rowing which includes an opportunity to try it out right from the nearby beach. Following that will be a presentation on the Gaelic language. Next, local instrument maker, Chris Pinchbeck, will teach you all you want to know about Scottish small pipes. Finally, as in past years, many of the performers will offer workshops on their instruments both Saturday and Sunday in the Boathouse. So, bring along your fiddle, bodhran (drum), whistle, flute, or voice and join the group. Of course, no outdoor festival would be complete without food, crafts, and fireworks! The Celebration will include all three. Food vendors will provide traditional treats like BBQ, fish & chips, subs and sandwiches, beer, smoothies, and ice cream. Craft vendors will offer items such as clothing, jewelry, toys, and Celtic gifts. Finally, Belfast’s only fireworks display of the summer will commence over the harbor at about 9:20 PM on Saturday. This entire weekend of music, games, food, and fun is brought to you by the volunteer Maine Celtic Celebration Committee. It takes all year and almost $50,000 to present the Celebration to you. It could not be done without the generous support of sponsors and donors. It also takes your participation. We are committed to keeping the Celebration open to all by donation. This year, “donation tables” will again be set up at the major entrance points to the Celebration site. Your suggested donation of $10 per day will help ensure the future of this premier summer event in Belfast!

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