Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

With just one month to go, get ready to dust off your kilts and head to the Standing Stones in Glen Innes from the 2nd to the 5th of May for the 32nd annual Australian Celtic Festival.

2024 sees the festival celebrate the year of Ireland and the Isle of Man, bringing with it everything that regulars have come to know and love about the Celtic Festival, plus a few new additions for this year.

Rhonda Bombell, Events and Economic Development Coordinator for Glen Innes Severn Council, said, “We are really getting to the pointy end of organising now, it’s all happening.”

“Ticket sales have gone so well and most of the local accommodation is already booked out, but there are still a few places left to stay so we really encourage people to get in touch with the tourist information centre if they need help finding somewhere.”

The year of Ireland and Isle of Man is expected to bring an extra big crowd this year, as the last time this year was celebrated, the festival couldn’t go ahead due to COVID.

“We’ve only missed one year in 32 years and that was 2020, which was also supposed to be our last celebration of Ireland and Isle of Man so we’re really excited to be able to do it justice this year,” said Ms Bombell.

The schedule for the weekend is absolutely jam packed, with some very special guests joining from Ireland and the Isle of Man.

“We’re so happy to have Irish fiddle player Gerry O’Connor coming to play for us over the weekend, as well as musical duo Elizabeth Davidson-Blythe and Daniel Quayle coming out from the Isle of Man to perform,” said Ms Bombell.

There will also be a full line up of local artists all tapping into their roots including crowd favourites Murphy’s Pigs, The Gathering and Sionnach Rua’s Great Irish Songbook, and a host of Celtic and Highland Dance troupes.

Ms Bombell said that applications are still very much open for anyone wanting to apply for the busking competition. With buskers being invited to take to the streets of Glen Innes all day Friday.

The wee ones won’t be forgotten this year either – in between the Celtic Kids Marquee, Kids Knight School, and a special Celtic Kids Show running on both Saturday and Sunday, there’s bound to be something to keep the kids entertained.

Ms Bombell said that there are a few new additions for attendees to enjoy in 2024.

“We’ll have the usual Highland Games and Jousting Events, but this year, due to popular demand, we’ve also included a “Jousting Village” to really enhance that experience.”

“As a part of this there will also be Celtic Dogs and Horses on display and we’ll be having a special Celtic Dogs competition, with special prizes for best dressed, and also best in show for Celtic breeds.”

For the foodies the highlight will no doubt be the new Celtic Food Trail.

“We’ve recognised that people really wanted to extend the Celtic experience, so we’ve invited all our local cafes and restaurants to serve Celtic inspired dishes and the response was overwhelming,” said Ms Bombell.

“From the 19th of April through to the 12th of May we’ll have a mud map available where locals and visitors can follow the Celtic Food Trail and see what our local restaurants have on offer.”

“We’ll also have a Celtic Kitchen Marquee at the festival, where people can go and watch demonstrations, and of course for the real connoisseurs there’ll be a whiskey tasting being held as well.”

Ms Bombell also wants to encourage day trippers, especially on the Saturday.

“There’ll be plenty of parking and we’ll have a courtesy bus running from the showgrounds and the visitor information centre so please ‘come and get your kilt on’ and celebrate our Celtic culture and heritage.”

Tickets are on sale now, with some side events selling out quickly so organisers recommend booking as soon as possible.

There is also a 40% discount on ticket sales for all local residents of the Glen Innes Severn Local Government area. Discounted tickets must be purchased from the Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre, with proof of residence required. Locals can also volunteer for the weekend to receive a free weekend pass.  

For a full schedule of events, or to purchase tickets visit the Australian Celtic Festival Website.

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