Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

Do you want to learn how to make a Haggis, or how to play the Bodhran?

Then you need to head to Glen Innes this May for the Australian Celtic Festival.

Returning for its 31st year, the festival is sure to delight all the senses over a jam packed four-day event.

“This year is the year of Scotland and is traditionally one of our biggest years.”

“Everyone will slowing roll in from the Thursday, with the official opening on Friday followed by the main events, on the weekend, which is held at the Australian Standing Stones, the National Celtic monument of Australia,” said Rhonda Bombell, Tourism and Events Officer with the Glen Innes Severn Council.

The festival begins Thursday 4th of May and runs through until Sunday 7th May, with an itinerary for everyone; street parades, a highlander fun run, highlander games, food stalls, highlander cows and pony, live music, the Bushwhackers performing, international guests returning with Paul Anderson our favourite international Fidler, re-enactments, an art trail, dance championship and more.

“We have a huge highlander games contingency this year over two days, and we also have Scottish wrestling.” said Ms Bombell.

“These highlander games are just phenomenal to watch. And we even have visitors from the Oceania Super Heavy Weight arm wrestlers, for a New Zealand verse Australia event.”

Some events are ticketed, such as Finlay Wilson’s kilted yoga retreat at Waterloo Station for a limited number of participants.

“He is also coming to the festival to try an attempt a world record kilted yoga session, if we can get it,” Ms Bombell said.

Glen Innes’ unique location and climate attracts thousands of visitors from all over the country to attend the festival.

“This years’ stand out will be 13 pipe bands coming to complete in a pipe band competition.”

“Our location is a point of difference: there is nothing like standing stones, seeing those pipers coming out of the mist. It really has that Celtic lands vibe, and it really does feel special.”

If you have Celtic heritage or not, everyone is invited.

“It is a place to meet your clan, get an education and an experience.”

“You get to hear the lilted voices, you get to hear the pipes and enjoy the traditional foods, those traditional songs,” Ms Bombell said.

And if you are feeling the mood and you want to get a little creative, dressing up is always welcomed.

“Everyone dresses up: they come in with their family tartan kilts, or dressed in medieval costumes.”

“We have re-enactors who come to life.”

“It is like walking into the past at the medieval village – you sit out there with them, talk about their arts and crafts and they bring back these lost arts. It is magical.”

As Glen Innes’ event of the year, people who are interested in attending our encouraged to book your sport or risk missing out.

“What it brings to the visitor economy is fabulous and it bring our biggest influx of visitors.”

“Accommodation does fill up quickly to you better book,” Ms Bombell said.

“We have a lot of day-trippers, from Inverell, Armidale, Tenterfield, even from Grafton; come for the morning and drive safely home.”

“We have plenty of parking and free buses driving through down from the Visitor Information Centre to the events and back to town.”

For more information, to book your tickets or to check out the schedule visit www.australiancelticfestival.com.

“If you want lots of fun, music, and to meet new friends you can’t beat the Australian Celtic Festival for that. Grab your jumper and come join us by the fire.”

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